Tips for Starting Finger Foods

It’s like a hurdle.  It’s hard to get over, but once you do, you just keep moving on.  I was so nervous to start baby boy on finger foods…Is it cut small enough? Does he know how to chew?  Is the food soft enough?  So around 8.5 months old I just took the leap and jumped right in, and voila!  He’s moving right along.

Tips on How to Start Finger Foods

starting finger foods

  1. Cook up soft foods.  I puree my homemade baby food usually.  To make some finger food I just cooked the food (usually by steaming) and served it to baby boy before pureeing.
  2. Make ’em small.  After cooking the food just cut up the pieces into miniature bites.  Small enough that it won’t get stuck, but big enough that the little one can pick it up.
  3. Make ’em sticky.  I would dust a bit of baby cereal (barley for example) on to the cut up food so that it was a bit stickier (especially for slippery pears).  It creates a MESS, but baby boy seems to be able to get a grip on it a bit better.
  4. Help the food in.  The first 5 times or so of putting food on baby boy’s high chair tray didn’t go as planned.  He wasn’t sure what to do with it.  He would stick his hands in it and kinda mush it around, but didn’t know to put it in his mouth.  So by us putting some pieces in his mouth helped him realize that “oh, its FOOD!”.
  5. Try to step away.  I found that if I hung around his highchair too much he would grab for my hands (which had food on them) and put them in his mouth.  He figured why not skip the middle man and go right for the source.  Good try kid.  So if I stay in the same room, but step away from his high chair he doesn’t depend on me as much and tries it himself.
  6. Start easy.  To get instant gratification we used the Super Puffs that are sold in the baby food aisle of the grocery store.  They are much easier for him to get into his mouth.  Because of that he then transfers that idea to other foods placed in front of him.
  7. Let him play.  Introducing finger foods is not so much about getting a good amount of food into their mouths.  It is all about the experience.  Playing with new textures, experimenting with scooping the food up, and tasting it on their hands, is all practice for the main event down the road.
  8. Give him his own food.  My husband and I have decided to try and not feed him off of our plates.  There is something cool about the fact that he can eat what we are eating.  It’s the sharing that is neat, BUT we did it once, and he got very whiny.  He knew we had more and that we weren’t giving him any.  So we decided to place his own food in front of him, and fight the urge to share our food with him.
  9. Get naked.  Strip that baby down!  Trying to scoop chunks of cooked sweet potatoes into their mouth is bound to be messy.  Clothes just get in the way.
  10. Bath time!  If I am going to try a messy finger food I just plan it for right before bath time.  Much easier to clean out his ears when he is splashing away and having fun in the tub

Any tips on what made finger foods successful for your little one?

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4 comments to Tips for Starting Finger Foods

  • I’d love to use this for my baby soon. I’ve tried giving her cut up bananas but they’re so mushy and sort of fall out of her hands.

    • spoonmomma

      Yeah, that happened at the beginning, but once they get their grip strong, there is nothing they can’t put in their mouth!

  • Great post! I do have a question though- I have been holding off on finger foods with my baby girl because she still doesn’t have any teeth at 8 months. I am afraid to give her any larger pieces of food until she has at least a couple of teeth. I make all of her baby foods now.
    Can you start the finger foods even if the little toothers are not there yet?

    • spoonmomma

      My son only had four front teeth when we started finger foods. Really they don’t even use those teeth to chew with…they mostly gum food where their molars would be. As long as the food is soft enough to be squished in between your fingers and small enough then it should be ok! I know of 1 year olds with no teeth who eat finger foods :)

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