Introducing Your Baby to Solid Foods
Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods: When to Move On continued...
“Really, anything that you can put in baby’s mouth, if it’s nutritious and they won’t choke on it, is okay,” says Rachel Lewis, MD, an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
If your baby doesn’t like a particular food, don’t give up on it. “It often takes a child a dozen or more times of being offered a food to decide that he likes it,” says Shu.
Whether your baby is eating purees or food with more texture, it’s always important to watch carefully and take precautions to prevent choking. Babies should always be fed sitting upright in a high chair, not reclining in a swing or car seat. And never offer a baby foods that are clear choking hazards, such as whole grapes, hot dogs, or popcorn. Foods such as carrots, while great in cooked and mashed or pureed form, should only be offered to babies as finger food when cut into very small chunks.
You’ll want to continue to cut firm, round foods such as hot dogs and whole grapes into small pieces long after your child hits that 1-year mark, as they are still a choking hazard. “I would keep cutting these small until about age 4, when kids have all their molars and the mental maturity to know not to run around with them,” says Shu. She also recommends waiting until preschool age for popcorn, which is easily inhaled into the windpipe.
Finger Foods and Self-Feeding
When can your baby try feeding herself with finger foods, like o-shaped whole-grain cereals or cereal puffs, cut-up pieces of cheese, small chunks of banana, or sliced-up cooked pasta? The answer really depends on how much mess you’re willing to tolerate.
Sometime between about 9 and 11 months, most babies develop the “pincer grip,” which allows them to pick up small objects between their thumb and forefinger. That’s when self-feeding becomes really satisfying. They can try finger foods before that, but they’ll mostly just sweep them up in their palm and try to shove them into their mouth that way.