Introducing Finger Foods

Month 7, Week 3

Once your baby is a pro at eating soft mashed foods, he may be ready to move on to finger foods around 8 months. He has the dexterity to pick the food up and release it, but will become more efficient and independent as he masters the pincer grip around 9 months. At that point he'll be able to use his thumb and forefinger to pick up the small chunks of food.

Your baby may grab at everything on your plate, but follow these guidelines for healthy and safe feedings.

  • Start with menu items like pieces of soft cheese; small chunks of pasta or bread; finely chopped soft vegetables; and fruits like bananas, avocado, and ripe peaches or nectarines. These foods should require minimal chewing, as your baby may not yet have teeth. Do NOT let him have hot dogs, raw vegetables, nuts, meats, hard candy, or sticky textures such as nut butters that have increased choking risks at this stage.
  • Introduce new foods one at a time in case there are any concers about allergies.
  • Chop all foods into soft, bite-sized pieces, 1/2 inch or smaller.
  • Watch out for choking hazards: Avoid round, firm foods like carrots, grapes, and hot dogs and skip anything like raw veggies and peanuts. Raisins and popcorn are dangerous for babies.
  • Keep up your formula or breastfeeding schedule, but as your baby eats more solids, he’ll naturally start to take less milk. Your baby needs to start eating more solids and drinking less milk for the nutritional value at this stage.

Your Baby's Development This Week

Your baby is getting stronger and may even be moving around, whether he’s sliding around on his belly in reverse, scooting on his behind, or actually crawling forward. If you haven’t childproofed your house already, don’t wait any longer!

You may notice these growing signs of motor development:

  • Your baby is probably now able to sit on his own for several minutes, without using his hands for support and he may be able to get up into a sitting position all by himself.
  • While you offer him support, he should be able to bounce up and down, and possibly even pull up to a stand.
  • His little hands are increasingly agile -- he’s getting better at passing a toy back and forth from one to the other.

You might wonder about:

  • His vision. Your baby should be able to see nearly as far as an adult by now and can track moving objects with his eyes.
  • Stranger anxiety. You’re not imagining it: He may fear new people and situations. So give him time to warm up and reassure him if he’s upset.
  • What he can understand. Your baby might comprehend more than you realize, so it’s important to keep talking to him about everything you’re doing and try to be consistent about the words you use for familiar objects.

Month 7 Week 3 Tips

  • If food allergies run in the family, talk to your pediatrician about introducing highly allergenic foods like peanuts and eggs.
  • Fried foods are not good choices for babies. If you offer them at all, do so rarely.
  • By now, your baby’s diet should include grains, fruits, vegetables, and meats, and he should be eating two to three meals a day.
  • In addition to rice, barley, or oat cereal, you can introduce grain products your baby can grab, such as toast, crackers, and dry cereal. Avoid any colorful, sugary cereals.
  • Sit baby in his high-chair for feeding time. If he eats finger foods while crawling around, he’s more likely to choke.
  • You’re not done with breast feeding or bottle feeding. Your baby is starting the transition, but breast milk and formula are still key.
  • Pureeing or mashing vegetables may make them easier for your baby to eat when he is first transitioning from a liquid diet to solids.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD on November 17, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

AboutKidsHealth: "Motor Development: The Next Six Months."

Healthy Children: "Developmental Milestones: 7 Months."

AboutKidsHealth: "Physical Development of Babies."

Healthychildren: "Language Development: 8 to 12 Months."

Healthychildren: "Getting Started with Solid Foods."

Healthychildren: "Hand and Finger Skills."

AboutKidsHealth: "Nutrition as Your Baby Gets Older."

Healthychildren: "Choking Prevention."

AboutKidsHealth: "Introducing Solids."

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