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Finger foods | BabyCenter

2/19/10 8:57 PM

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Finger foods

Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board Last updated: November 2008

Highlights
What are finger foods? When should I introduce finger foods? How should I introduce the finger food? Which foods make the best finger foods?

What are finger foods?
Just about any bite-size piece of food that your baby can pick up and eat by himself could qualify as a finger food. Not only is eating finger food fun for your baby, it's an important early step toward independence that also helps him develop his fine motor skills and coordination. Food play can get messy, but don't be too quick with the washcloth: Let your baby enjoy this important hands-on learning experience.

When should I introduce finger foods?
When your baby's between 7 and 9 months old, he'll probably let you know that he's ready to start feeding himself — by grabbing the spoon you're feeding him with or snatching food off your plate. At first, your baby may just rake food into his hand and bring it to his mouth, but eventually he'll figure out how to use his thumb and forefinger to pick up food. This fine motor skill milestone is called the pincer grasp.

How should I introduce the finger food?
Simply scatter four or five pieces of finger food onto your baby's highchair tray or an unbreakable plate. You can add more as your baby eats them. Feeding your baby in a highchair rather than in a car seat or stroller will reduce the risk of choking and teach him that a highchair is the place to eat.

Which foods make the best finger foods?
Your baby may have a good appetite, but he probably doesn't have many teeth, so start with foods that he can gum or that will dissolve easily in his mouth. As he grows into a toddler, you'll be able to give him bite-size pieces of whatever you're eating. Remember that your…...

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