Is Cheerios every baby’s first finger food? Well, if it isn’t, I’m thinking it has to be at least in the top five. Your baby is starting to assert her independence. From snatching up Cheerios off the highchair tray with pudgy fingers to asking to borrow the car on Saturday night, they grow up fast.
Your baby will start eating solid food between four and six months. Usually, rice cereal will be one, if not the first non-milk food. Rice cereal is very bland and unlikely to cause any reaction. It is even mixed into the bottle early on to make baby feel fuller and perhaps sleep a little longer between feedings. So it is only fitting that first on the list is the aforementioned puffed or O-shaped cereal. The American Academy of Pediatrics does advise purchasing “baby-specific” cereal with extra nutrients. You decide.
Pediatricians recommend adding one new food at a time at a time to watch for a reaction that signifies either food allergies or food intolerances. If items induce a reaction now, you can try later on to introduce again. Sometimes issues with a certain type of food will resolve itself.
Next try bananas. Cut some into small pieces and offer a few at a time. It is a good idea to keep an eye on him to make sure he does not choke (or try to stick one up their nose).
Foundation for a Balance Diet
Right from the start you can teach and promote good nutrition by offering a variety of fruits and vegetables, but still one at a time. Try a cooked and cooled sweet potato diced up. Kids tend to gravitate towards the sweeter veggies. Next add in avocado. Cut into small cubes, it is soft enough to allow your little one to chew it up.
Another green finger food that baby will love is peas. Offer whole peas instead of mashed up for a textured treat. You can use peas right out of the can, heated slightly (check to make sure they are not too hot), or frozen to help with teething and as a nutritious snack. Another sweet treat is peaches. Choose very soft peaches, peel, and dice before giving to baby.
It is important for all of us to eat a variety of colored foods, and there is no better time to start than right when your baby starts to eat solid food. Steam or bake carrots and dice. If you don’t have the time or inclination to cook, use canned, or better, frozen carrot slices. If you use frozen, thaw and heat up first. Now for another green vegetable that is good finger food – green beans. Buy cut if you use a canned, or cut up yourself into about one to two inch pieces.
Pasta noodles are another item that is fun and easy for baby to handle. Try rotini, elbows, and other shapes. Make sure to cook it well (if you like yours al dente, cook baby’s a little more) and cut into small pieces. It is fun to watch the mechanics of baby trying to pick up, hold, and eat finger foods and dinner time should be a little fun. It’s dinner and a show!