Finger Food Ideas For Babies And ToddlersFinger Food Ideas For Babies And Toddlers

At first, your baby will consume only milk or formula, and eventually you can work your way up to smooth baby foods. But what can you do to help your baby prepare for "real" food? In a way, small infants are easier to feed and care for than older babies or toddlers. The finger foods you choose for your baby can help determine his eating habits and preferences later in life, so making good choices is essential to his development.

Finger foods are meant to be self-fed, meaning your baby should be able to pick up an individual piece and place it in her mouth. Most babies are ready for self feeding when they are about 8 months old. One of the first things you will need to do is make sure that your child is truly ready for finger foods.

Some signs of readiness include

•The ability to chew or gum their food
•The ability to pick up a piece of food with a "pincer" grasp--using the thumb and a single finger.
•The ability to sit upright unassisted
•Grabbing the spoon and attempting to self feed

When your child is ready, you can assemble some fingerfoods for him to experiment with. Good choices will be easy to pick up, small enough so that they are not a choking hazard, and have an appealing look and taste. Some good finger food choices include:

•Cereals
•Small pieces of banana or other soft fruit
•Commercially made baby fruit "puffs"
•Shredded cheese
•Scrambled eggs
•Bite sized pieces of muffin or bread

Make sure your child is seated and interested in eating. Offering finger foods before serving the main course can ensure that your child is interested in what he is eating, and keep him busy while you spoon feed him.

Offer a small amount of your chosen food, no more than five or six pieces. Don't be surprised if your baby rejects it at first, or picks it up and then drops it again. He will eventually get the hang of it.

Once all of the offered food is gone, you can offer more of the same type, or a different type of food. Offering a variety helps your child learn that different types of foods will be presented to him at mealtimes.

It helps to offer foods that are less sweet or less strong flavored first. A baby that starts out with sweet banana may object to plain bread or eggs. Offering bread or cereal first ensures that he won't reject it in favor of something more sugary.

This is also a great way to introduce your child to a variety of foods. You can offer different veggies like carrots, potatoes, or broccoli, provided you cook them until they are a soft consistency. Children that are offered a wide variety of foods as babies may be more willing to eat balanced meals as they get older.

If you offer finger food and your baby rejects it, she may simply not be ready for it yet. You can wait a week or two and try again--she will come around eventually!
by Denise Sanger
References and Bibliography
Denise Sanger is the owner of NewCooltoysOnline.com which features a fantastic selection of outdoor toys including ride-on toys and battery ride on toys. The company in Sunny Florida and may be reached at 877-950-7665.
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