Oh, the joy! Oh, the excitement when your little guy or girl begins solids. They are one step closer to becoming more independent and less baby-like. But, when it came to feeding my son, I had a lot of questions and even some concerns. Let’s break finger food down and figure out when your baby can have it and what foods they could be eating and when.
Babies are about ready to begin eating pureed baby food at around six months of age. But, not all babies are the same. Some begin much later and some eat it actually a little earlier. I began feeding my son tastes of baby food at around four and a half months of age.
You will know your little one is ready for food when they are showing interest in what you are eating. I’d notice my son would open his mouth and even drool when he’d sit in his high chair at the dinner table. I could tell the bottle wasn’t cutting it for him and he even began to mimic my jaw-mashing movements.
One thing that really helped me know what and when he should be eating was the pictures on the jars of baby food. They are labeled by supported sitter, sitter, crawler, and toddler. My pediatrician gave me the go ahead to start him on a few basic foods, so be sure to check with yours as well if your baby is showing interest prior to six months.
Someone once told me to always introduce veggies before fruits when feeding a baby. Why? Because your child will get used to the bitter taste of vegetables and will not always crave the sweetness of a fruit. I had a friend do it in reverse order and her son would barely eat greens and threw tantrums for months at feeding times because he wanted a sweet fruit (wouldn’t you?).
My doctor informed me that you should always start out with light colors of the rainbow when introducing foods and move darker as your baby ages. So, the best light colored foods to start with are squash and sweet potatoes. Apples and bananas are also an instant hit with babies.
When it comes to cereal, a basic rice cereal is all you need to get your baby used to the texture and consistency. If you are not making your own baby food, most pediatricians will unanimously agree that you should feed your baby from organic pouches or cartons.
This can be tricky. Most babies will let you know when they are full by turning their head, losing interest and eye contact, or simply pushing it away. Their stomachs are super tiny after all (about the size of a quarter when they begin trying solids). You can always start out with a small amount and add more if your baby scarfs it down!
I usually gave my son half of a pouch of baby food at each meal and increased it to the entire pouch by about six months of age. Now, at nine months of age, I also add small pieces of food to each meal like eggs, toast, berries, and even mashed potatoes.
Pediatricians advise to feed your baby three meals a day and limit snack to once a day. This may work for you, or it may not. I noticed that my son had a huge appetite and needed to eat a snack between each meal an organic yogurt, a handful of Puffs or Yogurt Bites, cheese) and a small bowl of cereal before bed.
Keep in mind as your baby ages, they will need fewer bottles so you may need to increase the amount you give your baby at each feeding or the frequency of feedings though out the day.
As my son aged, I loved dipping my finger in sauces and giving him a little lick. He loved guacamole, hummus, garlic sauce, and even Alfredo sauce. You can make your own baby food at any time and it’s fun to experiment with different tastes as you blend fruits and veggies together my son’s favorite was carrot, zucchini, and pumpkin!).
Finger foods can be intimidating at first, but they are also really fun. You’re sure to enjoy watching your baby discover different foods and gain proper nutrition to power their bodies and minds!