Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Finger Foods!

Starting finger foods was such a fun milestone for us.  As someone who loves to cook and eat, it’s been so much fun introducing Henry to new foods.  He loved the independence of feeding himself, and it was less stressful for me.  All I had to do was watch for choking and insert some pureed foods now and then.  We started with Gerber puffs, which melt in baby’s mouth, and once he mastered puffs, we tried Cheerios.  I started slippery fruits and steamed vegetables a little early, which was a mistake.  It was very stressful for Henry, as he had trouble getting hold of the slippery food.  I read that sprinkling baby oatmeal on the outside can decrease slipperiness, but it didn’t work.  We went back to dried grain finger foods until around 9 1/2 months, when he really had the pincer grip mastered.  Now at 11+ months, he still gets purees, but a large portion of his nutrition comes from finger foods!  A great starter gadget for solid pieces of food is the Sassy Baby Safe Feeder.  Place a piece of banana in the mesh and baby will suck on the mesh without risk of choking.

Suggested Finger Foods

Broccoli florets – frozen or fresh - steamed or boiled
Cauliflower florets - steamed or boiled
Carrots – diced and steamed
Peas – steamed and crushed
Avocado – beware, very slippery
Sweet potato – roasted or steamed, long fingers for holding and biting

Pears – very ripe – either sliced in long pieces for him to bite off or in bite sized pieces
Blueberries - halved
Raspberries - halved
Strawberries – quartered or diced
Bananas – ½ inch slices
Grapes – quartered and peeled
Cantaloupe or Honeydew – very ripe
Baked Apples - diced

Chicken Breast – roasted, baked, poached – shredded by hand or ground
Turkey Breast – roasted or baked – shredded by hand or ground
Fish – baked or poached – shredded by fork or hand -- avoid high mercury types
Dumplings – in bite sized pieces
Turkey meatloaf balls
Tofu – silken tofu is easier to chew -- beware, very slippery and messy
Cheese – start with shredded then move to cubed

Rice Cakes
Toasted Whole Grain Waffles
Whole Wheat Toast
Gerber Puffs
Mum Mum rice crackers (oblong rice crackers that is easy for baby to hold)
Whole Wheat Pasta – rotini is a great shape for easy pick-up – overcooked to very soft

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