When to introduce finger foods?

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Finger foods for baby

when-to-introduce-finger-foods

There are two websites that I have just discovered, and I am so impressed with them, I wanted to share. They are Mamasource and their sister site Mamapedia. Both are a great place to ask question and answer questions on just about any subject.

Here is a question posted at Mamasource…I thought I could offer my input, and I hope it will help:

Question:
My daughter is 8 mos. old and I would like to introduce finger foods. She has no teeth yet and is just beginning her pincer grasp. Is this around the right time, or too early? Can she try Cheerios etc?

My thoughts:
This is an interesting question. My husband and I were always so paranoid about introducing our daughter to finger foods, as we had a huge fear of her choking. Now mind you, this was not only while she was under a year old, this was until she was about four years old. I know, I know! I would see other moms feeding their toddlers tortilla chips, and I was horrified. When they would offer my daughter one, I had a fit. I tried to be nice, but I’m sure they thought I was nuts when I said, “NO! She can’t have those yet!”.

I did not let my daughter eat popcorn, nuts, grapes or hot dogs until she was about 4 or 5 years old (okay hot dogs and grapes – it was much later – I am embarrassed to admit that). To me, and this is my reasoning in everything I did and still do, (which others consider “overprotective”), is that I have one chance to do things right. I love my kids and I would never forgive myself if something horrible happened to them, only because I should have been more careful. I learned to let people call me overprotective all they want – I know in my heart I am doing the right thing.

I remember one time watching a 2 year old little boy, going down extremely steep stairs with no hand rails when we were at a party. I immediately went over and grabbed his hand to help him down, but I couldn’t help wondering to myself, “why on earth is there no parent watching him?”.
oat-cereal-finger-foods
But back to the food question – I think your daughter is definitely old enough for some simple finger foods. Cheerios are great. Your question brought back a memory I will never forget. My husband and I took our daughter to the doctor for a check up, and we were inquiring about finger foods for her. We asked the doctor if we should break up cheerios into four pieces for her. He looked at us and smiled and said, “If that would make you feel better…”. Okay – we knew at this point that we were being ridiculous. When we got home, we gave her whole cheerios, and waited nervously while she put each one in her mouth. Hmmm…she did fine.

If you have concerns on what your child should and should not eat when beginning finger foods, I would certainly ask the doctor. It is amazing how kids with no teeth manage very well. They “gum” everything, and it seems to work. We started my daughter with the baby food peaches, cheerios and little crackers. I was not crazy about the long teething biscuits, as they seemed to break off in large pieces. There are so many neat finger food products on the market now that were not available when my kids were little, but they sure would have made my life easier (I think! Who knows, I might have worried about them too!).

I hope this helps – I know how difficult it can be when introducing solid/finger foods. If you are nervous, remember, you are definitely not alone!


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Jennifer Regan is the owner/editor-in-chief of Eighty MPH Mom, a family-friendly blog. She is active in Brand Ambassadorships and campaigns, and is active in social media, helping brands promote!

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