How to Prepare Finger Foods for Your Baby
5 min read
Finger foods are a staple part of baby-led weaning - easy to pick up nibbles that your baby can independently guide to their mouth and enjoy safely.
When offering your little one finger foods, they must be prepared in a way that suits their development to avoid choking risks. To help support you with your little ones’ foray into finger foods, we’ve put together a guide on preparing different finger food options.
When Can Babies Begin to Eat Finger Foods?
You can introduce finger foods around six months - your little one might not have mastered the ability to pick up, hold and guide food to their mouths at this stage, but it can be beneficial for helping to develop these motor skills. By introducing finger foods at this stage, they will become familiar with the concept of self-feeding.
While you might think babies need teeth to enjoy finger foods, this is not the case. Gums are strong enough to mash up soft solid foods, so they can learn to chew long before their teeth come through.
What Size Should Finger Food Be For Babies?
It is generally recommended that finger food should be roughly the size of an adult finger. It is recommended that veggies are cut lengthways into sticks rather than circular chunks, as this is easier to hold and less likely to be a choking hazard.
Babies around 6-8 months have less dexterity and tend to pick up food with their whole hand, so the finger food needs to be at least 5cm long so they can hold it in the palm of their hands without concealing it.
By nine months, baby is likely able to pick up smaller pieces of food using their thumb and finger, so slightly smaller foods can be provided, as long as they don’t pose a choking risk.
What Texture Should Finger Food Be For Babies?
Finger foods should be soft and squidge-able when you press them between your finger and thumb. This is so that your baby can chew it easily with their gums or developing teeth.
It shouldn’t be so soft that it completely turns to mush when handled, as this will be messy and frustrating for your little one. It also shouldn’t be too hard, as it is difficult to bite and can pose a choking hazard.
Some finger foods, like sliced avocado, could prove difficult for a baby to hold as it can be quite slippery! You can improve the texture of food by using crinkle cutters, leaving the skin on or rolling the ingredient in a coating (like breadcrumbs) to make it easier for your little one.
You can also experiment with different cooking methods - roasting, steaming, boiling, etc. - as this can make a big difference to the texture, keeping weaning exciting and new!
We hope this article will inspire you to create even more exciting finger foods for your little one to discover! If you want to add more nutritious, baby-friendly recipes to your repertoire, be sure to check out our recipes section, which includes some great finger food ideas!