A short guide to introducing finger foods to your baby
Babies grow up in the blink of an eye! After thriving on the mother’s milk for the first 6 months of their life, they start exploring the world of solid foods. And before you know it, they start trying to feed themselves by picking up foods with their tiny hands. To witness this journey is an amazing experience for any parent. However, a few smart tips and precautions can help you make your child’s interaction with finger foods easy and safe.
- Inculcate healthy eating habits in your infant with the introduction of finger foods: Encourage your child to eat by himself and assist him when required. Provide safe and colourful plates, bowls and cups to make the experience exciting. None of the utensils should have sharp edges.
- Avoid complicated food items: Avoid the kind of food which can lead to choking. Instead introduce simple foods that can be swallowed with ease. For instance, whole grapes are a choking hazard. So, cut them up. Boiled corn or popcorn should also be avoided.
- Foods should be easy to handle: Make sure that the food you give is light and easy to handle. Cut meats, vegetables and fruits into bite-sized pieces and provide small cutlery. Mash the potatoes and other veggies or eggs for easier consumption.
- Introduce foods of different textures and flavours: This will help the child’s palate get accustomed to varied items. He or she won’t grow up to become a fussy eater. Your baby will also get all essential nutrients this way.
- Avoid fried foods: When introducing finger foods for a baby, remember that fried foods are not a good option for infants as they are loaded with saturated fats and are difficult to digest.
- Avoid force-feeding your child: If your baby rejects a food item, introduce it in a different form after a few days. Force-feeding can create a feeling of aversion to that particular food item, which can make the child dislike the food permanently.
- Make the food look palatable and attractive: There is a high possibility that your child will eat the food if he likes the look of it. So, try and serve eggs, fruits or veggies in fun shapes.
- Ensure a calm environment during mealtimes: Eating with the family, and eating what the family eats, can create a positive impact on your child. This also increases the chance of accepting all kinds of foods. Ensure that the atmosphere is peaceful and there are no distractions, like TVs or tablets.
- Fulfil your baby’s nutrient intake: Make sure your baby gets to eat nutrient-dense foods from all major food groups, like carbohydrates, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- Watch out for allergies: Some foods like eggs and nuts are known to cause allergies in kids. So, introduce such foods one by one, so that you can observe if your child shows any allergic symptom.
Knowing how to start with finger foods is essential for mothers so that they can fulfil their baby’s food requirements in the right way. So, keep the above tips in mind and also consult a doctor or dietician for better guidance.