It is said that around 9 months old, babies can feed themselves. We are not talking about spoon and fork here, yet, though. It’s about finger foods for now. By the time they’re 9 months old, most babies have developed the fine motor skills — the small, precise movements — needed to pick up small pieces of food and feed themselves. Think tiny fingers doing the pincer motion to pick up food and take it to their mouths.
Don’t forget the very curious eyes!
I was too excited to introduce finger foods a couple of weeks ago and baby Ben didn’t see it as food. He picked up the diced boiled potato, studied it for a while, closed his hands, squashed it (gasp!), opened his hands, studied it again and finally…decided to rub it in the sofa! (double gasp)
According to kidshealth.org, before presenting your child with a finger food, try a bite first and ask yourself:
- Does it melt in the mouth? Some dry cereals and crackers that are light and flaky will melt in the mouth.
- Is it cooked enough so that it mushes easily? Well-cooked veggies and fruits will mush easily, as will canned fruit and vegetables (choose ones without added sugar or salt).
- Is it naturally soft? Cottage cheese, shredded cheese, and small pieces of tofu are good examples.
- Can it be gummed? Pieces of ripe banana and well-cooked pasta can be gummed.
- Is it small enough? Food should be cut into small pieces. The sizes will vary depending on the food’s texture. A piece of chicken, for instance, needs to be smaller than a piece of watermelon, which even a pair of baby gums will quickly smash.
I was a bit paranoid about introducing him to finger foods thinking about choking. Never mind if he makes a mess or soil whatever he is in contact with. It is the choking part that I am really afraid of. I started with potatoes, sweet potatoes and tofu. I never bought baby biscuits before as he is allergic to milk and most of the commercial stuff has skimmed milk as one of the ingredients.
However, I found a baby biscuit without milk in it and gave it to him. I prepared for the squashing and mashing and throwing it all over episode but just in time for his ninth month, he actually put it in his mouth and with a few blinks, he ate it!
Now that baby Ben is learning to eat on his own, it’s time to take out old newspapers and spread it under his feeding chair. It has helped me a lot during Pristine’s time as it catches all the crumbs and makes cleaning up a zoom!