At around 8 months old, your baby will be able to grasp and pick up small pieces of food. She won’t have mastered this yet and may start out using her entire hand and all her fingers, but let her experiment. With practice, she’ll refine her finger movements and develop the ability to skilfully pick up one piece of food with just her thumb and forefinger!
Set the scene
Children should be seated and supervised when eating. Stable plates and bowls with large openings make picking up foods with fingers even easier. Don’t worry about how messy finger-feeding can be. It helps develop motor skills, particularly hand-eye coordination, and it makes him feel more independent.
Putting knowledge into action:
- Offer small bite-sized pieces of soft-cooked vegetables or soft fruits, like ripe banana pieces.
- Choose textures that dissolve quickly in the mouth, like grain snacks or yoghurt
- Select foods that are easy to pick up, like well-cooked pasta pieces
- Avoid foods that could be swallowed whole that put your child at risk for choking
Babies still have small tummies, so mini-meals or small meals and snacks can work well. Snacks play an important role in a healthy diet, and with all sorts of different shapes and sizes to choose from, can help him master self-feeding. Since this is when your baby learns to mash and chew, start with snacks that dissolve easily. When he starts to get the hang of them, try more textured snacks.
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