Let's do a little quiz! When can you start introducing finger foods to your baby?
a) 6 months
b) 9 months
c) 12 months
The correct answer is probably sooner than you think! It's a) 6 months - right at the very start of most weaning journeys!
Most new parents are surprised to learn that you don't actually have to introduce your baby to purées or mashed foods at all. Whether you do this or not is totally your choice - there's no right or wrong way to do it!
If you're weaning your baby onto solids after they reach 6 months old then there is no medical reason why you can't go straight to finger foods if this is your preference.
If you're not sure which weaning method is right for you, take a look at our blog post on the differences between baby-led weaning and spoon-fed weaning.
So if I can wean my baby straight onto finger foods, then why do Mamamade sell purées and mixes for mashing?
This is a great question! It's all down to preference, and sometimes medical reasons too.
Sometimes parents are advised to wean their babies earlier the WHO and NHS guidelines of 6 months due to medical reasons. Finger foods are not suitable before 6 months, but purées (including Mamamade purées!) are suitable for early weaning under medical guidance. However, generally speaking if you are weaning after 6 months then finger foods are perfectly safe.
Parents are sometimes also concerned about choking when weaning their babies onto solids, and this is totally normal. Be reassured that studies show finger foods have no greater choking risk for babies than purées. Babies will usually gag a lot during weaning (it's normal and safe!), so have a read of our blog on the differences between gagging and choking. This should help ease anxiety if your baby makes retching sounds!
We also offer single-ingredient purees as part of our First Tastes range to help parents introduce their little ones to new foods by gradually train their palate to accept a range of different flavours. It can take up to 20 tastes for babies to accept a new flavour, and beginning weaning by introducing single flavours has been shown to help babies accept a wider variety of flavours later on! We usually recommend starting with vegetable flavours, such as Broccoli Purée or Spinach Purée, so your baby gets used to more bitter flavours before moving onto sweeter fruit flavours which they will usually prefer.
We offer a variety of textures across our baby food range so parents have the tools to choose whatever weaning method is right for them. Our mixes are suitable to be served whole, mashed or puréed, making them suitable for all stages of weaning.
I'd like to introduce my baby to finger foods but I am nervous! How can I make sure it's safe?
Don't worry mama (or papa)! It's okay to be nervous about introducing finger foods.
The most important thing you need to know is how to serve finger food to your baby. This is important for safety to reduce the risk of choking, and also to help your baby feed themself! At 6 months they won't have developed their pincer grip yet, so they'll need to be offered foods they can pick up with their whole hand.
We're written a whole blog post on how to cut foods safely for baby-led weaning. If you're introducing finger foods at the start of weaning, the important takeaways are:
- serve foods in finger-size strips - these are easier for babies to pick up at this age!
- only offer soft foods, like steamed (and cooled) sweet potato and mango strips
- Grated foods (such as carrot or apple) are also good for exploring new textures!
We offer a range of plant-based finger foods suitable for babies aged 3 months and older. Try our:
Remember it's very normal to be anxious when introducing finger foods, but most babies take to it very quickly. You've got this!