Offering your little one foods that they can pick up with their fingers is crucial to their learning and development. Initially, adding in small portions of finger foods into your baby’s diet from around the 6 months mark will greatly help with food exploration. As they consume more and more textures and flavours, finger foods will feed into their nutrition, as well. Baby-led weaning is vital for a number of different developmental milestones, including the following…
1. Finger foods encourage the pincer grip
Babies tend to try out the ‘pincer grip’ (the ability to hold objects between their forefinger and thumb) from around 7-10 months old. While they are learning this technique, they will often try and bring food up to their mouths, and it goes without saying that finger foods are the easiest for them to grip.
2. Finger foods are vital for speech development
The biting and chewing motions can help children to develop the muscles and skills necessary for speech and language, as well as improve their jaw muscles. Include a variety of different textured foods - from soft fruit to chunky, firmer vegetables and melt-in-your-mouth wafer snacks - in your baby’s diet to help encourage their speech development.
3. A variety of tastes and textures make babies less fussy in the future
Introducing varied tastes into your baby’s diet early on with finger foods has been proven to make them more adventurous and less fussy eaters in the future.
At around 6 months of age, children are likely to accept tastes and texture more readily, so this would be a good time to introduce them to different textures. Try feeding your little one the Kiddylicious Wafers at snack time. Their texture is comforting to sore gums, dissolves easily and they are subtly flavoured with hints of fruit and vegetable. Available in Carrot, Strawberry, Banana and Blueberry flavours.
4. Finger foods help babies develop hand-eye coordination
As well as improving the pincer grip, picking up finger foods will allow your baby to develop their hand-eye coordination. Provide them with bite-size, easy-to-pick-up pieces at first, and once they have mastered grasping those, you can move onto foods that are a little harder to pick up, like slippery banana chunks.
5. Finger foods will improve sensory processing
When feeding your baby finger foods, things are going to get a little messy! But don’t worry – this is all part of the experience. When you introduce new and exciting foods to your baby, they’ll want to squish it, smell it, prod it and play with it, all of which will improve their sensory skills.
Luckily, not all finger foods have to be messy. The Kiddylicious Fruity Puffs are convenient and easy for your baby to hold, so you won’t need to wipe down the walls after lunch-time!
6. Finger foods will develop independence around eating
Some babies don’t enjoy being fed with a spoon, so give them control by letting them feed themselves with finger foods. Trust us: they will be much more confident about eating than their spoon-fed counterparts!