If you're starting baby-led weaning, then it's ideal to have plenty of finger food ideas in your arsenal that are healthy and yummy.
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Julie Clark, a nutritionist and author of Baby Led Weaning Step By Step reveals her top finger food ideas for weaning.
14 best finger foods for baby-led weaning
Here's a list of all the best baby led weaning starter foods that your baby will love...
2) Banana chunks
This classic baby led weaning
(BLW) food can be chopped into pennies or chunks for your baby to eat. It’s a great on-the-go food.
5) Thin strips of meat
Chicken or turkey is a good place to start. As your baby gets better at chewing, you can move onto pieces of lean lamb or beef. Meat is a great source of protein, which will help your baby’s growth
6 safety tips for baby-led weaning
- Avoid giving your baby any foods that could be choking hazards - such as grapes or nuts.
- Remember never to leave your baby alone when they are feeding.
- Once your baby has learnt to use a pincer grip (where they will hold the food between their fingers and thumb) you can introduce berries and raisins or peas.
- Remember that for your baby, food is fun, so they are likely to spend a lot of time playing with their food before they eat it. Don't worry, this is normal.
- Use food that is easy to pick up like some of the options above.
- Try and offer your baby a variety of different foods but don't overwhelm them.
When can babies start eating finger food?
Before you start baby-led weaning, it's important to understand the NHS advice when it comes to weaning your six-month-old baby with solid food.
Wait until your baby is ready - before you start baby-led weaning your baby should be able to stay in a seated position and hold their head steadily.
They should be able to look at food and hold it themselves and be able to swallow the food.
How do you know when your baby is ready for baby led weaning?
Ideally a baby needs to be around 6 months before they are able to take more solid pieces of food, as is more typical with a Baby Led Weaning Approach. Signs baby is ready for solids include:
- Sit up and hold their head and neck steady
- Be able to see food, pick it up and put it in their mouth by themselves
- Be able to swallow foods and get more in their mouth than they spit out
Ultimately, when offering finger foods, you want baby to be able to really focus on their hand to mouth movements and their eating skills, not focusing on holding their trunk steady.
At around 6 months, the tongue thrust starts to become more integrated and so you'll find that baby is able to swallow more foods around then. Baby will start to develop more skills around eating from around 6 months too. This means they gradually learn how to move food around in their mouth and start chomping and chewing foods as they are offered and experience more variety.
What foods do you suggest are good for baby led weaning?
Initially soft, well cooked veggies that squidge between your finger and thumb are best for baby. This helps them to build confidence around self-feeding and hand-eye coordination at the start but with foods that will easily "collapse" in the mouth. Then moving on to offer more of a variety of finger foods is essential. For example, offering foods that you eat as a family can work well, as long as their are soft enough for baby to manage. For example foods such as bread, scrambled egg, baked salmon, fusilli pasta, some fruits can all be perfect finger foods for early on in weaning. Try to get baby involved in your own meals and let them share part of the meals you're having yourself. Gradually build on the textures your baby is exposed to as they get more experienced and confident with eating finger foods.
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