Once your baby is a pro at eating soft mashed foods, he may be ready to move on to finger foods around 8 months. He has the dexterity to pick the food up and release it, but will become more efficient and independent as he masters the pincer grip around 9 months. At that point he’ll be able to use his thumb and forefinger to pick up the small chunks of food.
Your baby may grab at everything on your plate, but follow these guidelines for healthy and safe feedings.
- Start with menu items like pieces of soft cheese; small chunks of pasta or bread; finely chopped soft vegetables; and fruits like bananas, avocado, and ripe peaches or nectarines. These foods should require minimal chewing, as your baby may not yet have teeth. Do NOT let him have hot dogs, raw vegetables, nuts, meats, hard candy, or sticky textures such as nut butters that have increased choking risks at this stage.
- Introduce new foods one at a time in case there are any concers about allergies.
- Chop all foods into soft, bite-sized pieces, 1/2 inch or smaller.
- Watch out for choking hazards: Avoid round, firm foods like carrots, grapes, and hot dogs and skip anything like raw veggies and peanuts. Raisins and popcorn are dangerous for babies.
- Keep up your formula or breastfeeding schedule, but as your baby eats more solids, he’ll naturally start to take less milk. Your baby needs to start eating more solids and drinking less milk for the nutritional value at this stage.
Your Baby’s Development This Week
Your baby is getting stronger and may even be moving around, whether he’s sliding around on his belly in reverse, scooting on his behind, or actually crawling forward. If you haven’t childproofed your house already, don’t wait any longer!
You may notice these growing signs of motor development:
- Your baby is probably now able to sit on his own for several minutes, without using his hands for support and he may be able to get up into a sitting position all by himself.
- While you offer him support, he should be able to bounce up and down, and possibly even pull up to a stand.
- His little hands are increasingly agile — he’s getting better at passing a toy back and forth from one to the other.