7 Fun Finger Foods Your Baby Can Feed Himself

baby self-feeding finger foods in a high chair

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As your baby grows up, you’ll have lots of opportunities to teach him important skills -- how to tie his shoes, how to ride a bike, how to drive a car. But when it comes to teaching him how to feed himself, the best you can really do is toss some treats on his tray and hope for the best. The good news is you now have your hands free to take photos of that adorable messy face . . . and hair and shirt and, somehow, impossibly, socks. (Don’t worry -- with Dreft Stage 2: Active Baby liquid detergent at the ready, you can tackle stains in a snap and instead focus on enjoying your little one explore his tasty new world.) Here are seven fun finger foods to get him started.

(Always supervise your baby while eating, and talk to your pediatrician before introducing new foods to your baby.)

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1. Slip-proof bananas. Babies love bananas, but the bite-sized bits aren’t always easy to hold on to. Instead of letting her chase the pieces around her tray all afternoon, roll them first in crushed cereal O’s so they don’t slip-slide around and end up sailing off into abyss of your dog’s mouth.

2.  DIY custom mini-pasta mix. Babies love exploring new shapes and textures, so instead of handing him some boring macaroni, boil up a batch of mini pasta in all shapes and sizes. Tiny farfalle (bowties), mini shells, and ditalini (short tubes) – let him try it all on for size.

3. Sticky rice. Short-grain rice holds together amazingly well -- so well that you can mold it into simple shapes perfect for little hands. If you’re feeling more ambitious than spheres, look online for some Japanese-style rice molds to up your game.

4. Mozzarella pearls (perlini). Cut these mild, soft cheese balls in half or fourths and let your little one practice his pincer skills. Put a mat under the high chair to catch the strays.

5. Buttered toast. Introduce your baby to the wonderful world of buttery, carby goodness that is perfectly toasted bread topped with melted butter. Cut the toast into finger-sized sticks or small cubes to make them easier to hold.

6. Sliced cheese. Amp up the cute factor of regular cheese slices by cutting them into shapes with vegetable cutters (like cookie cutters but smaller). A set of animal shapes will give your baby a good opportunity to show off the barnyard sounds she’s been working so hard to master.

7. Dipstravaganza! Older babies can often be convinced to try new food if you let them dunk it in a favorite sauce. Set up a dipping station with several choices (yogurt, ranch dressing, hummus, marinara) and it just might be the trick to getting them to eat steamed vegetables with gusto.

What are your baby’s favorite finger foods?

 

Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.

Image ©iStock.com/SolStock

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