Thursday, September 1, 2011

Finger Foods

Never underestimate your kids.  And I guess never underestimate their desire to do things.  Their desire to move.  Their desire to talk.  Their desire to connect.  Their desire to feed themselves.

I wasn't planning on introducing any finger foods until around 10 months.  I had read that introducing them too early can lead to frustration for baby with self-feeding and a negative impact in the long run for self-feeding.  But then we went to Florida and my mom broke out the Cheerios for them.  And what happened?  They LOVED them.  We broke them in halves and thirds at first to prevent choking and then by the end of the week we were giving them whole cheerios.

When we returned home I got out the baby cereal puffs that I had purchased and let them try these.  They couldn't get enough of them.  Then today I put one into Kendall's fingers and she quickly put it to her mouth.  She missed the target once or twice but quickly learned to pick them up and stuff them in her mouth (one at a time mind you).  Seren also caught on quickly, although she would often fist her's and had some issue getting it into her mouth from there but not for long.  So after several minutes of my husband and I playing with them and teaching them to pick them up I moved them to their high chairs, put the tray with a few puffs in front of them and viola.  They were feeding themselves.  And having a ball with it.  Seren was giggling and smiling and Kendall was going for puff after puff (swallowing in between) and whining when she ran out.  I guess I was wrong on my timing for starting finger foods.  We definitely will move into the bigger and harder to eat stuff with caution for choking but I think they love being able to do something for themselves finally.

Finger foods can be introduced (from what I've read) around 8 to 10 months of age.  It really depends on the child and their coordination.  A lot of the factory finger foods will label these for as "crawler" stage.  The most important thing of course is the pincer grasp (food between thumb and forefinger).  Other big indicators it's okay to try finger foods include:  ability to sit upright without support, ability to crawl and making a chewing motion.  I have also heard that having teeth can be an indicator although neither of my dears have any teeth yet and they have done just fine with these.  Obviously with chunkier food or foods that require biting teeth would be important.  Like everything else it's on a child-to-child basis so only you really know when your child might be ready.

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