Safe Finger Foods?

Updated on February 10, 2008
B.W. asks from Merrimack, NH
20 answers

Hi ladies! My 8 mo. old is showing all signs of readiness for wanting to feed herself small snacks, and I just wanted some advice. She has mastered the rice cake, and the "baby safe feeder" and also shredded soft cooked veggies that she is already used to. I know she can't have things like pnt bttr or citrus or milk, but what about yogurt and cheese? Do they contain the same "hard to digest" protein as milk? I also read somewhere that they can have cooked egg yolk, but not the white. This is our first baby, and I'm confident with myself most of the time, but with this, I'm afraid of doing something wrong. I want to foster her independence and varied palate while keeping her safe. Her daddy would be happy if she ate cereal all the time - he gets so nervous everytime he comes home and sees any real food on her highchair! I will be sure to share everyone's responses with him! Thanks in advance!

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So What Happened?

Wow! Mamasource is the best! I can't believe how quickly I got some great responses. Thank you mamas, for all your thoughtful and knowledgable advice. I wrote all your suggestions and have it taped to my fridge for the next time we go grocery shopping. Maeve and I thank you all for "broadening our horizons" =) ROCK ON MAMAS!!

----okay, I have just one more question too- do I give these foods as a meal, or just snacks, continuing on with the baby food?

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R.Z.

answers from Boston on

Mini bagels are a great snack. Buy them and freeze them. The coldness is great for teething and she'll just get little bites of the bread. By the time it thaws out, she'll be tired of it. Worked great for my son.

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M.M.

answers from Boston on

My son was born the day after her!! He eats YoBaby yogurt and loves it!! He also eats cheese-the doc gave me a sheet about what he could/couldnt have at certain ages-let me know if u want more info on that ([email protected]____.com) And yes you are right about eggs!! :)

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L.C.

answers from Springfield on

B.,
You are right about yolks and not whites of eggs, and well cooked yolks are a great food to use to teach your baby how to feed herself. Also, the baby puffs are great, they dissolve in the mouth a lot faster than cheerios and also the yogurt and cheese are great for her to learn to eat. They do contain milk proteins, but they are cultured products, so they are easier to digest. There is baby yogurt, I think it's by Stonyfield farms, and it has real fruit on the bottom. Make sure if you're going to give her non-baby yogurt that it isn't low-fat or fat free, she needs about half of her calories to come from fat so her little brain and eyes can grow well. Also, you can cook fruit and mash it, but not puree, so she can get used to mashing it aroung in her mouth. I have a little girl, and this was where I started to get nervous too, but it sounds like you're doing great. I got a book, 100 baby purees, which was great because it gave me ideas of good things I could make for her and told me what things were able to be frozen. One thing my daughter absolutley loved was fork mashed bananas mixed with fork mashed avocados, we call it baby guac. Anyway, good luck, and if you want some recipes feel free to email me, I made all of Zoe's food at home and it was a great experience.
Good Luck!

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L.S.

answers from Boston on

B.

Hi. I am just entering the solid foods phase with my son who is almost 7 months. I would be so appreciative if you could share the responses that you get as I too feel a bit challenged by this piece of parenting! I have heard that yogurt is okay to give them at this time~just making sure that it is plain yogurt sweetened with regular fruit vs. the sugar filled yogurt like yobaby by stoneyfield. I took a class at ISI maternity and she is a pediatric nurse and talked a bit about this. hope that you get a lot of good responses! L.

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S.K.

answers from Boston on

What a fun age! My son is now 15 months and I loved introducing new foods to him. He is a great eater. We did lots of steamed veggies, sweet potatoes, avacado, soft pears, banana, mango, yogurt, cheerios (I found Cascadian Farms Purely O's are organic and have no added sugars like cheerios does), tiny pieces of plum, hard boiled egg yolk. does she have any teeth yet? I would cook a chicken breast and process it in the food processor with a little bit of the cooking liquid until it's sort of mealy...I just sort of experimented with its texture until it was what Owen liked. I also started homemade soup...the veggies were nice and soft and I would add a little orzo and tiny pieces of chicken. Owen was pretty much off baby food/cereal when he was 10 months old...lots of the processed older baby/toddler foods have ingredients in them that I don't consider healthy so that was how we decided to do it and Owen is a great eater. Good Luck!!! Let me know if you want more ideas!

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J.F.

answers from Boston on

At 8 mos my youngest son started small small cubes of cheese, avacado, scrambles egg yolks, sweet potatos, Gerber "puffs"
(those were a favorite)I tried to vary the foods I gave him. The most important thing is to trust yourself. I waited to long with my oldest, and he eats next to nothing now. My youngest eats everything! Your child will show you if hes ready for certain things. All kids are different.

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J.S.

answers from Hartford on

She can have fruits and veggies that are cut up as small as the tip of your pinky finger. Of course Cheerios and the Gerber star puffs are perfect, as well as small pieces of pasta such as ditalini or acini pepe. The stuff should be easily dissolvable, or easily mashed by the gums.

Each time you give her something new, don't forget to chart it and note any allergic reactions, and not to give her anything new to try for at least 3-5 days.

She can have yogurt, but I would refrain from cheeses and other processed foods. No raw honey or high fructose corn syrup. Honey is fine if it's cooked into something, though, because there's a bacteria in honey that kids under 2 can't digest (and raw honey on a spoon is a choking hazard). Egg whites are a high risk for allergy, and can make dairy allergies and intolerances worse. No peanut butter or anything with nuts yet. High allergy risk, as well as being chocking hazards.

This young, though, I'd keep the finger foods limited, and stick with soft pureed things for the majority of her table foods. I might also suggest limiting foods with red 40 and green dyes, because they cause some major behavioral problems in children. They're hard to digest, and affect brain chemistry, mimicking autistic and ADHD disorders.

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A.K.

answers from Boston on

I think that most peditricians agree that small pieces of cheese and whole milk yogurt are safe after 9 months. just make sure that the cheese is pasteurized. my kids loved the yobaby yogurts but some mothers have suggested getting plain whole milk yogurt and mixing it with pureed fruit if you're worried about extra sugar. hope this is helpful!

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H.W.

answers from Bangor on

Hi B..

My son is just over 9 months old and we've done bananas and mushed veggies, too. We occasionally do cottage cheese and yogurt. Usually they say 9 months for yogurt,but cottage cheese we tried over a month ago and it went great! Very messy, but he loved it. I also tried some corn/tomato snacks at the grocery store. They're some kind of "graduate" snack, comes in a yellow can. I can't for the life of me remember who produces it, but it's great because Briar (my son) can "chew" on it but it dissolves in his mouth so there's no fear of choking. It's like a cheese puff, but they have sweet potato ones, banana, and tomato zest. I like the longer ones and not the round ones--they make me nervous.

And I think it's so funny you're husband freaks out when he sees real food on her highchair. My husband is the same way. He's actually asked me not to give him certain foods when he's there.

Good luck to you!

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K.G.

answers from Burlington on

Read "Super Baby Food" Has great charts on what to introduce when, and how to make your own food (cheaper and healthier) It has been my bible. My son will eat just about anything, and my husband is the same way about introducing real food. it helps to see it in print. Enjoy.

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R.J.

answers from Burlington on

Hi B.,

My first baby is turning nine months old in two days. She eats shredded mozzerella, avocados, pasta, mashed carrots and rice, mashed/cutup french toast (with the crust cut off/egg yolk only used, no syrup - just egg & bread), dipped in gerber #2 fruits (like plums or applesauce or something), tiny pieces of bananas, tiny, torn up pieces of chicken, cheerios, gerber banana puffs, zwieback toast, bagels and cream cheese (licks off the cheese & gumbs the bagel - LOVES THIS!). I've been told uncooked vegetables and fruits (like apples, grapes, carrots) are off limits, as are citrus, hot dogs, milk & peanuts for a while longer.

Isn't this a fun, fun age?! I'm having a BLAST! Good luck!

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M.F.

answers from Pittsfield on

Hi
my nutritionist told me "no yogurt untill they are two years old" I think it had something to do with the active cultures. You could try ritz crackers, pretzel rods, veggie soup, gerber pasta pick ups (you might want to cut them a little smaller), sweet potato chunks(well cooked), microwave apple chunks and let cool. basically she should be able to eat any fruit or veggie that has been cooked till soft.

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M.H.

answers from Springfield on

Your daughter can definitely eat egg yolk. It was the first food I gave my son and he loved it. I used to fry the egg and when the yolk as firm I would peel the white off and let him go to town. You can also try avocado and bananas. Yoghurt and cheese should be fine as well. Goat's milk is more like breast milk and may be easier for your daughter to digest. You could try goat yoghurt or cheese.

Hope this helps.

Mara

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T.H.

answers from Portland on

Have you tried cheerios? My little girl (now 14 1/2 mos) had cheerios and I did give her yogurt - which she loved! I was a little nervous about moving up to finger foods too. I think the hardest part is trying to figure out what to give them. Now she can handle just about anything - well, teeth help too!

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S.S.

answers from Barnstable on

B., I felt the same way. My little guy loves food and I introduced new foods and textures to him little by little. I was and still am worried about allergies and choking but he is doing fine and loves to feed himself.
Gerber makes Graduate Finger Foods such as Puffs that kids loves. Check the label for readiness cues. Also, there is yogurt for babies called YoBaby but watch out for the sugar content. My little guy eats cheese but has not yet had milk and is almost 1. I give him cheese put in moderation because it can cause constipation.
Try also cooked pasta. It's easy to pick up and I add a little sauce for flavor.
Good luck.

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E.M.

answers from Boston on

Hi B., Congratulations! My "babies" anren't so little any more and I really miss that! If you haven't intrduced milk products wait until she's about a year old. One of my children has a food allergies (tree nuts) so I strongly encourage you to introduce solids slowly and carefully. Introduce one new food to her current menu at a time, that way if she has a reaction you'll know exactly what caused it. You are wise to hold off on milk & peanut butter, consider adding nut oils later too. As for the eggs, go for it. Scrambled eggs (with soy milk) are a great source of protien, easy to digest, easy to prepare, don't have a particulary strong flavor and if you cook them on the dry side your little girl will be able to manage them herself! Good luck!

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A.M.

answers from Boston on

B. - It's exciting when the little ones want more independence, but sometimes it becomes more challenging. My son (almost 11 months) has decided he doesn't like pureed food anymore so he gets most of his solid food via small pieces of finger food. It's been difficult to find veggies that he will feed himself, but I continue to give him new ones all the time in hopes he will begin to like them. Some of his favorite finger foods are peas, bananas, tofu, cheerios, avocado, carrots, soy cheese (he has a milk allergy), egg yolk (yellow part), cooked pasta and whole wheat bread. Everything has the crust/peel removed and cooked slightly if they are harder to chew (he doesn't have any teeth yet). I cut up everything to pea-sized pieces and put 1-2 pieces in front of him at a time to avoid choking or throwing all the pieces on the floor. I would check with your doctor on the wheat and dairy if allergies run in your family. And with the other stuff I'm a big advocate of trying a new food and waiting 3-4 days until trying something else new to check for allergies. My son currently has a milk allergy - hopefully he'll outgrow it, but I haven't tried milk-based products after the first reaction. He is a fan of soy cheese and yogurt. Good luck with the finger foods!

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K.R.

answers from Boston on

Hi Brigid,

Good finger foods are cheerios, green beans, bananas, arrowroot biscuits, and my baby loves black-eyed peas. You can cook any vegetable and cut into very small cubes...also chicken, if baby has some teeth. My dr said yogurt and cheese are fine at 9 months but I know opinions vary. My daughter isn't a big fan of yogurt but does like cheese. Have fun!

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C.R.

answers from Boston on

Just a quick note- my pediatrician recommended no milk products of any kind, including yogurt, until after at least a year. It is for a couple reasons- first, unless processed specifically for the needs of an infant(such as in formula), the concentration of minerals in cow's milk isn't tolerated well by a human child's kidneys. Second, there's the issue of sensitizing a child to be allergic to the proteins in dairy products if introduced too early- if they already have that tendency. So just no telling whether any given child will be the one to have a problem with it- I know many people give their kids yogurt early, but it is a roll of the dice. My child is almost at the finger food stage as well, I'll be reading the responses for suggestions too!

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C.H.

answers from Providence on

hi brigid, our chldren have the same bday different years. anyway..... if you want to broaded her taste my son loved avocado's he still does. cut them up into bite size pieces. they r mushy so no need to worry about choking and an excellent source of vitamins and omega 3's also ripe bannana's cut into small pieces Eggs are great however, if there are allergy concerns you need to also watch the eggs with the milk, cheese. I believe yogurt is also a no no I was told no milk products until 1 year of age. Peanutbutter and strawberries I think are now about 2 years?? YOu could try safe white flaky fish. she can gum the pices of this as well. My son also still loves this. Good luck

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