SmartMom Guide to Finger Foods for Babies

SmartMom Guide to Finger Foods for Babies

You’ve done it! You’ve gotten past the milk-only phase and limped through the adventure that is the baby food phase, known by your baby as rubbing food all over my tiny, chubby body, a.k.a. throwing juiced meat and vegetables across the room, a.k.a making sure said juiced food finds its way into crevices of my high chair and furniture that are literally impossible to clean, a.k.a. the season where mommy posts Instagram pictures of me that she thinks are cute but everyone else thinks are really gross (we are all guilty of this, moms).

Seriously though, it’s an exciting time – extra exciting because you’re beginning to steer away from the food slush and introduce some finger foods for babies! Finger foods can be scary for parents, especially first-timers, because of the very real danger of choking! That’s why it’s important to know what you’re doing when you introduce your little one to real solid solids.

Sure, you can just fill your cart at Target with a bunch of those cracker/cookies/dried yogurt things that tell you what stage your baby needs to be to try them, but chances are your baby is more interested in YOUR chicken philly.

Once your baby has reached finger food age (about 8-9 months old when baby is able to pick up food with thumb and finger), it’s completely fine to let your baby have a taste of what you’re having, as long as you only offer small pieces or quarter inch cubes of food that can be easily mashed and swallowed without being chewed.  Don’t give your baby a bite of steak or some beef jerky. A tiny speck of scrambled egg? Yes. A tiny piece of smooshy banana? Yes.

Foods to Try

Here are some suggestions from

  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Cheese
  • Fruit
  • Veggies
  • Fish
  • Meatballs
  • Tofu
  • Pasta
  • Egg yolks
  • French Toast

Foods to Avoid

The site then goes on to list some no-no’s (choking hazards) like “popcorn, nuts, raisins, raw veggies, grapes, pitted cherries, hard fruit, and hotdogs.”

Peanut butter, honey or any other foods with a sticky consistency like that are bad ideas as well.

If you do want to stock up on tried-and-true packaged snacks, take a walk down the baby aisle at the grocery store. They make cookies that literally melt in your mouth (designed for those toothless cuties but also delicious for tired mommies), teething crackers, and an assortment of puffs and cereal that are great for that pincer grasp and won’t stay intact long enough to pose a choking hazard.

As long as you are careful, getting your baby started on finger foods should be fun for everyone and a welcome change from the menu of baby slop that you started out with. Plus, BONUS, your Instagram friends will be much more pleased with that cute photo of your baby eating a Cheerio than they were of the failed spinach attempt.


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About Scarlet Hiltibidal

Scarlet has written for and managed various publications - her articles reaching over 38 million readers. She has a degree in counseling and worked as a 4th grade teacher before entering the media realm. Currently, she writes for Smart Mom and is also writing children's curriculum for a church in Miami. Her favorite things to do are tell her husband every thought that crosses her mind, play with her two little girls, and connect with other moms on the SmartMom app! Visit her blog at and follow her on Twitter @ScarletEH.