Transitioning to Finger Foods
At Delilah’s six-month Well-Baby check-up, her doctor said the next feeding goal would be for Delilah to be mostly self-feeding with finger foods by her nine-month check-up.
Of course, this is just a recommended goal and not a requirement so I told myself to not get too worked up about it. At six months Delilah was eating stage 2 puree and we had just started introducing a little more texture by mixing in mashed bananas or apples. She was also eating teething crackers that dissolve easily.
I figured the first step would be to make sure she had the chewing motion down by adding broken up chunks to her purees. To do this I made baby food cubes of roughly mashed carrots, potatoes and corn to keep in the freezer. This way I could take one out and add it to whatever puree she was having to give it some texture. We also started alternating her morning fruit and oatmeal with fruit and cottage cheese, which she really loved. That was kind of a food adventure for both of us because I don’t ever remember eating cottage cheese before so we both tried something new.
After a few weeks of getting her used to chewing thicker and chunkier baby food we decided she was ready to try finger foods. Here was where my tendency to be a little overzealous decided to butt in. I was excited that she was almost ready to eat the same foods we were eating. I had given her little bites of scrambled eggs, avocados and bananas already and she did great with them. She was still having trouble feeding herself but she could chew and eat the food just fine when I gave her a piece. After a few days I wanted to start giving her some of the foods we were eating. I made cheese potato soup in the crockpot and cut up the pieces of ham superfine for her. She did not like it at all! I had only thought about textures and the size of any chunks in the food, but not about something having too many different flavors for her. She was a trooper at least and had a few bites and then I gave her some apple and kale baby food.
There were a few more misadventures in adapting the meals we were eating to work for Delilah, and I was not having much luck at all. I realized that I really just had to go back to the basics. I worked on making her simple, single ingredient foods like steamed apples, pears, peas, carrots, hard boiled eggs, beans, and shredded cheese. I offered her a few different choices at each meal and this went much better. She was eating more foods but she still wasn’t getting the hang of self-feeding. I noticed that she could pick up and eat snack foods like teething crackers, puffs, and cheerios. But when it came to other foods like eggs, bananas, and apples she would play with them but never try putting them in her mouth.
Another thing I noticed during this time was that while she was receptive and would play with and eat the finger foods I offered her, there was a point where she was done humoring me and she was ready for her real dinner of baby food. I was worried she wasn’t getting enough to eat with just the finger foods so I would offer her pureed baby food after she was fed up with the finger foods.
We’ve been working on it for a while and trying a lot of different types and textures of food to see what she likes. I was a little surprised at the difficulty of this process. She’s always been a good eater and excited to try new foods so I didn’t expect this to be tough. All in all, she’s doing incredibly well and it’s fun to discover new foods she likes, especially when it’s something surprising. Right now, some of her favorite foods are pumpkin pancakes, asparagus, raw celery (she likes to gnaw on it when she’s teething), bananas, spinach egg muffins, and frozen yogurt bites. I’ve also noticed she does better at self-feeding with bigger things like pancakes and egg muffins that she can hold in her hand and chew on rather than little bits of food she has to pick up individually and get to her mouth.
Delilah is now eight months old and I’m starting to notice that she wants more of what we’re eating so I try to give her a little of what we’re eating when it’s
appropriate. Whenever we have rice with a meal I like to roll up little rice balls to give her. It’s a gigantic mess by the time she’s finished with them, but the dogs don’t mind helping us clean up. I’m extremely excited to keep working on making her new foods to try. I’ve even started a board on Pinterest to save new ideas for finger foods to make for her!