When you’re just starting to feed your baby solid foods, it can be overwhelming figuring out what the best finger foods for babies are. I hear from a lot of parents that one of the things they are most anxious about, in fact, is the size and texture of finger foods they should be serving their baby.
One Size Doesn't Fit All
If you do a google or Pinterest search for what size of foods to serve your baby, you’ll get a lot of recommendations about the exact size food you should be serving. Some of those recommendations are based on safety, and really should be followed (never give a whole grape or whole cherry tomato, for example.) Others are based on general guidelines in the baby feeding community, but don’t have anything to do with safety. Rarely do people acknowledge that those sizes might not work for all babies at all of the different early stages of solid foods.
So what’s a new parent to do?
The first thing is familiarize yourself with the safety guidelines. These include cutting anything that is a coin or circle shape, and not giving your baby anything that isn’t smooshable between two fingers when they are first starting out. The size guidelines are generally related to ease of eating and not safety, as when your baby first starts it can be hard for them to grasp small bits of food.
Letting Your Baby Lead
After safety, it’s all about listening to your baby! Some babies will like a food cut one way best, and others will like it another way. As long as they are both safe, there is absolutely nothing wrong with serving it either way. Check out the video below for some examples of different ways to serve foods that are safe for your baby.
If you’ve read anything else on this blog, you know that I’m a firm believer in offering different foods multiple ways. When babies under one appear to dislike something, it is usually not for the reason we think. Maybe they’re tired, full, constipated, or maybe how you’re serving a piece of food is just hard for them to eat that day. Either way, your baby appearing to not like something one day does not mean they don’t like that food!
Try serving it a different way. Experiment with seasonings and temperature. Mash it up and spread it on toast, cut it small, make it even softer. There are no rules to what you can do, the important thing is just to be safe in how you serve it.
Changing it Up
If you discover that your baby is liking a food a certain way one week, just remember to keep serving it different ways, too. Your baby’s skills change frequently, and maybe something that is hard for them to handle this week will be easier next week. Exposure will also help them to be more likely to pick something up and put it in their mouth, so just keep trying!
Experimentation is the name of the game when it comes to starting solids with your baby. Babies will like different sizes and flavors of food, and your baby might not like the same as the next baby. The key is to serve the food safely, but beyond that experiment with sizes and shapes that your baby likes, and keep exposing them to different foods as they learn to eat, even if they didn’t appear to like something the first time you served it.