By: Pegah Jalali of @pediatric.dietitian
We wanted to share some safe ways to offer solids to your babies from 6-9 months of age. Babies have a palmar grasp from 6-9 months of age, which means that they can only pick food up with the palms of their hands. For this reason, it is best to offer foods that they can easily pick up, which tend to be in strip or wedge form.
Babies can chew foods with their gums from a very young age and actually do not need to wait for their teeth to come in to eat solid foods safely. However, it is important to provide safe foods to help support your baby in their feeding journey and avoid any choking episodes.
- Foods should be offered in strips so that they are easy for your child to pick up and self-feed.
- You can also help your baby but allow them to learn to bring food to their mouth.
- The texture of any food you offer should be easily squishable between your index finger and thumb.
For round foods like blueberries, raspberries, grapes, and cherry tomatoes, it is important to always modify them so that they are not a choking risk. Blueberries and raspberries can be smushed using your thumb and index finger. Grapes and cherry tomatoes are best quartered. These smaller pieces of food may be harder for your baby to pick up when they are younger but continue to allow them to practice. Also, consider loading these foods onto a Chewtensil fork.
Eggs can be offered as an omelet strip, quartered hard-boiled egg, or even a small pancake. Fish can be offered either cut into strips or flaked. You can offer shredded soft chicken, baked chicken drumsticks (as long as you remove any tiny bones), or meatloaf cut into strips.
Oranges can be offered as wedges with the skin on. Just remember to wash the oranges well before cutting. Oranges can also be offered segmented by removing the pith as pictured.
Other fruits that can easily be offered are baked apple wedges, ripe soft pear strips, pineapple strips (avoid the core), mango seed or strips, and whole bananas.
Veggies that can easily be offered as thin strips after cooking include green beans, zucchini, bell pepper, potato, broccoli, and cauliflower.
When offering your baby food, you can always add seasonings that are culturally relevant to you, like cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, and more. I hope that you share many enjoyable meals with your children!
Want to learn more? Check out these four important food rules for introducing solids to baby.