13 Finger Foods for Babies With No Teeth

Is your baby ready to feed themselves? Read on to learn more about infant-led feeding and for a list of the most nutritious, delicious, and safe finger foods for babies with no teeth.

baby eating banana in high chair
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Your baby is growing. Developing. And with each age and stage, they are learning new tricks. By 4 months, for example, your child may be sitting on their own. But did you know your little love bug may also be ready to try real food? It's true. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies can start consuming solids at or around this age. So how do you introduce said foods to your child? When can babies really eat finger foods, particularly when they have no teeth?

Read on to learn more about introducing solids to your baby, including the best foods for young children.

When Can Babies Eat Finger Foods?

Experts recommend that babies start solids around 4 to 6 months of age, depending on readiness. Many babies are ready for solids by the time they reach 7 or 8 months, making feeding an exciting time to explore new textures and flavors. Serving finger foods has many benefits for babies—such as better eye-hand coordination and exploration of new foods—but it can be tough to brainstorm meals for little ones without teeth.

How Can Babies Chew Without Teeth?

While it may seem impossible, babies can chew without teeth. This is because chewing is a process, that involves moving the jaw, tongue, and cheek. (Teeth are an added bonus, used later on to break up more complex fibers.)

Of course, what babies can chew will vary. You cannot expect a young child to ingest a steak, for example. But babies without teeth can explore a variety of different foods—particularly soft, mushy foods and those which are relatively texture- and fiber-free.

What Is the Best Way to Introduce Finger Foods to Your Child?

It's important to introduce finger foods—and all solid foods—slowly. You should let your child try one food at a time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests waiting three to five days between each new food. This will give you ample time to see if your child has any problems, such as a food allergy. You should also follow your child's lead. Put the food on a plate or directly on your child's high chair and let them explore it, feeling, grabbing, and tasting it as they please.

That said, while your child should guide this process, it is important you never leave them unattended. Babies can choke, even on soft or "safe" foods. Be present. Be patient, and have fun. Oh, and be prepared for a mess. It will take some time for your baby to master hand-eye coordination and, for a while, more food will get on the floor than in their mouth.

What Are the Best Finger Foods for Babies—and What Foods Should They Avoid?

When selecting finger foods for babies with no teeth, it's important to choose soft items, ones that can be easily grabbed and gummed. Avoid anything that could be a choking hazard (like grapes, popcorn, hot dogs, etc.). Don't be afraid to include a wide range of sweet, savory, and bitter flavors. Babies exposed to different tastes and textures might be less picky later on. You should also be sure to choose healthy options that include zinc and iron to help promote healthy growth and development.

Here are 13 combination finger food ideas to help your baby explore healthy, delicious foods.

Sweet potato and apple

You can steam or bake sweet potatoes and apples for a sweet-tasting baby food combination. Sweet potatoes have plenty of protein, beta-carotene, and vitamin C—while apples are rich in fiber and vitamin C. Make sure to take off the skin before serving.

Banana and avocado

With their soft and velvety textures, avocados and bananas are popular finger foods for babies with no teeth. They're also easy to prepare—simply cut into small pieces. Your baby will get potassium and omega-3 fatty acids.

Scrambled eggs

The AAP says that early exposure to eggs might help prevent food allergies in the future. Whip up a soft omelet or scrambled eggs that baby can gum.

Elbow pasta with marinara sauce

Experts generally recommend introducing pasta around 5 or 6 months. Choose small noodles like macaroni, cook them well, and cover them in marinara sauce

Toast with spread

Since bread can be chewy, pop it in the toaster for a firmer texture that doesn't stick to the roof of your baby's mouth. You can also slather toast with peanut butter, hummus, avocado, or another spread.

Swiss cheese and apricots

Buy pre-sliced cheese then serve it with apricots (either pureed or softened into small pieces). Tangy apricots are full of beta-carotene, which helps your baby's immune system and eye health.

Green beans and pears

Fiber-filled green beans, as well as mild-flavored pears, make excellent finger foods for babies with no teeth. As with other fruits and veggies, you can either puree them or chop them into soft, bite-sized pieces.

Butternut squash

Roasted butternut squash has a nutty flavor. It is also quite soft and palatable, particularly when cut into small, manageable pieces.

Peas

Great for improving their pincer grasp, peas also add a slew of nutritional benefits to their diet.

Plums

Is your little one suffering from constipation? Feeding them plums might help! Be sure to steam them before serving.

Carrots and apple

Some pediatricians advise against fresh carrots because they may contain nitrates. But if you get the go-ahead from your child's doctor, the orange veggie is a nutritional powerhouse when paired with apples! Make sure they're soft enough to squeeze between two fingers before serving.

Tofu

Cooked or uncooked, tofu is a great finger food for babies. It's packed with nutrients, easy to chew and grasp, and can be infused with a variety of flavors.

Fresh mozzarella and tomato

Introduce your baby to the taste of Italy with a makeshift Caprese salad. Just remember that little ones shouldn't have added salt, since their kidneys don't process it well.

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