Baby's First Finger Foods

Happy Baby Eating Spoon In High Chair
Nina Buday/Shutterstock
When it's time for your baby to start eating solid foods, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests slowly introducing fruits, veggies, and meat one at a time to gauge baby's reaction to each new food. Here's our list of safe finger foods to gradually introduce into your child's diet.
Scott Little
Scott Little

Start with: Baby O's

What: Baby cereal "puffs" or O-shaped cereal

Tip: The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests buying baby-specific cereals with the extra nutrients your baby needs.

Blaine Moats
Blaine Moats

Start with: Bananas

What: Diced bananas

Tip: Cut bananas into small pieces so little mouths won't choke. Other soft, ripe fruits are also safe as you start feeding your child solid foods.

Follow these tips to help your baby start eating solid food.

Blaine Moats
Blaine Moats

Start with: Sweet Potato

What: Cooked, diced sweet potato

Tip: Babies naturally like sweeter veggies like sweet potatoes. KidsHealth.org lists a tip for serving vegetables: Steam or bake them instead of boiling to retain more of the nutrients.

Bryan McCay
Bryan McCay

Start with: Avocado

What: Cubes of avocado

Tip: The soft texture of avocado makes it a perfect snack while your little one is still learning to chew. Cut the avocado into small cubes before serving.

Blaine Moats
Blaine Moats

Start With: Chicken or Meat

What: Soft chicken or meat

Tip: Pick soft chicken or meat. Puree it; when your baby is 12 months or older, you can serve her small chunks of meat.

Follow these tips to help your baby start eating solid food.

Bob Stefko
Bob Stefko

Move to: Peaches or Pears

What: Dices of very ripe peaches or pears

Tip: Dice very ripe peaches or pears before handing them to baby.

Andy Lyons
Andy Lyons

Move to: Tofu

What: Diced tofu

Tip: Dice tofu into small squares, but remember not to force it if your baby won't eat certain foods. MayoClinic.com suggests trying repeatedly -- the exposure will help you introduce a variety of foods into baby's diet.

Blaine Moats
Blaine Moats

Then finally: Whole-Grain Bread

What: Cubes of soft, whole-grain bread

Tip: Take slices of whole-grain bread, cut them into cubes, and get rid of those hard crusts.

Follow these tips to store baby food safely.

Bryan McCay
Bryan McCay

Then finally: Pasta

What: Small, cooked pasta

Tip: Small pasta noodles like spirals or macaroni should be well cooked. Parents can start introducing pasta during a baby's fifth or sixth month.

Blaine Moats
Blaine Moats

Then finally: Hard-Boiled Egg

What: Chopped, hard-boiled egg

Tip: The American Academy of Pediatrics says there's no evidence that avoiding eggs during early childhood will prevent a food allergy, so go ahead and chop a hard-boiled egg into small pieces for your baby.

Then finally: Graham Crackers

What: Plain graham crackers

Tip: Break crackers into small pieces so they're easy for your baby to eat.

Marty Baldwin
Marty Baldwin

Then finally: Vegetable Casserole

What: Small pieces of vegetable casserole

Tip: Start with pasta and add marinara sauce and a vegetable or two, such as chopped broccoli and asparagus.

Other First Finger Foods

Remember that you don't have to stick with one or two options—there are a wide variety of foods that little eaters can enjoy. And since experts suggest that repeated exposures to flavors can help reduce picky eating later on, it's good to include a range of naturally sweet, savory, and bitter flavors. Here are more safe first finger foods to try:

  • Baby puffs
  • Baby rice crackers
  • Blueberries, very soft and halved
  • Beans, cooked until very soft
  • Broccoli, chopped and steamed
  • Butternut squash, cubed and steamed
  • Cauliflower, chopped and steamed
  • Fish, steamed or poached in broth or water without added salt, with bones removed, and flaked into small pieces. (Choose low-mercury options that are high in healthy fats like wild salmon, rainbow trout, or tilapia.)
  • Goat cheese, crumbled
  • Green beans, chopped and steamed
  • Ground beef, cooked without salt
  • Peas, cooked
  • Potatoes, cubed, tossed with olive oil, and roasted in a 400 degree F oven on a baking sheet for 22 to 25 minutes or until very soft
  • Potatoes, mashed
  • Rice, well-cooked, plain or mixed with shredded cheese to help it hold together
  • Shredded whole-milk cheese
  • Tomatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Yellow squash, cubed and steamed
  • Zucchini, cubed and steamed
  • Watermelon, cubed
Nina Buday/Shutterstock
Nina Buday/Shutterstock

First Finger Foods to Avoid

Avoid any hard foods that can snap and cannot be squished between your fingers, such as raw carrots or apple slices, as well as whole nuts, popcorn, baby carrots, whole hot dogs, whole grapes, and honey.

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