Babies start picking up small objects using their index finger and thumb around 9 months of age.
If your baby can sit up well without support, it is a good time to introduce finger foods and encourage him to feed himself.
After 9 months of age, start letting the baby feed himself:
- Dry cheerios
- Diced cooked vegetables
- Pieces of soft ripe fruit
- Cooked pasta
- Other foods diced in small pieces.
Avoid giving him cookies, candy, or other sweets until he has time to acquire a taste for other foods.
Alway monitor your child while he is eating. Choking on a piece of food can happen fast. Not responding to a choking incident in time can result in brain damage or even death.
Do not give a baby or young child:
- Peanut butter or other sticky food
- Hot dogs cut in round slices (cut them in lengthwise and dice them instead)
- Hard candy
Make eating enjoyable for your child. Be consistent in the time, place, and limits in behavior for your child when he eats his meals. This will help him to know what is expected of him when mealtimes occur and make his introduction to new foods a pleasant experience.