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Introducing finger foods to your baby can be exciting and overwhelming! Here is everything you need to know about serving them to babies 6 months and older so that they are safe and delicious!

A six image collage showing finger food ideas for babies
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Finger Foods for Baby

If you’ve decided to start solid foods by taking the baby led weaning approach, you will be introducing big, soft-cooked finger foods from the start.

If you are taking the traditional weaning approach of starting with purees, you will most likely start offering finger foods around 8-9 months of age when you and your baby feel ready to move forward with texture.

Regardless of which method you choose, the goal is to offer finger foods by 9 months at the latest.

That’s because familiarity is a BIG part of taste and acceptance, and the earlier the exposure to all the different flavors and textures, the greater their acceptance.
If your baby stays on pureed textures for too long, it may be much more difficult to get them to accept different textures later.

If you’re feeling anxious about offering textured foods from the start and want to take the traditional weaning route where babies are spoon-fed purees or the combination approach (you do you!), here’s how to safely move forward from purees to textured foods.

tired mom with baby food

Is your baby 6 months old and up?

Learn all the secrets to starting solids safely while optimizing nutrition!

Can Babies eat Finger Foods without Teeth?

While you might think babies can’t eat foods that aren’t pureed until they have teeth, the reality is they don’t need teeth to enjoy table/finger foods.

Did you know that we actually chew with our molars, not the front teeth? And if you wait until the molars come in (normally around 12-18 months)  to move on to table foods, you would totally miss that critical “window of opportunity” for developing food preferences.

Not to mention, failure to move from purees to textured foods by 9 months may lead to increased risk for feeding difficulties later in life.

So how are they able to handle table foods without the molars? With their strong gums! And it is our responsibility as parents to make sure that the foods are appropriately cooked and served, and that’s what I want to share with you!

Do keep in mind, I’m sharing general timelines & guidelines here. What’s most important is to follow your baby’s lead as every child is so different and they develop at their own pace.

Choking vs. Gagging

Research actually shows that there’s no greater risk of choking with baby led weaning in comparison to the traditional feeding practices.

What’s most important is to avoid these top choking hazards.

a list of choking hazards for babies from the center for disease control
for 6-12 months (from the CDC)

Choking is different from gagging, which is very common and to be expected. Gagging is a safety mechanism to prevent choking and contrary to how it appears, it doesn’t really bother the babies. 

Sit on your hands, remain calm, and let them work through it.  Do NOT try to fish out the food from their mouth. Here are some additional tips on how to get through the first month of baby led weaning.

Best Iron-rich Finger Foods

Be sure to click on the links for more details on each of the specific foods.

A four image collage showing how to serve protein finger foods for baby

Iron is arguably THE most important nutrient for babies and it is one of the primary reasons that we start solids when we do. Be sure to incorporate one of these foods at every meal to help meet their high needs.

Related: Top Iron-Rich Foods for Babies and Toddlers

Soft Finger Foods for Baby – Vegetables

a collage of six vegetables served separately on a blue plate with suggested seasonings

And as you see in the image above, do not be afraid to season your baby’s food from the start!

Also check out: Vegetables for babies (with 30+ recipes)

Baby Finger Foods – Fruits

  • Avocado – sliced into wedges or bite-sized pieces
  • Apples – serve similar to pears
  • Ripe banana – try soaking in peanut butter. Be sure to thin it out as globs of peanut butter or any nut butter is a choking hazard
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes – hold off until 9 months and be sure to serve quartered.
  • Kiwi – Halves, quarters, bite-sized
  • Mangoes
  • Melons – large thin rectangles
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries

First foods – Fruits vs. Vegetables

Baby Finger Food Recipes

Here are some quick and easy ways to incorporate protein, iron, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your baby’s diet.

four oatmeals shaped into balls and plated on a white plate
5 from 28 votes

Homemade Baby Oatmeal

Learn how to cook the perfect oatmeal for baby. It's easy, fast, and customizable! Serve as is or as a finger food, baby led weaning style.
View Recipe
A close up shot of baby French toast strips as well as bite-sized pieces on a parchment paper
4.90 from 19 votes

Savory French toast

This savory vegetable French toast or eggy bread is an EASY and fun way to use up leftovers. Suitable for babies 6 months and up!
View Recipe
2 slices of French toast with banana, peaches, and syrup.
4.97 from 27 votes

Healthy Banana French Toast

This easy and healthy banana French toast is made with simple ingredients you probably have on hand and only takes 10 minutes to make.
View Recipe
baby friendly banana protein pancakes spread out on a blue plate with berries and peanut butter
5 from 34 votes

3 Ingredient Banana Oat Pancakes

Made in a blender with simple ingredients, these banana pancakes for babies and toddlers make for a delicious and filling snack or meal. Fluffy and moist, if you are looking for a baby led weaning pancakes recipe, this is it!
View Recipe
Baked biscuits with toddler's hand grabbing one.
5 from 11 votes

Teething Biscuits

Make your own healthy teething biscuits as a fun and easy way to soothe sore gums and to provide a nutritious snack.
View Recipe
cooked salmon quiche in a white oval plate with a toddler hand
4.99 from 85 votes

Mini crustless quiche

Packed with protein and vegetables, this mini crustless quiche is so easy to make! Enjoy as a make-ahead breakfast, snack, or pack for lunch boxes.
View Recipe
Six meatballs on a wooden board with toddler grabbing one.
5 from 36 votes

Healthy Baby Meatballs

These baby meatballs are made with just 5 simple ingredients and are egg free and dairy free. Tender and flavorful, these are perfect for baby led weaning, toddlers, and the whole family.
View Recipe
Baked turkey meatballs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
5 from 110 votes

Turkey Meatballs with rice

These oven baked kid-friendly turkey and rice meatballs are the perfect iron-rich finger food for your baby, children of all ages, and adults!
View Recipe
Stacked spinach pancakes on a white plate.
4.99 from 110 votes

Spinach Pancakes

These spinach pancakes are super easy to make with just a handful of wholesome ingredients. These dye free green pancakes are the perfect finger food for babies and toddlers, especially!
View Recipe
Stacked pancakes with slices cut out to show the inside.
5 from 25 votes

Strawberry banana pancakes

Made with simple, healthy ingredients, these strawberry banana pancakes are light, fluffy, and delicious! They contain no added sugar and are a delicious breakfast for the whole family!
View Recipe
A close-up of muffins on a wire rack
5 from 160 votes

Healthy Blueberry Muffins for Babies

These blueberry baby muffins are sweetened with fruits only and loaded with nutrition! They're soft and moist, making them perfect for babies
View Recipe
beetroot muffins on a wire rack with a spoonful of peanut butter, chickpeas in a bowl, and uncooked beetroot
4.95 from 113 votes

Healthy Beet Muffins for Babies

Made entirely with healthy ingredients, like beans, peanut butter, and no added sugar, these beet muffins can be enjoyed as breakfast, snack, or added to lunchboxes!
View Recipe
three stacked peanut butter waffles topped with banana and raspberries
5 from 26 votes

Vegetable Waffles with Peanut Butter

EASY to make, healthy peanut butter vegetable waffles for babies and kids! A great way to enjoy more protein, fat, and veggies for breakfast.
View Recipe
three sliced baked oatmeal stacked on top of each other
5 from 15 votes

Savory Baked Oatmeal with Vegetables

This savory baked oatmeal is so easy to make and a great way to enjoy vegetables for breakfast! Perfect for baby led weaning and lunchboxes.
View Recipe
Baked oatmeal served in a white bowl with milk, sliced almonds, and peanut butter.
5 from 20 votes

Healthy Baked Strawberry Oatmeal

Super easy to make, this healthy baked oatmeal recipe with juicy strawberries and bananas is the perfect make ahead breakfast or snack for the whole family!
View Recipe
a small portion of pasta with blended sauce in a white bowl on the left and pasta with chunky sauce on the right with a toddler's hands grabbing the bowl
5 from 99 votes

Iron-rich baby pasta

A baby pasta recipe that is loaded with iron and vegetables!
View Recipe

For more, check out this master list of Baby Led Weaning Recipes

How to Serve

A graphic showing how to serve zucchini to babies from 6 to 15 plus months.

In this section, you will learn how to cut and cook the finger foods so they are the appropriate shape and texture according to age.

Finger Foods for 6-8 Month Old Baby

2 grey divided baby plates side by side with oatmeal sweet potatoes and apples on the left and sweet potato pancakes banana and avocado with a bit of peel on the right

Food shape

Cut so that the food is about the size of 1-2 adult fingers pressed together widthwise and the length of an adult pinky finger (or longer).

Contrary to what you might think, serving big pieces of food will actually minimize choking risk and make it easier for your baby to grab with their fist (referred to as the palmar grasp). Initially, everything will likely get demolished, but with practice, your baby will learn to have better control of hand force.

Texture

Foods should be firm enough to grasp but soft enough to easily smoosh between two fingers or mash with the tongue on the roof of the mouth. 

Roll slippery foods in ground nuts, seeds, flour, etc to make it easier for your baby to pick up. Crinkle cutters can also be very helpful (this tool is great!).

Finger Foods for 9-11 Month Old Baby

2 grey divided baby plates side by side with bite-sized muffins, avocado and daikon on the left and bite-sized muffins topped with beet hummus, avocado, sweet potatoes on the right

By this age, babies are learning to move food side to side within their mouths as well as forward and backward. They are also starting to learn the concept of biting (hopefully anyways).

Shape

Your baby is mastering their pincer grasp and able to pick up small pieces of food between the thumb and index finger. Therefore, you can begin to cut food into small bite-sized pieces.

But do continue offering larger pieces of food so they can learn to take bites.

Texture

You can start serving slightly firmer foods by shortening the cooking time for veggies, roasting more often rather than just steaming, etc. Depending on the number of teeth your baby has, chewing ability, and your comfort level, you can start offering finely grated raw fruits and veggies.

If your baby constantly turns into a competitive food eater (like mine did), here are some things you can do to help slow them down:

  • Help set pace by placing small amounts of food in front of her at a time either directly on the table/tray or a plate. I personally just took the plate away every time his mouth was full and encouraged him to finish chewing before offering his plate again. It was tedious but worked well for us.
  • Offer utensils (here are our favorites). Using it requires fine motor skills which will help slow down pace.

You may also be interested in: healthy baby snacks

Finger Foods for 12+ Months

a grey divided suctioned plate with chicken paella and a spoon on the left and 4 sandwich bites with hard boiled egg and vegetables with hummus on the right plate

Shape

Again, try to encourage your child to learn to take bites by not cutting up the food as much. As always, role modeling can do wonders in helping them to learn this new skill.

If your child is continuing to shove food, learn how to teach them to take bites.

Texture

You’ve done the hard work! At this point your child should be able to handle almost all textures and eating like the rest of the family. Can you start offering crunchy vegetables? Yes! Here’s a guide on how to introduce raw vegetables to your little one in a safe and fun way.

Real-Life Baby Food Ideas

6 image collage with a variety of finger shaped strips of food for the baby
at 7.5- months
a 6 image collage with grey sections plates of baby food served in bite sized pieces
at 10-11 months

All the images you see in this article are actual meals I served to my babies.

If you are feeling confused and overwhelmed by what foods to serve, how to prepare foods so they are safe, how to introduce allergens and a wide variety of foods, how to adapt family meals so you don’t spend hours slaving away in the kitchen making two separate meals every.single.day, and on and on…

My 3 month program will save you time, energy, money, and sanity!

I’ve done all the hard work for you so all you need to do is follow the daily and weekly game plan and watch the cooking demos for EVERY.SINGLE.MEAL you will make for 3 months. By doing so you’ll be able to serve all the meals you see here plus 130+ effortlessly! 

I’ve also heard from so many parents that an unexpected benefit to following this program for their baby was that it encouraged their older fussy eater(s) to start trying new foods and expanding their food choices.

baby led feeding journey program cover

Do you want to minimize picky eating and set a solid foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits?

Check out this 3 month mastering self-feeding program! It’s the closest thing to me being in your kitchen

And be sure to follow me on Instagram for more helpful videos!

5 from 1 vote

Best Finger Foods for Baby

Introducing finger foods to your baby can be exciting and overwhelming! Here is everything you need to know about serving them to babies 6 months and older so that they are safe and delicious!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 1
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!

Ingredients 

Choose (1-3 items per meal or snack)

Instructions 

  • cook and cut the finger foods so they are the appropriate shape and texture according to age as described here.

Notes

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 37kcal | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Vitamin A: 1IU
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

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2 Comments

  1. hi is my 1yr old required to finish everyting thats put in front of her? she tends to sample as opposed to consume all her food and i worry about lack of satiety.

    1. Not at all! It is your baby’s job to decide what and how much to eat so fully allow her to listen to her hunger and fullness cues.