NOTE: This is only what has worked for US after we've made sure the girls are ready. You should evaluate what's right for your child or children and always be mindful of potential allergy and choking hazards associated with introducing new foods.
Okay all that nonsense aside, introducing finger foods is one of my favorite things in the world... I'm an eater. I love watching them taste new stuff and experience new sensations and I love that they get to fit in with us while we eat. (And, in the spirit of honesty, I love that a handful of Cherrios can now buy me a few minutes of sanity here and there throughout the day.) Jack is also a big fan of getting to share the things HE eats with his little sisters and they delight in partaking in family meals and snack time. Basically, it rocks.
Now, we've been at this for awhile. We started with Gerber Puffs, which I love as a first finger food because they dissolve in contact with saliva so I can be a little less paranoid about choking. Shortly after I can watch them tackle puffs with dexterity, I start branching out a little.
The next couple of foods are similar to the purees, but instead of pureeing, I cut them into little pieces, often adding wheat germ or crushed cereal to give stuff a little extra traction. Here's what falls under this next "phase" for us: sweet potatoes, cooked pears, cooked peaches, cooked apples, bananas, avocados, steamed peas and steamed beans.
Sometimes, admittedly, that's a lot of work to deal with. So, if you stay tuned for another post in the next couple of days, I'll show you the method I've come up with for preparing these foods ahead of time and freezing - like with the purees - individual portions to ease meal times.
I also cheat occasionally buy buying canned pear halves or peach slices (always making sure to buy fruit "in 100% juice" instead of any kind of syrup). I see no shame in that.
When those foods prove to work out well - and it's just a matter of making sure the girls can mash them well and are enjoying the textures since we're already introduced those foods as purees - I move into the next "phase". I cube whole-wheat bread, offer whole-grain Ritz crackers, and Cherrios and Kix and the like. This is also when I add what has become Addie's favorite food: tofu.
Oh that girl loves her some tofu.
I buy the firm tofu and cube it up and Addie adores it.
Now they eat cheese (soft cheese or shredded cheese) and the occasional french-fry, and I feel good offering Fig Newtons and Nutrigrain bars (cut up) and sometimes well-cooked pasta.
They devour food with intensity and enthusiasm. I love it.
The other night I made beef stew with carrots, celery, onions, beans, peas, corn and barley. I strained the broth and took out the beef cubes and put a pile of the veggies on their trays and they contentedly ate every last morsel. And asked for more. So I gave them more.
They're nearly 10 months old. I'm not too worried anymore about food allergies and I've even heard that the AAP has changed their recommendations recently to indicate that delaying the introduction of allergy-inducing foods doesn't seem to keep children from developing allergies. (Note: I am not speaking FOR the American Academy of Pediatrics, and again, please discuss any questions with your pediatrician before making decisions for your family.) That being said, I usually give the girls a little bit of what we're eating and a some of the things they're used to.
And you know what? They eat everything. Well, except for spinach. Addie touched spinach and had a panic attack so I took it away. Now she won't even look at it. So they eat NEARLY everything.
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