Most babies are ready for finger foods at about 9 months. Some babies, once they develop the required fine motor skills, will insist on feeding themselves as much as possible. Even if your baby isn't refusing to be fed from a spoon, you can encourage her development by providing choices of finger food at every meal. Start with breakfast.
Egg dishes are a breakfast standby. They also happen to be a perfect finger food. Adults may not want to pick up curds of scrambled egg or strips of omelet with their fingers, but babies love to. Keep the seasonings simple -- your child isn't ready for an overstuffed omelet yet; however, a plain, French-style rolled omelette is perfect. If you want to add ingredients such as spinach or ham to your egg dish, cook a frittata and cut it into cubes. You can also serve sliced hard-boiled eggs for baby's breakfast.
Dry cereal is another fine breakfast option for self-feeding babies. Try puffed wheat, corn or rice -- they're whole-grain, unsweetened and highly nutritious. Many other breakfast cereals are chock-full of sugar or, worse, high-fructose corn syrup, so read labels carefully. A little sweetener is acceptable, however. O-shaped cereal is particularly popular with babies practicing their pincer grip.
Silver Dollar Pancakes
Take a weekend morning to cook a batch of silver dollar-sized pancakes, preferably with buckwheat or whole-grain flour. Mini pancakes are the perfect size for a baby to pick up and put in his mouth. Freeze any extras that you don't serve to your baby and heat them up later in the microwave or toaster. Skip the syrup and offer fresh fruit on the side.
Toast and its Relations
A piece of whole-grain toast is easy for your baby to pick up and put in her mouth. Offer it plain or spread it with some butter, jam, nut butter or cream cheese. Mini bagels also make good self-serve items for babies. Bagels made with whole grains are preferred. You can also try half of a whole-wheat English muffin in the morning.
Chunks of fresh fruit cut into bite-sized pieces make for excellent finger food first thing in the morning. Try sections of orange, blueberries, strawberries -- quartered if large -- cubes of melon, diced fresh mango, slices of banana or peeled slices of peaches and pears. Don't offer whole grapes as they can be a choking hazard. Cut grapes into quarters or choose a different option.
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