Lately I have been asked about giving Oliver chunks of food and even puffs when he only has a sliver of one tooth at 7 months (for more info on my background here, read about Baby Led Weaning. How can he eat without teeth? I have also seen some people delaying finger foods with even older infants because they don’t have many teeth. I am a little confused.
First off, they don’t need teeth. Want proof? Give a mouthy infant your finger and watch what happens. CHEW. Want more proof? Give them a green pepper slice and watch CLOSELY. They will have chunks off in no time.Those little gums are sharp.
Second, baby’s first teeth (usually) aren’t “chewing” teeth. Think about it. When do you chew with your front 4 teeth? Check out this chart on when teeth come in on average and see they aren’t ripping meat from bones anytime soon.
Now I’m not saying give your kid finger foods before YOU are ready either. If you don’t think they are ready, don’t. I get it. If you think they can handle it, give it a shot. Practice makes perfect.
My kids are different than your kids. My boys would eat anything that resembles food. They both have taken to finger food quickly. One, because they eat so much and so fast that I have to slow them. For real. I throw puffs at Ollie like a rabid beast so I can eat a bite of my food. Purees are clearly slowing him down. He needs the volume so we still shovel in some to make up some calories (juicing for babies). I started giving Oliver puffs awhile back to just keep him busy. Most ended up in his lap or the floor. Jack LOVED it. Then, in the past week, he started REALLY getting it. I go to scoop out his seat and there is nothing there. So far her has had the following finger foods:
- smooshed black beans or cut in half.
- banana pieces
- kiwi pieces
- blueberry halves
- sweet potato chunks
- green peppers
- apple slices
He chews like you and I chew. If it’s too big, he spits it out. Chews it in the back and then swallows. Point is: he is practicing and getting better by the day. His pincer grasp is getting really good and I can even see the skill translate to better hand eye coordination with toys. I am happy with his development in this arena and hope this can serve as a jumping off point for some others looking to introduce finger foods.
To round it out, here are a few of Ollie’s dinners lately: