Should finger foods be incorporated into the diet with the introduction of solid foods?

Updated on: Jan 11, 2021

The Diet Dispensary team recommends introducing complementary foods as soon as the child shows signs of readiness. Soft foods that can be eaten with the fingers are included in this recommendation. 

Aim for Variety 

The infant should be encouraged to eat foods of different textures as soon as solid foods are introduced. This includes finger foods and pureed food. 

Examples of finger foods typically offered are ripe vegetables or fruits (i.e., bananas or avocado) and well-cooked meat.  

A Learning Experience 

By eating with their fingers, children learn to feed themselves from the start. The introduction of solid foods coincides with an important period in oral and motor development. Therefore, these foods allow the child to explore textures with their fingers and to become more accustomed to different smells and tastes. It is advised to offer small quantities of finger foods at a time to limit the mess that created during the baby’s learning!  

The Safety of Finger Foods 

Gagging may be observed when children eat foods that are in pieces. This is natural, as they learn to move the food around in their mouths, from front to back. Gagging is caused by the child’s gag reflex, a protective mechanism against choking.  

The risk of choking is low since the child is responsible for putting food in their mouth and deciding how fast they eat. Nevertheless, it is important to avoid giving the child round, hard or sticky foods.  

Références

Brown, A. No difference in self-reported frequency of choking between infants introduced to solid foods using a baby-led weaning or traditional spoon-feeding approach. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017; 31(4):496-504.



Santé Canada. (2015). La nutrition du nourrisson né à terme et en santé : Recommandations pour l'enfant âgé de 6 à 24 mois.

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/infant-nourisson/recom/recom-6-24-months-6-24-mois-fra.php#a5

 

 

In collaboration with the Dispensary workers

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