When Noah was 7 months, I began giving him puffs (we use the Gerber puffs and the Happy Baby puffs). Our pediatrician said to wait until he seemed interested in food before starting him off with puffs or Cheerios and if we gave them to him and he didn’t want anything to do with them-- wait a week and try again, but never to force him.
Babies will show interest in what you're eating and this is a good way to know when to start with finger foods. Much earlier on than 7 months, maybe 6 months, Noah would stare at Dan & I when we were eating and practice chewing, like he saw us doing, and that was a dead giveaway that he was ready to start eating more than purees.
Let your baby get a feel for using their hands to eat(and be prepared to see most of what you give them end up on the floor at first!) As I’ve mentioned before in my mommy posts, Noah has always been ready when it comes to eating milestones, so right at 7 months, I put a handful of banana puffs in front of him and let him play with them. (I popped one in his mouth to show him that this was food, as well.) Our doctor said to let him play with his food in the beginning to get a feel for it and to allow him to practice picking up his own food. When a baby can pick up his or her own food and put into their mouth, they can do what is known as the pincer grasp, and self-feed. Once they can self-feed, our doctor said they can begin to eat small bites of any food.
Use your parenting instincts. I let little Noah eat only puffs, Cheerios, and softer bites of food (like bananas) until he was 8 months to supplement his normal routine of cereals & purees. He was able to pick up his own food when he was 7 and a half months, but I wasn’t ready to give him bites real food yet. I was scared he would choke on something that wasn’t soft or easily dissolving.
I just have to say, the anxiety about him choking was purely my anxiety-- every time I would give him food, he would give me a look that said, “It’s about time, MOM. I’ve been ready for this.”
So, by 8 months, I was more confident when it came to giving him real food. He had his two front teeth & the two matching bottom teeth so he could rip into a piece of steak if he wanted to. So, anytime I made food, I would make him a “baby” plate with little pieces (to go along with his normal bottle & fruit/veggie puree feeding schedule). This has been the most fun I’ve had when feeding him so far because you get to make cute plates of food (that usually ends up all over their face, their hands, their belly, the highchair, and of course, the floor.)
I started off with scrambled eggs and then I began giving him things like chunks of french toast, grape tomatoes--quartered, blueberries, grapes sliced--quartered, elbow macaroni, sweet corn, etc. (Pictured above is Ezekiel bread, which I am happy to report that my baby loves.) I haven’t offered him any meats because I want to wait until he is a little bit older. When I do so, I plan to use organic chicken because “baby food meat” freaks me out!)
With each bite that I see him doing okay with, it makes it easier (on me-- a nervous first time mama) to keep going and let him explore all of the wonderful food that the world has to offer.
Our next challenge is the sippy cup, which hasn’t been quite as easy. We have tried 3 different styles of sippy cups so far and the little guy hates all of them…
*Note: I am not a baby-expert or a doctor-- just a new mother learning what works and what doesn't. This blog is about how my baby started eating finger/table foods, but all babies are different. Check with your pediatrician before offering any new foods.