The American-Academy of Pediatrics suggests that for babies to get proper nutrition, they should be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months. After 6 months comes the process known as weaning where the babies for the first time are fed something other than the breast milk.
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It could be mashed bananas or pureed food or the parents can opt for finger foods. All babies are different and so are their needs, so there is no determined age when one should introduce finger food to their babies, however, the average age would be 7 to 8 months.
What Is Baby-led Weaning
Baby led weaning process is when instead of giving their babies the pureed food, parents opt for solid finger food. But before introducing finger food make sure that your baby is more than 6 months old, has no longer the tongue thrust reflex, can sit upright without any assistance and can hold and grasp food.
Introducing these baby first finger foods over purées have its own benefits. Purées are runny and more often than not, they make a mess. Also, some babies don’t like being fed and by giving finger food, they are in charge of their meals. A baby need not have teeth to eat finger food as they are using their gums to chew the food.
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Precautions To Be Taken
- Your baby should never be left alone while he/she is eating finger food or the food is within their reach.
- Do not introduce such food to your baby before 6 months.
- Make sure that the food can be mashed easily by your baby’s gums. This means you need to cook the food a little longer than you usually cook for you.
- Know the difference between choking and gagging. Choking is dangerous where gagging is a natural and a positive process to push the baby’s food forward.
Ideal Baby First Finger Food
You can start with fruits such as diced bananas or sweet potatoes or cubes of ripped pears. You can also go for soft pieces of meat but make sure they are mashed well. Parents can also opt for diced tofu as well as, hard-boiled eggs and cooked pasta.