How to Tell if Your Baby is Ready for Cheerios and Other Finger Foods
Whether or not your baby is ready for Cheerios really depends on her developmental stage. Some babies are ready for Cheerios as early as 9 months, while others can’t quite handle them until about year or sometimes even older. Learn how to tell if your baby is ready to start eating Cheerios, other foods that might be suitable around that time, foods to avoid and some valuable food safety tips.
Signs Your Baby is Ready for Cheerios
When your baby is ready for Cheerios and other finger foods, he will have mastered these two important skills first.
- Sitting Up Without Support. Before you should even think about introducing Cheerios and other finger foods to your baby, she must be able to sit up on her own for long periods of time as well as hold her own head up without support.
- The Pincer Grasp. In order for a baby to be able to eat finger foods in the first place, he will need to be able to actually bring food items to his mouth using the pincer grasp. The pincer grasp is the use of two fingers, usually the thumb and pointer finger, to pick up items.
Other Possible Finger Foods You Can Try
Along with Cheerios, there are several other finger foods you can try giving your baby:
- Pasta noodles
- Other dry cereals
- Diced, canned peaches and pears
- Soft, well-cooked vegetables (zucchini, carrots and peas)
- Scrambled eggs
- Small pieces of soft bread
Finger Foods to Avoid
There are some finger foods parents should avoid giving their babies until they are older and can chew and swallow without any problems. These include:
- Hot dogs
- Whole grapes
- Hard candy
- Raw vegetables
- Large chunks of meat or apples
Food Safety Tips
Besides avoiding the items on the above "Finger Foods to Avoid" list, parents can also help prevent choking by making sure all fruits and vegetables are really soft and diced into bite-sized pieces or quarter-inch cubes. All pasta items should be cooked until they are soft, not al dente, and cut into bite-sized pieces as well.
Also, when first starting out with finger foods, don’t give your baby anything that requires chewing. Even if your baby has teeth and seems to be able to chew, the first finger food items she eats should all be easily dissolvable or something she can eat with just her gums.
Parents should also never leave their child unattended when eating finger foods or Cheerios. Always stay close and watch your baby while he eats anything.
Check in With Your Pediatrician
Cheerios are a great and healthy snack that four out of five pediatricians recommend as a first finger food. But, just to be on the safe side, before feeding them to your baby, talk to your pediatrician first. When it comes to your baby and eating, it’s always smart to check in with your pediatrician before trying anything new.