Starting your baby on finger foods and allowing them to self-feed is an exciting milestone for many whether you are following baby-led weaning or the traditional weaning method of pureeing foods.
However, for a small number of parents, the idea of giving finger foods can be rather daunting but know that your baby will instinctively know what to do. They will make a huge mess as they explore new tastes and textures but I promise you, it is totally worth it.
Lots of babies gag when offered solid food at first and it is completely normal. It can be scary to watch but remember choking is different from gagging. Everyone (including adults) has what's called a 'gag reflex' and it is the bodies way of preventing something small from blocking the airways.
When introducing finger foods to a baby, it is important to offer a wide variety of health and nutritious foods that are easy to hold, that can be squashed between your index finger and thumb and you should always give your baby full control of their food. Never force or put finger foods in your babies mouth.
So, if you and your baby are ready, invest in a sturdy high chair with a footrest, buy a wipe-clean long-sleeved bib and let them sink their gums into these tried and tested finger foods perfect for weaning babies from six months old:
Soft cooked florets of broccoli or cauliflower
Strips of freshly cooked meat such as beef, lamb or chicken
Avocado on toast fingers
Sticks of firm cheese such as cheddar
Roasted sweet potato fingers
Well cooked green beans or sugar snap peas
Well cooked asparagus
Pitta bread with smooth peanut butter
Well cooked noodles
Breadsticks with cheese spread or hummus
Soft pieces of ripe fruit cut into strips such as mango, melon, peach, kiwi, papaya and nectarine
Unsalted rice cakes
Well cooked pasta such as fusilli with or without a sauce
Baked or pan-fried white fish or salmon
Pineapple cut into a ring
Soft cooked sweetcorn served on the cob
Soft cooked slices of butternut squash or sweet potato
Crackers with apple or pear puree
Chilled cucumber batons
Chopped hard-boiled egg
Rice - boil first, allow to cool slightly and roll into a ball
Frozen yoghurt bark
Cooked salmon gently flaked with a fork
Finger sandwiches with a filling of your choice
Baked apple or pears cut into fingers
Banana (leave some peel on as a handle)
Peppers served raw in long 2-3 inch strips
Gently steamed peas
Chopped strawberries, raspberries, blueberries with natural yoghurt
Cherry tomatoes or grapes quartered
Whole or chopped nuts should never be given to children under the age of five due to the risk of choking. Other foods to avoid include honey under the age of one, salt, sugar, whole grapes, popcorn and raw shellfish.