Eating the same food with your baby helps them figure out what this eating thing is all about, and enables them to learn how to chew, and swallow. It can also combat fussiness if your child can see how much you are enjoying the food. It is important you serve the food in an appropriate shape for little one, mainly so that baby can grip and hold the food by themselves without assistance meaning that they can explore the food safely minimising the risk of choking.
As long as you cut and serve food appropriately for baby, pretty much any meal can be given, from 6 months of age. To do this, generally you want all food to be served in finger size strips so baby can pick it up easily, hold it in their fist, with half of the food sticking out of the top to nibble on. Use your fore finger as a general guide on sizing, but this really doesn’t need to be specific. ⠀
Examples of food and how to serve to little ones.
• Sausages – in half lengthways
• Hardboiled egg – into quarters lengthways
• Bread – cut into strips. Toasted is fine for little ones, use butter, fruit mash or yoghurt to soften
• Tomatoes – cut into rings so baby can hold easily
• Blueberries – cut in half or squished
• Avocado – sliced with half the skin left on for easy grip
• Sweetcorn – cob cut into 2/3cm rings once cooked⠀Chicken – thigh meat as softer than breast – meat removed from the bone in strips
• Grapes – cut into quarters lengthways for little babies or halved lengthways for toddlers
• Whole nuts – must not be served to children under the age of 5, instead finely crush or serve as nut butter
Foods that need a spoon: These can be offered with a preloaded spoon for baby to hold, or you can spoon feed baby yourself. You can also dunk a more solid texture into runny foods, for example toast dipped in yoghurt
The amount of time in which you serve food like this unless specifically advised, like nuts, really depends on your child’s chewing and swallowing ability. If in doubt, there is no harm to continue until your child is confident in using cutlery.