Finger Foods for First Time Parents

As a first time parent, you question if you are doing things right, a lot.  Once you’ve been through certain stages, things are easy and you aren’t quite sure why you spent so much energy trying to figure out the right way for so long, but as a new parent you have no clue.  No one gives you a manual to figure this stuff out! There is not step by step program.  So when it came time to give Anya finger foods, we weren’t really sure where to begin.  What are good foods to start with?  How much?  How small should it be cut?  Lots of questions came up.  Parenting experts will say that every child is different and you will find this is true.  Here are some ideas for first time parents needing inspiration on first finger foods:

Daily Schedule 

This was Anya’s typical daily schedule from about 7 to 10 months.  Our little piggy started finger foods a bit early, but she was more into her food than formula.  Your kids may be different.  When it came to quantities we tried to abide by the amounts below.  This was a great starting point.  You will know if it is too much or too little by the way your child reacts.  Some signs they are full: playing with food, pushing it away, fussing, or spitting it out.  Genius right?  After understanding how much Anya wanted to eat, we sent her to daycare with a take and toss bowl for one meal, and that quantity was typically enough.  If not, we always had spare snacks on hand, or if we are at home we simply give more.  Here’s the breakdown of the schedule and quantities.  Specific times of day not listed, but we were gearing her towards an average schedule of 3 meals a day with snacks in between:

  • 4 oz  of formula in the AM before daycare
  • Breakfast at Daycare: 4 oz. formula; 2-4 oz. Oatmeal (mixed with water) OR Scrambled or Hard Boiled Diced Egg; 2-4 oz. pureed, mashed, or diced fruit (directly mixed in with the oatmeal or eggs)
  • Lunch at Daycare: 4 oz. formula; 2-4 oz. cottage cheese OR yogurt (must be whole milk which is 4%); 2-4 oz. pureed mashed, or diced fruit and/or veggie
  • Snack at Daycare: 4 oz. formula; Diced cheese OR Small pieces of graham cracker OR yogurt/cottage cheese (if not given to her earlier in the day)
  • Dinner at Home: 4 oz. of formula; 2 oz. of poultry, meat, or fish; 2 oz. of noddle, rice, or potato; 2 oz. fruit or veggie

Meal Examples

Mostly we feed Anya what we are eating, but we eat pretty healthy so there wasn’t much to worry about.  Of course, you must follow the rules of certain foods they aren’t supposed to have too early.  Here are some specifics:

  • Breakfast Examples:
    • oatmeal with mashed banana
    • diced egg with diced cheese and spinach
    • yogurt with diced peaches
  • Lunch Examples:
    • cottage cheese with diced cucumber and diced cheese
    • diced carrots (that have been lightly boiled or steamed to soften), diced apple, diced cheese
    • cottage cheese with diced beets
  • Dinner:
    • shredded chicken, pieces of mashed sweet potato, diced zucchini
    • Spaghetti, chopped, with a small amount of sauce
  • Snacks:
    • Graham Crackers
    • Diced Fruit and Cheese
    • Yogurt or Cottage Cheese and fruit
    • Edamame and Cheese

Other Tips

  • How small should you cut the food?  This is probably the scariest part.  I started off keeping things pea sized, shredded, or mashed.  From there you can increase the size as you see suitable for your child.  My thought was that the choking point was probably grape sized, so I made sure it was smaller than a grape.
  • Around 10 months we realized Anya needed more protein in her diet so we started providing meat at lunch time
    • leftover from the night before chicken, beef, or pork
    • Tilapia
    • Tuna Fish
  • Dinner leftovers are great lunches for the next day for everyone.
  • We didn’t store much food, just as adults operate, food has a short shelf life so make the best of your leftovers.

People always say you’ll know what’s best, which is tough to hear because you want facts!  I hope these tidbits from our experience help your child in their journey to big kid food!  I know you too will figure it out as you go 🙂

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