At around 6 months old, your child might be ready for his first solids. And at 8 months old, he will be able to grasp and pick up small pieces of food. He may start out using his entire hand and all his fingers. Hayaan mo lang - let him experiment. With practice, he’ll have better control of his finger movements and develop the ability to skillfully pick up one piece of food with just his thumb and forefinger!
Set the scene
Children should be seated properly and supervised when eating. Stable plates and bowls that open wide make picking up foods with fingers even easier. Don’t worry about how messy eating with his fingers may be! It helps develop motor skills, especially his hand-eye coordination. And it even gives him the feeling of independence, ‘di ba?!
Put knowledge into action:
Offer small bite-sized pieces, foods that are easy to pick up, food textures that easily dissolve or melt in his mouth.
- Soft-Cooked Vegetables or Soft Fruits:
- Avocado: Full of essential fats and nutrients such as vitamins A, C, niacin at folate; and the minerals potassium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and calcium
- Apple: Ideal first food ng babies na rich source ng vitamins A, B, C and minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and fiber*
- Camote: Bright orange super-food full of vitamins such as vitamins A, C and folate, and minerals like potassium, selenium, magnesium and calcium
- Kalabasa: A strong favorite with babies, it is loaded with vitamin A and beta carotene, and is also a great source of potassium, protein and iron
- Banana: Another popular first food choice for babies that is rich in vitamins A, C and folate, and minerals like potassium, selenium, magnesium and calcium
- Rice and Soup :
- Any kind of rice with soup or sauce will do. Try using all-time Filipino favorites such as pinakbet (vegetable stew), nilagang baka (beef stew), tinola (chicken stew), afritada(chicken with tomato sauce), and adobo (pork stew).
- Eggs :
- Make sure that the egg is hard-boiled, not soft-boiled. The heat used for soft-boiled egg is not enough to kill the salmonella bacteria that may be inside the egg.
- Babies still have small tummies, so give him mini-snacks.
- Offer snacks of different shapes and sizes so he can master feeding himself.
- Start with snacks that dissolve in his mouth easily because baby is still learning to chew or grind food. Pag sanay na si baby, give snacks with different textures and tastes.
- Avoid foods that could be swallowed whole as it might choke your baby. Never offer small-size hard snacks like raisins or peanuts.
Co-written with Reina Borlaza, RND
Butte N, Cobb K, Dwyer J, Graney L, Heird W, Rickard K. The start healthy feeding guidelines for infants and toddlers. J Am Diet Assoc. 2004;104(3):442-54.
Morris SE, Klein MD. Pre-feeding skills–a comprehensive resource for mealtime development, 2nd ed. Austin, TX: Therapy Skill Builders, 2000.
American Academy of Pediatrics. Bright Futures Nutrition, 3rd ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011.