Finger foods are defined as ‘foods are a baby can take and feed him or herself’. And they are offered during complementary feeding to encourage self-feeding.

Consumption of finger foods require oral, sensory and hand motor skills. It also contributes to development of these skills. That’s why it’s important to offer the right finger foods at the right time and in the right way.

When You Should Introduce Finger Foods to Your Baby?

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that after the eruption  of teeth, babies can take and chew small pieces of food in order to develop the baby’s hand motor and oral skills. It is also argued that it is important to encourage these skills by exposing them to finger foods once or twice a day.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommends that finger foods can be tried when a baby sits unsupported and begins to bring their hands or other objects to their mouth.

 In a normally developing, full-term infant, this developmental milestone is usually reached between 6 and 9 months; however, there can be significant differences from baby to baby.

Studies show that it becomes difficult for babies to learn new oral motor movements after about end of 10th months, and babies who are not introduced to a different diet at this point may be at risk for future oral motor problems.

Although crawling is often considered important to start finger foods, it is not decisive. Some children may not crawl at all. Crawling should not be seen as a definitive starting point. If parents think that crawling is decisive, this may lead to early introduction of finger foods or delay in the delivery of nutrients necessary for proper nutrition and oral motor development. Therefore, it is best to consult your physician before starting.

What Can Finger Foods Be?

American Academy of Pediatrics; recommends starting with finger foods that are soft, easy to swallow and cut into small pieces.

These foods are;

It can be foods such as peeled cut into strips or boiled vegetables or fruits (broccoli, potatoes, green beans, pumpkin, melon etc.), meatballs, pieces of cooked chicken or fish, cheese, cut and crispy bread in appropriate size. 

In addition, attention should be paid to the age appropriateness of the food to be given.


  1. Remijn, L., da Costa, S., Bodde, C., Gerding, R., Weenen, H., Vereijken, C., & van der Schans, C. (2019). Hand motor skills affect the intake of finger foods in toddlers (12–18 months). Food Quality and Preference74, 142-146.
  2. Awadalla, N., Pham, T., & Milanaik, R. (2018). Chew on this: not all first finger foods are created equal. Clinical Pediatrics57(8), 889-894.
  3. Utami, A. F., & Wanda, D. (2019). Is the baby-led weaning approach an effective choice for introducing first foods? A literature review. Enfermería Clínica29, 87-95.
  4. American Academy of Pediatrics. Starting solid foods. baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Switching-To-Solid-Foods. aspx. Accessed September 12, 2017.
  5. Magnus, Marcia H., and Sharon Payne. “Baby food bingo.” Journal of Nutrition Education 5.27 (1995): 276B.