How to pick up finger-feeding

  • Your Crawler may be starting to show interest in feeding herself.
  • Let her use her fingers to pick up pieces of food and find her mouth.
  • Don’t worry about how messy finger-feeding can be.

At around 8 months, your Crawler will be able to grasp and pick up small pieces of food. She won’t have mastered this yet, and she may start by using her entire hand and all her fingers, but let her experiment. With practice, she’ll refine her finger movements and develop the ability to skillfully pick up one piece of food with just her thumb and forefinger.

Foods fit for finger-feeding are:

  • Small bite-sized pieces of soft-cooked vegetables or soft fruits, like ripe banana pieces.
  • A texture that dissolves quickly in her mouth, like grain snacks or yogurt snacks made especially for Crawlers.
  • Foods that are easy to pick up, like well-cooked pasta pieces.

Don’t worry about how messy finger-feeding can be. It helps develop motor skills, particularly hand-eye coordination, and it makes her feel more independent. 

Set the scene

Stable plates and bowls with large openings make picking up foods with fingers even easier.

Babies at the Crawler stage still have small tummies, so it’s best to offer three meals and two snacks a day. Snacks play an important role in a healthy diet, and with all sorts of different shapes and sizes to choose from, can help her master self-feeding.

Since this is when your baby learns to mash and chew, the first snacks you choose should dissolve easily. When she starts to get the hang of it, she can try more textured snacks.

  • Cut her food into smaller pieces so she doesn’t bite off more than she can chew.
  • Always be around while she’s practicing.
  • Children should be seated and supervised when eating.
  • It’ll be messy while she’s learning, so put a mat under her high chair.
  • Avoid foods that could be swallowed whole.

Get ready for snacks

Watch a video to find out if your Crawler is ready for snacks.
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