A common concern and one that comes up again and again in our weekly Instagram Q&A is that their 8-month-old shows little interest in finger foods and instead, seems more interested in playing with them. If you're currently in this situation, rest assured you're not alone. Let’s delve into this common phase in your baby's development.
Understanding the Exploration Phase:At 8 months old, babies are in the midst of exploring the world around them. They're using all of their senses to understand different textures, shapes, and sizes. While it might be concerning that your little one is more interested in playing than eating, it's crucial to recognize that this behavior is often part of their natural development process.
Why Your Baby Might Be More Interested in Play:
1. Curiosity Knows No Bounds: Babies are naturally curious beings. The sensation of squishing, smashing, and feeling different textures is intriguing to them. Playing with food is a way for them to understand it better.
2. Developing Motor Skills: Picking up tiny pieces of food requires fine motor skills that your baby might still be mastering. Playing with finger foods helps them refine these skills, even if it doesn't immediately result in ingestion.
3. Taste Sensitivity:Babies might have strong taste preferences. Some babies might not enjoy the taste of certain foods immediately. It might take several attempts before they acquire a taste for specific flavours and textures.
How to encourage your baby to eat finger food
- Give them plenty of opportunities to eat finger foods. I would suggest you offer at each meal make at least one a finger food meal.
- Let them play! As I said above your baby will be more interested in playing with the food because they are curious. Its how they learn.
- Offer the finger food first and when they are hungry can lead to a better outcome.
- Include a dip and a dipper. The finger food can be the dipper and something like a purée or hummus can be the dipper.
- Explore our food teethers to help give baby confidence in developing their motor skills.
- First Aid Course - I would advice every parent to do this. It can definitely help with anxiety when introduce finger food.
- Finger Food Webinar - This is a great course for understanding finger foods and textures to make you less anxious when starting out.
Our Weaning Advice page provides information and advice on weaning your baby. It includes recipes, tips, and articles on a variety of topics related to weaning, such as introducing finger food, adding herbs and spices to baby food, and healthy snacks for your baby, and lots more