Around seven to nine months of age, babies develop the ability to grasp and gum certain foods, skills which allow them to begin eating snacks throughout the day. At this stage, first-time parents may wonder which types of baby food snacks are best for their child. In fact, there are many different types of baby food snacks, from packaged cereal, cookies, yogurt, and fruit puree to simple items like sliced fruit or cheese. When choosing baby food snacks, it is important to select items that are healthy, and that do not pose a choking risk.
Whole-grain packaged cereals are among the most popular baby food snacks, largely due to the fact that they are easily transportable and require no preparation or refrigeration. Many parents keep a small bag or container of cereal in their baby’s diaper bag so that they always have a snack at hand. Cookies produced by baby food manufacturers offer a texture and convenience similar to those of cereals. Generally, these cookies contain less sugar and are milder in flavor than regular cookies.
Other popular packaged baby food snacks include yogurts and fruit purees which have been specially formulated to suit a baby’s tastes and nutritional needs. As these foods require no chewing, they may be a good option for babies who are just beginning to snack. They can also provide practice for older babies who are learning to spoon-feed themselves. On the downside, yogurts and fruit purees may need to be refrigerated, and they can prove a messy choice for self-feeding babies.
Baby food snacks do not necessarily need to come from a package. In fact, many foods which are commonly enjoyed by adults can be given to babies when they are ready to begin snacking. For instance, many babies enjoy soft fruits or vegetables, such as bananas, avocados, or cooked sweet potatoes, which have been sliced into small pieces. Mild cheeses like mozzarella or Colby can also be cut into very small chunks and offered as a snack.
Whether a parent opts for packaged or homemade foods, when choosing baby food snacks, a child’s health should be of primary concern. Parents should ensure that babies get a range of nutrients by varying snacks, and should avoid choosing products that contain large amounts of artificial additives, sugar, or fat. Finally, babies should only be offered snacks that they are capable of gumming or chewing easily, and foods should be cut into small pieces when necessary to prevent choking.