This is week 3 in my month long focus on baby finger foods that are fresh and unprocessed. There has been a proliferation of packaged baby finger foods over the last few years, and it’s easy to get caught up in buying them and offering them frequently – they are convenient, they market themselves as ‘health foods’, and they are easy to throw in your handbag when you’re heading out. But there’s so many great fresh and unprocessed foods out there that are wonderful for learning how to eat. Today we are reviewing the favourite fruit of almost every baby out there – the BANANA. But this can be a slippery sucker as a finger food... so what should we do?
Recommended age: not provided
Age you could probably offer this: 6-8+ mo
Shape: you can offer small chopped up pieces, ‘fingers’, or just a whole piece unchopped
Size: For the younger babies I like to recommend small ‘fingers’ of banana, and for the older babies I recommend offering whole pieces of banana
Texture: very soft bite & chew
Bananas are one of the first foods that many babies are offered, and they tend to remain a favourite for months and years to come. And no wonder! They are full of goodness, they are easy to mash, soft to chew and swallow, and come pre-packaged so you can take them easily with you. Take THAT, commercial pouches of baby food!
The only drawback is that banana can be a bit of a slippery slimy sucker when it’s chopped up. Not such a problem for older babies who can hold a whole piece of banana and take bites off by themselves. But the younger baby can’t hold a big piece, so they need it to be in smaller pieces so they can pick it up. But the slimy texture can make it a challenging sensory experience for many babies. And hard to pick up!
But here’s a neat trick! I really like to offer ‘fingers’ of banana. Stick-shaped finger foods are brilliant for teaching babies how to chew, and also encourage biting. And you can get three fingers out of a piece of banana by doing the following;
Slice off a piece of banana. Look at the sliced end. See how there are black dots (amongst three dark triangles) towards the middle? Place your thumb and finger on the outside of the banana so that they are lined up between the triangles. Now gently squeeze. You should start to see the banana separate into a triangular strip – pull gently away. Do the same for the other two strips that are left. And voila! Three lovely fingers of banana that are not slimy or slippery and are ready for little hands.
Here’s a video of what I mean (with bonus impatient 12 month old in the background demanding “Where’s my banana!”).
Lots to love about this brilliant fruit, despite it’s sensory challenges for some little hands. Is your baby bothered by the sliminess of the banana? Or are they just so keen on it that they simply do not care?
And remember, always supervise your baby when they are eating, no matter how easy you think the food might be to eat.