It’s good to be back! Last Monday was a public holiday in WA, so Monday Bites took a day off too. But here we are, it’s Monday again, and time for the next review of finger foods for your baby or toddler. Last month I focused on unprocessed foods, like watermelon, grapes, strawberries and banana. This month, I’ve decided to focus on foods that are not targeted at babies and children specifically. Before the concept of Baby Led Weaning took off, there were not many baby-specific finger foods available off the supermarket shelf. So what did babies eat before then?! Plenty! So this month I’ll review some foods that you’ll find elsewhere in the supermarket aisles. First up? Arnott’s Ginger Nut Biscuits.
Recommended age: not provided
Age you could probably offer this: 6+mo
Size: standard biscuit size
Texture: hard mouthing/teething food (for babies), hard mechanical food (for older children and adults)
I’ve chosen the Arnott’s Ginger Nut to review because it’s in a texture category that we don’t often talk about. Hard Mouthing foods (sometimes called Teething Foods) are often forgotten about when people talk about introducing solids, but they play a really important role in helping babies learn how to bite and chew (part of their oral motor development). Hard Mouthing foods are exactly what they sound like – hard in texture, and designed to be gummed on (rather than actually eaten and swallowed). They provide the chance for your baby to get flavour, practice their bite action, and move their tongue in all different directions, without having to worry about actually chewing and swallowing lumps of food.
The Arnott’s Ginger Nuts are particularly good out of all the gingernuts on the shelf, because they are particularly hard. They also have quite a mild ginger flavour compared to some of the others, which is good for little learning mouths! They stay hard for quite a while, even with lots of dribbly gumming, and slowly degrade away (just be sure to monitor for any larger pieces that might soften and break off that you’ll need to scoop out of bub’s mouth).
Hard Mouthing foods are also a great option for grizzly teething babies, and for a moment’s peace and quiet while you enjoy your own biscuit dipped in a nice hot cup of tea!
And remember, always supervise your baby when they are eating, no matter how easy you think the food might be to eat.