As your baby gets older, she’ll need regular snacks alongside her meals, especially as they’re likely to be replacing her mid-morning and mid-afternoon milk feeds. As she still has a tiny stomach, small meals with snacks in between will suit her better than three big meals a day, and grazing throughout the day will keep her energy levels constant. By now she’ll be ready for finger foods and new flavours, making it easier to give her nutritious snacks.
Why your baby needs snacks
Snacking will hone your baby’s fine motor skills. As well as giving finger foods, you can also try letting her feed herself with a spoon – but expect it to be messy at first!
Giving your baby snacks can also teach her the importance of saying please and thank you. She’ll be too young to form the words, but by repeating them yourself when you pass her a snack, she’ll learn that it’s expected and it’ll pave the way for when she can say the words herself.
You can be more adventurous with the healthy snacks you give your baby at this age, but it’s still important to make sure they’re age-appropriate – so no crisps or sweets yet!
Great snack ideas to try
- Cubes of cheese. Easy to chew and a great source of calcium and protein. Chop it into 1cm cubes so your baby can pick them up herself.
- Raw vegetable sticks. Chop up a raw pepper or carrot and let her feed herself. She’ll have much stronger gums by now, and probably a few teeth, and chewing on nutritious veggie sticks can be soothing if she’s teething.
- Cheese on toast. A substantial snack that’s packed with calcium and carbs for an extra energy burst between meals. Make sure it has cooled down before giving it to your baby, and cut it into soldiers for easy eating.
- Cooked peas. A strange choice, perhaps, but one that’s easy to cook and perfect for developing your baby’s pincer grip. They’re also packed with vitamin A and iron for healthy growth and development.
- Dried fruit. Raisins, apricots and the like are full of vitamins and are easy to carry for on-the-go snacking. They’re also great for getting things going if your baby is constipated, but supervise her closely to avoid choking.
- Fromage frais. Full of calcium, fromage frais makes the perfect introduction to self-feeding with a spoon, and will replace some of your baby’s dairy intake if she’s dropping milk feeds.
- Sliced peaches. Babies love the sweetness and the soft, sticky texture. Slice a ripe peach into strips that are easy for her to pick up.
- Warm porridge. Introducing a pre-bed snack could fill your baby up and help her to sleep through the night if she’s still waking for milk. Porridge is comforting and filling, with milk known to induce feelings of sleepiness, and she can try to feed it to herself, too.