Baby Care Basics:
5 Must-Know Tips for That First Week Home

1. Baby wipes
Most docs recommend avoiding premoistened diaper wipes for the first month of baby's life since some of their chemicals can irritate a newborn's tender skin. Instead, use cotton balls dipped in warm water. When baby’s ready for regular wipes, choose ones that are alcohol-free and unscented to prevent irritation.

2. Bath time
Until baby’s umbilical cord is off and healed, baby can only take sponge baths. Start by soaking your baby a little. Make sure to always keep one hand on baby, and remember that infants are especially slippery when wet. Start with his face–one area at a time since covering the whole face with a washcloth can be scary -- and work your way down. Make sure to thoroughly wash inside all the folds (under the arms, in the neck, the genital area, etc.) and save baby’s dirtiest parts -- aka the diaper area -- for last. Then, move back up and wash baby’s hair. And note: There’s no need to bathe more than every few days.

3. Newborn skin
At birth, baby's skin will probably appear to be dry. How come? It’s in the process of peeling off an entire waterproof layer of sorts. But in general, a baby's skin doesn’t need much specialized care -- just lots of TLC. A mild cleanser is safe, though many people recommend just plain water. Your baby's face takes a lot of abuse (just think of all that spitting!), so do your best to keep it clean. But if baby's skin seems excessively dry, irritated or itchy, or if you notice a rash or breakout, consult your pediatrician ASAP.

4. The umbilical cord get sucked into registering for cute toys or outfits Umbilical cord care has changed dramatically over the last 20 years; now, many hospitals recommend doing nothing but keeping the cord dry (read: sponge baths only). But some pediatricians still recommend using alcohol on the cord with each diaper change to speed up the healing process. That way you’ll be able to give your baby real baths, as opposed to sponge baths, sooner. So find out what your doctor recommends.

5. Fingernails and toenails
The safest way to keep a newborn’s nails short is to just file them and not cut them at all. Since the skin of the fingers is usually attached to the back of the nail, cutting the nails often results in nipping the fingertip too (ouch!). Even though the bleeding is minor and can be stopped quickly with a little pressure, it's very upsetting to the parent -- and always seems like a lot more blood than it really is! Once baby is a little older (18 months), you can cut their nails while they’re asleep.

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How Should I Introduce Finger Foods?

What exactly are finger foods and when can I start introducing them to my baby?

Re: What exactly are finger foods and when can I start introducing them to my baby?

The Bump Expert

By eight to nine months, when baby starts to develop his pincer grasp (pointer-finger-and-thumb grab), you can start to think about offering him some beginner finger foods. Finger foods are foods that baby can easily pick up and easily mash between his gums, and they help baby begin to learn to self-feed.

Start with any foods that baby has already had, and anything that you can make into small soft bits. Babies don't chew until they get their molars in -- before then, they mash food between their gums! A few popular finger foods:

• Small pieces of ripe fruit, such as banana and peach

• Small pieces of cooked vegetables (avoid raw veggies for now), such as squash and peas

• Soft-cooked potato

• Cheese cubes

• Cooked pasta

• Beans

• Cheerios or rice puffs

• Scrambled eggs

• Wafer crackers

Serve finger foods as part of the main meal. For example, you may need to spoon-feed cereal and yogurt, but baby can feed himself small pieces of cracker. Let baby discover the tastes and textures of finger foods, and watch baby carefully as he practices eating them.

Nicole Meadow, MPN, RD, nutritionist

re: Q: Finger Foods?

My 10 month old son loves goldfish, cheerios, cheese cubes, toast and any type of crackers (among many others).

Lotti |

re: Q: Finger foods?

My DD loves the yogurt bites that Gerber makes!

jaredsgal |

re: Q: Finger foods?

My 10 month old loves grated cheese, cheerios, and soft breadsticks. He also likes cooked kidney beans cut in half.

CanadianGurl |

re: Q: Finger foods?

My daughter loves american cheese slices, it melts quickly and just slides down with out gaging her :)

LDB82 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My daughter actually loves grilled cheese! She only wants to feed herself now, and so i gave her some of my grilled cheese, and she hate half of the sandwhich!!

megmc1319 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

Frozen mixed veggies: peas, carrots, and corn. I pour a little warm water over them to defrost and toss them on the table. He loves to chase them around and give a triumphant smile when he gets one in his mouth!

cyndiathma |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

I see a number of you have mentioned cheese as a good finger food. I have not yet introduced this to my 9.5 month old, but I would like to. What kind of cheese do you recommend?

ZEPF |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

I give my daughter cheddar, but my pediatrician said she can also have mozzarella or cheddarella (mix).

heather121184 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My son is just about 9 months, I want to start table foods but I worry! What should I start with?

MamaNicholey |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

I have given my ten month old Avacado and firm tofu and he really likes them both. They are nice and soft and easy for them to chew. I usually coat them lightly in bread crumbs just so that it is easier for him to hold on to. Avacado is a very good source of healthy fat and tofu is a good source of protein.

Abbey889 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My little guy loves prunes. I dice each one into about 9 bite-sized bits and he goes wild.

harrietvane11 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

my baby is 9 months old im very scared to start giving her finger food! Can someone help me in the transition and what they did!

LolaD |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My DD loves yogurt melts and cheerios. She's actually been eating table food since she was about 6 months old, she developed her pincer grasp really early, probably because I let her try to feed herself early. Don't be afraid of letting your baby eat foods, just know how small to make them and what works well. Cheerios are good because of the hole in the middle, yogurt melts are good because they melt. Just use common sense. When I first started giving her the yogurt melts I broke them in half, but now she can eat them whole without a problem. The longer you wait to feed baby real food, the more trouble they may have when they get to have it because they don't know what to do with it. My DD pretty much can eat anything (except for peanuts, etc.) and she does. She also likes small pieces of meats like chicken, pasta, veggies, fruits. You can also try the teether biscuits but beware they: 1. make a mess and 2. can bite big pieces of them off pretty easily.

notti426 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My little man adores avacados!! Also look at Happy Baby puffs - they come in banana, apple and veggie, and Mum Mums made out of rice rusk. Both are healthy choices, made specifically for babies so they dissolve readily. If you choose Cheerio's please only use the actual Cheerio brand. Generics do not dissolve and have been known to cause choking. As for Gerber Yogurt Drops, I don't recommend giving them a bunch of these. They have a higher sugar count than I like. The first night I brought them home, my little guy was wired. Couldn't figure it out until I started checking ingredients. Now I only allow two or three drops for an entire day, and certainly not every day. Our big thing is, what ever I cook for dinner I make a little something for him from it. Like some carrot or potato, or other veg and a pasta or something - this way I'm not cooking a grillion things all day/nighgt long.

essiegirl |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

The only finger foods I give my 9 month old are the banana puffs that they make for babies which dissolve in their mouths. Also, She LOVES 'plain' greek yogurt. I feel that this is probably an excellent source of vitamin D for her bones especially since she is standing on her legs now. Sometimes I mix the fruit purees and add it to the yogurt. That way she gets her fruits in too. I tried giving her tiny pieces of chopped up cheddar cheese and meats but I don't think she liked it or was ready for it. Plus I'm scared to death of her choking so I stopped it altogether. I think that when the time is right to introduce these foods you will know. What's the rush! Don't they all grow up so fast as it is anyways? I only give her now pureed food like mash potatoes and pureed pinto beans. I'm so confused about the posts I see about letting babies this age eat finger foods. Aren't you supposed to introduce these foods only until after their molars come in???

kcdorsey75 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My son is 9.5 months old and since about 8 months I started introducing cheerios and he had a hard time for a while but at 9 months go the hang of it. At his 9 month doctors appointment we were told he could pretty much eat what we eat ( of course common sense takes into place such as no nuts, milk etc). I just make sure the food is soft, gumable and we were told not to make anything larger than a cheerio which helps. So he has had diced fruit, cheese, turkey, chicken, stew meat, potato veggies, scrambled egg yoke, shredded cheddar cheese, pasta cut up small. and this is just a small list of the foods he has. He still has baby cereal which he loves. He got the hang of it pretty quickly and loves to eat finger foods. I think what has been a plus for me is I worked in day care (still on maternity leave) so I Have been around a lot of children and have seen the kind of finger foods they eat so it hasn't been hard for. To those that are nervous about feeding their child finger foods just keep offering your child them every day even if they don't eat them, even if they just touch it and mush it evencually they will get the idea. Also show them how you do it, pick up a bit and show them how you put it in your mouth. It took a good month before my son actually put a cheerio in his mouth but I offered every day by putting it on his tray. Good Luck and don't worry:)

firsttimemomMarch2010 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

A tip for any slippery diced fruits,crush up cheerios into dust(cheerio dust) and toss the fruit in it. It will help your little one pick up the fruit easier when first learning. As they get better and better you can do less and less. Sometimes I still need to coat some but he is getting the hang of picking up even the slippery fruits. He loves his finger foods and I am so proud!

firsttimemomMarch2010 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

kcdorsey wrote: "Aren't you supposed to introduce these foods only until after their molars come in??? " The answer is no, because their molars aren't going to come in until they are about 2 years old. My goal is to have DS (now 9 months) weaned from breastmilk and eating table food by the time he is 12 months. Babies chew with their gums anyway, so even if the baby has no teeth, it's still okay (DS has 8 front teeth now). I've talked with my Dr. about this, and he supports weaning him and starting him on table food at this age. I guess it just depends how long you want to keep breastfeeding your LO (or mixing bottles, if that's the case).

Laura_Elaine |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My little boy who is 9.5 months will not take any sort of food that is not pureed yet. He gags and sometimes throws up if I give him anything remotely chunky. He loves the teething biscuits but that is it!

lhamilto13 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My little man just turned 9 months and he also gags and throws up even when introduced something solid. He even threw up when we gave him a tiny finger taste of whipped cream!

Skyblueday32 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

Wow I must be off, my 6.5mon old is around older toddlers and eats cherrios and sometimes crackers like ritz. I haven't tried much, except the cherrios but the cheese may be a good idea, he tries to get things off my plate so I've given him pieces of things, I just hope Im not doing too much. Probably not doing things right at all. He's just so curious its hard not to, oh and did I mention he wont sit still! he crawls and pulls himself up into everything! Any other ideas of what to try? He hasn't been very good with the baby food but is interested in other things.

jamielyn2 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My 9 months old daughter has pretty much been feeding herself since we introduced solids at 6 months. I gave her some purees for awhile, and still spoon feed her oatmeal (just regular quaker oats, not baby food) and yogurt, but other than that she eats everything we eat- I just cut it up and put it on her tray (note- I only give her food I cook, I would never give her anything processed). My pediatrician really encouraged giving her proteins, and she loves salmon and chicken. She is still breastfed as well.

thompst4 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

For Skyblueday and Lhamilto13, my godson has what his doctor has called "a quick gag reflex". He vomits at the drop of a hat! any food that gags him, a coughing fit, too much activity too soon after eating, all these things make him puke! His mom finds it helps to just go very slowly with VERY small amounts. He may be interested in and want foods that still don't agree with him gag-wise, but he will grow into (or out of!) it. Hope that is helpful.

JenOP |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

Kcdorsey75 and others...check out this website...it was given to me by another mommy friend that I work with. I had my pediatrician check it out and she said it was great!! It tells you what to give your LO and when. It also gives you reasons why you shouldn't give certain things due to allergens, etc. It's a great site and it is what I use to feed my almost 10 month old solid foods. She LOVES it all. She hasn't turned away from anything yet and doesn't want much of the Gerber stuff anymore. Also, what I've read and confirmed with my pediatrician is that if you wait for them to get teeth, which my LO has none yet, they will get lazy and not want to try any solids. Give them the cooked, soft foods in little pieces, and your LO should be good to go. Just stay with them while they eat. Happy feeding!!! :o)

iup9802 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

I guess it would have been helpful to post the website...duhhhh. Sorry!! It is www.wholesomebabyfood.com

iup9802 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

Why ON EARTH would someone want to feed a baby WHIPPED CREAM??? No wonder he trew up. Poor baby. I'm sorry, I can't stand people with no common sense taking care of a child.

Winniepruh |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

When you wait too long to let them feed themselves, that's contributes to making a picky eater. Give them as many opportunities to try different things while their taste buds and likes and dislikes are still malleable, otherwise you end up with a toddler who will only eat mac n cheese and chicken nuggets.

grnelson |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

Your taste develops over your lifetime so foods we may like or dislike when we are kids we may now like or dislike later when we're adults. You have to keep introducing foods to kids even if they "don't like them". Don't give up too easily. Just because they don't like it at first they need to try it over and over again before they get used to the taste and texture. Of course it's good to start early but by 9mo if they aren't eating table food that will not determine whether or not they are good eaters. You need to read your kid and see when they are ready. Mine seems to have a gag reflex as well when I give her anything too solid she can't mash up easily in her gums so I just keep thatm in mind as I steer her towards new things.

mdhohenshelt |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

Winniepruh- why not give them a taste? Are you only feeding your child organic boring foods?

NURSEMANDARIN |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

Everyone has made valid points my LO eats a lot of different solids and spoon feeding is getting more challenging by the day. I try to feed her 4-6 times a day three meals and a couple of snacks. She generally eats 6-10 oz by spoon and finger foods at every feeding. Every baby is different I think parents should just watch for cues and offer age appropriate foods cut/broken into the right size. I try to keep sodium to a minimum and cut up a variety of soft foods. Try a variety of foods they have already eaten and be persistent...my LO favorites are Yo baby yogurt and pears. good luck!!

joak27 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My 6 and half month old really likes the gerber puffs in strawberry flavor. I'm curious about the cheese though. I thought you weren't supposed to give anything with cows milk until 1 year of age? Is cheese okay since it doesn't have much milk or something?

Brennensmommy |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

joak27...I am curious how old your LO is and how much breastmilk or formula she is still drinking and how often. Our LO is 10 months old and likes her solid foods by spoon and finger foods but she still really likes her milk. The overall volume seems too much for her to have both at each feeding. Still trying to figure out what's best...our goal is to have her on a 3 meal, 2 snack per day schedule and getting 16 oz of milk/dairy each day not long after she turns one... I have read that cheese and pasteurized yogurt are ok before a year of age...just to wait until 1 year for cow's milk. Seems like lots of people feed their babies greek yogurt before they are a year old too.

kjc10007 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My little guy eats a little of everything we eat but I always either smash it up or he gits ity bitty pieces bc I'm afraid of him choking.He loves meats and he still eats his baby food too so that's a plus.I give him the Gerber Veggie Dips, they are tiny and are easy for him to chew.They also come in fruit, maple and syrup and other stuff, my advice to beginning moms is that a lot of gerber foods have crawlersitter, wtc on them&use that as a starting guideline.

JLB81287 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My Little guy LOVES Orzo & mac & cheese shells. At first I was citting them up in 2 or 3 peices, but now he can handle one shell at a time & likes to feed himself. I saw a lot of people said avocado--JAS loves those too & tomatos have been a new sensation (just peel off the skin & cut it up in bote size peices) Graham crackers have been a hit, but like other cracker type foods--they can be messy, but he likes it bc his dad will usually share them with him. I also freeze some of the gogurts--you can cut it up for finger food (messy, but they love it) & it helps especially when teething

SalTMal |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My 9.5 month old loves feeding himself! It's wonderful because it gives me a bit of a break to get myself some food. He loves banana that I've broken into smaller pieces, cantaloupe (make sure you cut into small pieces and that it's ripe so that they don't gag), sweet potatoes cooked and cut into small pieces, BBQ beef (brisket), chicken (rotisserie is great), cut up avocado, broccoli steamed and cut up (stalks completely removed, florets only). I give him only fresh, whole food and continue to BF. He loves yogurt. One other thing I've made that has been a hit is my roast. I roast a rump roast for a total of 3 hours which makes the meat very tender and throw in new potatoes, green beans and carrots; all of which are organic veggies. The combo is fun for him to feed himself. He is learning about different textures and flavors that way. With all of the yummy squashes coming up with the fall I think they'll be great finger foods if roasted and cut up correctly. For those of you who are nervous, just try a few things at a time and watch them to make sure they don't choke. If it's something he's not sure of I'll show him show I eat it and make the 'mmmm' sound to indicate that it tastes good, which surprisingly works well. They learn from watching us! Best of luck to all.

ShelboS |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

Advice please... my daughter is going on 12 months and hasn't eaten any finger foods yet. We just tried stage 3 baby food, and she gags on the tiniest chunks, then spits them out. How do we make the adjustment to finger foods? Keep in mind, she just barely has 1 tooth coming in. Any ideas from the new moms out there?

CowboyMick |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

i thought there wasnt supposed to be any dairy until after 1yrs old? our pedi. said no milk or cheese??

ktluu |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

WOW, my little guy gags with anything that isn't basically baby food! He's still nursing and doesn't take a pacifier, so he doesn't even try to put anything in his mouth! I think he doesn't put things in his mouh because his hands never have gone to his mouth for a bottle(he's only had about 10 bottles). He loves all kinds of baby food mixes though. He did have cheese, mashed potatoes, soft carrots, and has tried some roast. All of these were the tiniest pieces possible. He did enjoy it, but the gagging just scares me. I'm not going to rush it. I have been a nanny for 3 years and the children I watch eat just fine and I didn't rush table foods with them!

jtfrank |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

Ktluu: It's not safe for a baby until around six months. From livestrong.com: " It is safe for your baby to have cheese beginning around six months of age. Although he cannot have cow's milk until he is one year old, the culturing process involved in making cheese makes the milk protein safe for your baby to digest. Be sure not to offer your baby cheese made with unpasteurized milk, because it may contain bacteria that can make your baby sick. Cut the cheese into finger-tip-size pieces and supervise your baby eating it in order to prevent choking."

Seafox |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

CowboyMick, I had the same problem with any stage 3. Try real food, my daughter likes it much better. I made her a veggie soup and just cut everything up very small and actually take the skin off the beans too. Good luck!

toadstool1 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My 9 month old prefers finger foods to anything else, and has for about 2 months now. I've had to keep up with her! She's had tofu coated with crushed Cheerios, banana, avocado, mango, mild cheddar cubes, cooked apple chunks, pieces of steak and chicken, ground beef with veggies, baked sweet potato chunks, steamed and roasted veggies ( she loves squash and turnip roasted with cinnamon, and steamed red bell pepper with skin removed), pasta, scrambled egg, blueberry pancakes (loves!!)... She basically eats whatever we do but I'm careful to cook everything without added salt or sugar. Her doctor encouraged it since 7 months, when she started really trying to feed herself. And she only just got her first tooth last week.

robyn423 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

I started my baby on finger foods and only give him mush as a complement for him to spoon up, dip, mash, and paint with. He started right around 6 months and is now only about 6.5 months and is doing a terrific job. He loves broccoli, meat, hummus, apple sauce, and avocados. I don't feed him at all except to maybe put some food on his spoon. He gags sometimes, but quickly moves the food forward, re gums it, or spits it out. He's still mostly breastfed and still young, so I have plenty of time to let him learn how to feed himself! Check out baby led weaning. Honestly it seems the earlier they start with solids, the less likely they are to gag, spit up, and resist solids. Not to mention, it is so much fun to watch such a little guy get on so well with food and a spoon!

kfrog13 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My 1 year old loves Dr. Pragers Veggie Burgers that are sold at Costco. He has ever since he was 10 months!

katiemccollum |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My 8 month old loves dill pickles. I give her a wedge and she will chew on it until it is just the skin left. Canned veggies are great too.

JoleneandJustin |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

my son likes small bits of skinless hot dog, boneless/skinless chicken, cheerios, macaroni, toast, cereal puffs, toddler biscuits, crackers, ect. he evn grabbed half of my hot dog bun before I could grab it, he ate it. also enjoys bits of watermelon strawberrie, and peache, and cantaloupe. My LO is 10 months old.

gooteefamily |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My 9 months old son has been eating table food since he was 6 months, he was eating finger food as small pieces of veggies, meat, fruit but when he started teething from his top teeth he didn't want to smash the pieces anymore so I give everything puree again but he will eat whatever I cook, soups, meats, pasta, rices, been, veggis, fruit... I just make a puree of these with a magic bullet... I love that machine!

Helena5000 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My baby is 9.5 month old and she loves chesse, crackets, steam cook vegetables, yogurth among other, she's now starting to use a fork and her spoon it's a mess everytime she eats but i love that she is trying

paty1780 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

Maybe you should try baby formula brands first.I know when my boy was little I had to be very careful and watch him eat everytime second by second because I didn't want anything bad to happen.

StanF4 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My little guy is about 9.5 months now, and can eat Arrowroot cookies and Baby Mum Mums easily. My husband and I have shared our pizza crusts with him as well (being sure to remove sharp, crispy ends). I'm looking to start introducing more solids, since he's had no problems with what we've given him so far. Mashed potatoes and cooked carrots seems a good place to start.

cagebird |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

I don't think you should give him finger food very soon. When my son was a baby I tried to give him as much yogurt as I could because I heard it's very healthy. I even bought a commercial frozen yogurt machine.

deanjohnson |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

Finger foods are the key! Once our son got the idea he was unstoppable! Also, Kroger stores now carry an "oat ring" like Cheerios but organic and without any wheat Plus they are super cheap and dissolve well. We feed all types of vegetables, unprocessed organic meats, fruits, cheese and yogurt. Pretty much anything organic except corn, soy and wheat (because I have a history of food allergies). Ped's says that after 6 mo there are NO restrictions on foods except honey of course.

vickivail98 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

So my baby has only 2 bottom teeth what finger foods can she eat

Tazgirl2379 |

Q&A: Finger foods for baby?

My DD is 6.5 months old and we did a little oatmeal cereal at 5 months but at 6 months I started giving her different favors of puréed fruits and veggies. A friend gave me some Gerber baby food and I bought some Target brand squeeze pouches. She loves applesauce. She didn't really like Cheerios to begin with so we did Gerber puffs first which she loves and now likes Cheerios. She also gets small pieces of meat that we eat and any veggies we are having with dinner. She tried avacado but not a fan. We just give her some on her high chair table and let her play. Food is for fun right now not nutrition. I always nurse after real food.

abby&doug |