Whether Baby starts with finger food the first time she tries solids, or it’s at the end of a long transition from lumpier to lumpier purees she’s been spoon-fed, the transition to finger foods is pretty much always a messy one. And once Baby has made the transition, well, it generally stays pretty messy then, too. Mess can be hard to avoid in Baby’s earliest self-feeding adventures, but there are some foods that just seem to invite it, foods that you’d probably avoid giving to Baby at all for just that reason if they weren’t so gosh-darned nutrient-packed, and so tasty!
They’re called a super-food for a reason. Avocados are packed with the omega-3s and healthy fats that are crucial for helping to grow Baby’s ever-expanding and learning little brain, as well as significant amounts of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6. Unfortunately, they’re also squishy enough to be easy to smear, and slimy enough to be tricky for little fingers to hold onto, and the mess they leave behind turns a nasty brown. Yuck.
Often a family favorite and easy to make in a pinch, spaghetti probably never seemed like a controversial choice for an easy dinner – at least until Baby comes onto the scene. While they generally can pick up the noodles, they’re slippery and difficult, and the sauce only makes it worse. The real problems, though, happen when she starts to succeed, and begins to realize how much power that gives her over the sauce.
It doesn’t matter whether they’re steamed or strained, mashed or roasted. Beets are one of those foods that not only smears but also stains, really dramatic, pinky-purple stains that can get into skin as well as fabric. Beets also happen to be packed with folate, which you probably heard a lot about during pregnancy, but is also crucial after birth for things like cell division, which is one of the most basic components of all of that growing Baby is doing.
Whether they’re blue-, straw-, or ras-, berries are tricky things to feed Baby. They don’t seem like it, but part of the trick is that for older children and adults, they’re relatively neat – before their skin has been pierced, when the juice is all on the inside, they seem like a pretty harmless choice. They still seem that way when they make it into Baby’s mouth, actually – the trouble starts with the berries that don’t make it all the way to Baby’s lips. The berries she loses track of, and drops to the floor are the ones you really want to look out for – and the ones you probably won’t see, right up until you step on them. And, for once, it’s you doing the smearing, though you wouldn’t have gotten there without Baby’s help.