Some baby-led-weaning advocates believe spoonfeeding has no place in a baby’s diet. But a mixed approach of mostly finger foods along with some purees may work better for you and your baby. For the first month or two of self-feeding, your baby will do a lot of licking, tasting, and exploring—but not a lot of actual eating. So purees can help make meals more filling and nutritious. Plus, some children just aren’t ready for finger foods at 6 months. On the practical side, spoon-feeding can also be an easy way to feed your baby on the go. “Purees helped us prevent so many messes in restaurants!” Stasenko recalls. Keep in mind that if you choose to also spoon-feed, you’re not breaking any rules.

Basically, there’s really no wrong way to introduce foods, but here are my 10 favorite starter finger foods to give you a little inspiration to get started in your kitchen.

Avocado (ripe, peeled and slivered)
Sweet potato (baked or roasted and peeled)
Banana (ripe, soft)
Cantaloupe (ripe, soft)
Cauliflower (soft/roasted/baked)
Cucumber strips (cold stripes are great for teething)
Brown rice cakes (look for no added salt variety)
Mini meat loaves (bake in muffin tin for individual servings)
Whole wheat pasta (penne and fusili work best)
Chicken legs (bake or roast, serve skinless)

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