Fearing the Finger Food

HaiHai baby rice crackers

Starting solids was a milestone met with some reluctance, and I have to admit that I am facing the prospect of giving Baby Champuru finger foods with even more trepidation.  At least with rice cereal, we started out with a mixture that was so watery that it could hardly be called “solid.”  Finger foods are definitely a choking hazard, no matter how you look at it.

On the other hand, it disturbs me that I am hindering Baby Champuru’s self-feeding progress because of my waffling over what type of teething biscuit to give her.  The whole issue of teething biscuits have left me in a quandary.  At Long’s, I couldn’t find anything on the shelves called “teething biscuits,” so I left the store and went back home to Google it.  I found that Gerber makes some products called “biter biscuits,” but apparently, my neighborhood Long’s Drugs stores didn’t carry it.  At Down to Earth, a local health food store, they carried products called organic “teething biscuits” but it plainly indicated on the front of the box that it was designed for infants 10 months and older.  Perplexed, I turned to the Hawaii MomsLikeMe website and asked for their opinions.

One of the moms suggested Japanese rice crackers for babies, available at Shirokiya.  They’re supposed to be similar to the Baby Mum-Mums (that many moms raved about), but they’re not made in China. Sorry, but I can’t bear the thought of Baby Champuru eating something made in a country that sickened their own babies with melamine in infant formula and regularly requires recalls of products that contain lead in the paint used on children’s toys.

So, I literally drove all the way to Shirokiya just to buy this package of $3.80 rice crackers. Of course, I found other things to buy along way: bento for hubby, musubi for me, Tim-Tams, and some Ba-Le pickeled daikon/carrots for my sandwiches.  The rice crackers come in two varieties: one for babies 5+ months of age and the other for 7+ months.  The major difference is that the 5+ month rice crackers are baked, while the one for older infants is fried.  Also, the fried variety contains more ingredients, including different types of vegetable pureés that I haven’t yet introduced to baby’s diet – so I opted for the plain baked variety.

Studying the rice cracker

At first, Baby Champuru didn’t know what to make of the rice crackers.  She studied it for a while, then started cracking them with her hands.  The crackers are very brittle and easily break into pieces.

Breaking the rice cracker

Eventually, she realized that they are made for eating and she started tentatively biting the pieces.  At first it was okay, since the pieces (like the one you see in the photo below) were quite large, so she couldn’t fit the entire piece in her mouth.  But she started biting off pieces and breaking pieces in her hands and shoving them in her mouth.  Even though it dissolves quickly, it still made me nervous.

Eating the rice cracker

Then, she started choking a little.  Nothing major, but I did a finger sweep to get the piece out of her mouth.  As I tried to re-check her mouth for other pieces, she got upset at me and started trying to bite my hand!  “Hands off my food, mom!”

Finger foods still scare the heck out of me.  As for Baby Champuru, she seems to enjoy it — except when her mom sticks her finger down her throat.  Can’t we just wait until she has a full set of chompers before she gets anything resembling real food?

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7 Responses to Fearing the Finger Food

  1. Michelle says:

    I had a similar fear of finger foods! TLE started eating finger foods around 8 ~ 9 months too, right around the time she started getting teeth. It is scary but rest assured that as long as you find the right foods for baby she will be safe, especially with their guardian angel Mama watching over her 🙂

    For TLE we started her off on Gerbers Puff and moved onto Mum Mums. Eventually, she began eating Cheerios which scared the bejeezus out of me because they were so “hard” in comparison to rice crackers.

  2. Lisa says:

    You’re right to be afraid of the teething biscuits. I’ve had more than one friend tell a scary choking story over those! The rice crackers are great, but do stay away from the “solid” teething biscuits.

    I have to say that I liked the Gerber puffs at least as much as my kids, LOL! The sweet potato ones are tastier than potato chips IMO 😀

    One of my favorite finger foods, though, was Kamut puffs. We started those at about 10 months. They’re basically just puffed wheat, but with so much more protein. We got big bags at DTE (cereal aisle, on the bottom) very inexpensively- I think the same price for a can or two of Gerber puffs, and no sugars, food coloring, or any other additives. Like the Gerber puffs, they dissolve very quickly. C ate those for breakfast for months and loved them. They’re really good for practicing the pincer grasp too.

    Baby C had just turned 8 months when he started solids (excepting avocado, banana, and poi), by his own choice. He crawled over to T’s little table, pulled himself up, and grabbed a huge handful of (organic) vegetarian lasagna. It was gone in seconds- before I could even cross the room! I was dizzy at all the things he’d just eaten that we hadn’t introduced yet- tomatoes, wheat, dairy, spinach, etc.

    The next week big brother helpfully shared a peanut butter cracker, again when my back was turned. No choking and no allergies, thank goodness!

  3. CK says:

    that same package of baby crackers is on sale at marukai (sale ends today, though), just happened to look at the flyer. $2.79!

    you’d think i work for marukai, huh?

  4. Claire says:

    Rice krispies were also good as a starter food. Just start with a small amount to avoid a big mess. Two of the moms in my mommies group also gave their little ones cous cous. I never tried that, but their kids seemed to enjoy it!

    I did not give my sons the Mums Mums either for the same reason as you–made in China. Wish I had known where to get the Japanese rice cracker back when they were that age!

  5. Pingback: champuru.net » 9 months old

  6. Dear champuru,
    I am an occupational therapist and writing a book about hand development. I am seeking out pictures to use that show specific hand use. I would like to use the picture of your baby grasping the banana showing how she positions her hands to grasp it. Please email me if you are interested in contributing to this project and I will describe a few other photos that I need. Please visit my web site at: http://www.barbaraSmithOccupationalTherapist.com to learn about my work and visit the publisher at http://www.Theraproducts.com

  7. June says:

    Hi, I enjoyed your post! My mom is Japanese and I actually found these at a Korean store when I was living in North Carolina. I want to buy them now for my 9-month old but am having trouble finding it. What is the brand? I can see that the name is Hai Hai or if it is written in Japanese, could you post a better pic of the whole front? Thanks!

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