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When do you stop purees?

As a parent, knowing when to stop purees and transition your baby to solid finger foods can be confusing. There is no definitive age when all babies should stop purees, as every child develops at their own pace. However, there are some general guidelines to follow to help determine when your baby may be ready to move on from smooth purees to solid finger foods.

Signs your baby is ready for finger foods

Here are some signs that your baby may be ready to start eating more solid finger foods and decreasing purees:

  • Your baby can sit up unsupported in a high chair or infant seat.
  • Your baby has good head and neck control and does not thrust their head forward when eating.
  • Your baby is interested in self-feeding and tries to grab food off your plate or spoon.
  • Your baby can move soft or dissolvable finger foods from hand to mouth.
  • Your baby chews and moves solid food around in their mouth rather than just swallowing it.
  • Your baby is 6 months or older.

Around 6 months is when many babies start showing signs they are ready for finger foods. However, every baby is different. Some may be ready a little sooner or later than 6 months. Paying attention to your baby’s signs of readiness is key.

How to transition from purees to finger foods

When your baby seems ready, you can start slowly transitioning from purees to more solid finger foods. Here are some tips for making the change:

  • Start by offering very soft cooked finger foods like steamed vegetable pieces, soft ripe fruits like banana, or toast strips.
  • Make the pieces large enough for your baby to grab, but small enough to avoid choking. A good size is 1-2 inches long and about the size of your baby’s pinky finger width.
  • Only give one or two new finger foods at a time, starting with just a few pieces per meal. Wait 3-5 days before introducing another new food to watch for allergies.
  • Offer the new finger foods at the beginning of the meal when your baby is most hungry.
  • Continue offering purees as well during the transition. Try combining purees with soft finger foods.
  • As your baby masters soft finger foods, gradually introduce slightly harder foods and bigger pieces.
  • Supervise your baby closely once finger foods are introduced to prevent choking.

Finger food ideas for babies

Here are some healthy finger food ideas to try when your baby is ready:

  • Soft cooked vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans, parsnips
  • Soft ripe fruits like banana, pear, peach, melon
  • Toast strips or baby cereal puffs
  • Tofu cubes
  • Soft cooked pasta pieces or couscous
  • Shredded chicken
  • Cheese cubes
  • Hard boiled egg slices
  • Crackers or teething biscuits

Make sure any finger foods you offer are soft, easy to dissolve, and cut into appropriate sizes. Avoid hard, raw fruits and vegetables or any foods that present a choking hazard like grapes, popcorn, nuts, etc.

How long should you continue purees when starting finger foods?

There is no set age for completely stopping purees. Every baby is different. Here are some general guidelines on continuing purees as you add in finger foods:

  • 6-9 months – Offer both purees and finger foods, with finger foods becoming a bigger part of the diet over time.
  • 9-12 months – Most babies are eating primarily finger foods with 1-2 purees per day.
  • 12 months – Many babies have fully transitioned to finger foods around their first birthday, but some may still eat or prefer purees. This is fine!

The key is responding to your individual baby’s development and signals. If your baby seems to be tolerating and enjoying finger foods around 6 months, you can start phasing out some puree feedings or offer purees just once a day. Watch your baby’s cues to see if they are ready to drop purees. Some babies may continue enjoying purees until closer to 12 months.

Tips for stopping purees

Follow these tips to smoothly phase out purees:

  • Gradually thicken purees over time by mashing or chopping to a more textured consistency.
  • Mix together purees with soft finger foods.
  • Offer purees after finger foods or for just one feeding a day.
  • Replace one puree meal a week with finger foods until just 1-2 puree feedings remain.
  • Offer a sippy cup with water with finger foods instead of a bottle.
  • Focus on following your baby’s signs they are ready and enjoying finger foods.

Potential concerns when stopping purees

Some common concerns that may come up when stopping purees include:

  • Nutrition: Babies need less pureed food and more solid foods as they get older to meet their nutritional needs. As long as you offer a wide variety of healthy finger foods, your baby should get all the nutrition they need from solid foods by 12 months.
  • Growth: Your baby’s growth may slow down as they transition to solids. This is normal as long as they continue to gain weight appropriately and follow their growth curve.
  • Choking: Choking is a risk once babies start solid foods. Make sure any finger foods are soft and the appropriate size. Watch your baby closely, but know gagging is normal as babies learn to handle new textures.
  • Messiness: Things will get messy as your baby learns to self-feed. Use bibs and washable mats, and be patient. This is an important learning process.
  • Eating enough: Babies are still learning to eat enough at each meal. Offer finger foods at the start of meals when your baby is most hungry to ensure they get calories in.

Making your own finger food purees

You can make your own finger food purees as a transitional option by:

  • Lightly steaming fruits and vegetables until soft.
  • Leaving some texture by roughly mashing with a fork.
  • Shaping into thin sticks or cubes your baby can pick up.

Some easy homemade finger food puree ideas include:

  • Mashed banana sticks
  • Fork mashed avocado cubes
  • Lightly mashed sweet potato sticks
  • Roughly mashed peeled pear chunks


Transitioning from purees to finger foods is a gradual process that varies for each baby. Watch your baby for signs of readiness between 6-9 months and then slowly start introducing soft finger foods one at a time while continuing some purees. Over months, steadily increase finger foods while phasing out purees based on your baby’s cues. Offer a variety of healthy finger food options and supervise feedings carefully. With patience and paying attention to your baby’s development, you’ll find stopping purees can be an exciting milestone!