Can you imagine eating food without any teeth? Just with your gums alone? I surely find it hard to picture, but we were once like our little ones. Toothless, like a 100 year old grandma. Luckily, there are first foods for babies with no teeth. And I found 125 of them for you to read about.
PIN IT FOR LATER
The original article was written back in 2018. This is a 2021 updated version.
Since then, I have re-written and updated this post to reflect the changes I have gone through when it came to my own beliefs/thoughts and how I word things when talking about feeding kids. As such, the remains of the original article can be seen in the comments section. Word of caution, it’s not something that makes too much sense anymore and some parts I am not very proud of. I even considered deleting the comments altogether, but that doesn’t seem just right either. Either way, I hope this article helps you, even a bit.
Yes, the Pinterest pins show blueberries and they are a choking hazard, but do read the entire post. I have tried to give suggestions for each type of food so as to make them safe even for little ones.
If I missed anything, give me a shout.
But how can babies even chew without teeth?
Well, the truth is, they don’t need teeth to chew.
Chewing involves movements of the jaw, tongue and cheek. Teeth are used later on to break up more complex fibres.
This is technically done with the teeth that are more at the back of the mouth, called molars. The first molars show up somewhere between 13 and 19 months old, as you can see from the graph below.
So if we were to wait that long before we gave our little ones any food that can be easily munched on with the gums, then we would seriously endanger his or her capabilities of dealing with food (not to mention the fact that after around 8 months, the gag reflex moves further down the tongue and babies might experience a higher risk of choking if they are not accustomed to table foods yet).
Furthermore, babies are already experienced in munching away, because they would have spent a lot of time already with their fingers in their mouth, biting toys and other objects.
So encourage them to explore these with their lips, tongue and jaw, at the same time being careful of any pieces that might come off and increase the risk of choking.
So, assuming little one doesn’t have any teeth yet, what can I give him?
See the list below.
But before anything else, make sure baby meets the three signs he or she is ready to begin in the first place. I cannot stress this enough, guys, and it will save you lots of trouble down the road.
There was a time when the recommendations said to start solids at 4 months+ and I’m not sure that all the baby food manufacturers have come up-to-date with the current official advice regarding infant feeding. Always watch the signs in your baby and judge whether he or she is ready. This usually happens at around 6 months, give or take.
Here you go, some ideas of first foods for babies with no teeth. I also added some notes and suggestions of serving for some of them. This is regardless of the method you use, baby led weaning or traditional. At some point, you’ll have to start giving them table foods.
And because I’m a fan of food groups, I have split them accordingly, for easier reference.
Note: please be aware of choking hazards. I find this article sums up pretty well what are the foods you need to pay extra attention to. As your little one develops his ability to chew, you need to be careful, teeth or no teeth.
Fruits and veggies
As a general rule, go for the ripest you can get, in the beginning, as these are usually softer for babies just starting out.
- Avocado. Serve as is, sliced into wedges, or served on toast, mashed, with an egg on top. You can also try a guacamole recipe, which is basically adding some tomato, red onion, a bit of pepper and some lemon juice to a mashed avocado. For an easier grip, you can toss it through some breadcrumbs or ground nuts.
- Banana. Serve as is, sliced or mashed. Here is a tip on how to offer it if baby is at the beginning, doing baby led weaning and has tiny hands. Also, here’s my recipe of baby’s chocolate you can make with banana and avocado.
- Apricot. Pick a softer variety, the riper, the better. Cut into wedges or mash.
- Tomato. Try serving them as such or on top of a pizza toast (just a slice of toast, with some mozzarella and tomatoes and baked for 10 minutes in the oven). My youngest sometimes enjoys it cut wedge-style.
- Peach. Extra ripe are usually softer.
- Mango. Go for the ripe ones.
- Strawberry. Remove the hull (the leafy and usually white part on top) before giving it to baby. Halved would be best. The bigger ones even cut into 4 pieces.
- Watermelon. Melts in the mouth. Remove the seeds and only give the red parts to baby.
- Pear. Peel it and if it’s too hard, you can bake it in the oven for a while, with cinnamon on top.
- Apple. Peel and cook it in the oven, like the pear, or shred it on a grater (I used to do this in the beginning when Emma was small; the finer side of the grater also turns the apple into applesauce).
- Honeydew melon.
- Carrot. Steam, boil or bake in the oven to make it soft. Don’t offer raw to babies just starting out.
- Cauliflower. Steam, boil or bake in the oven with some seasoning on top.
- Broccoli. Here are 10 basic techniques for cooking broccoli from scratch, explained in-depth. Plus, you’re getting a free cheatsheet with the 3 ingredients that make broccoli taste good.
- Potato. Boil, bake or even steam until very soft.
- Sweet potato. Cook in the same way as a normal potato.
- Pumpkin. Bake in the oven until soft.
- Zucchini. Baked or boiled until it’s soft. Also grated works really well, incorporated in baked batters.
- Beetroot. Steam or boil. Be careful, though, as it contains a high amount of nitrates and it is not ok for baby to have in big quantities or too often. If you offer a varied menu, it shouldn’t be a problem.
- Grape. Cut them in quarters lengthways. Use this if you’re short on time.
- Satsumas or easy peelers. Cut in half for safety.
- Raisins. If you leave them to hydrate in water for 1 hour or so they should give up their sweetness. They are a choking hazard as per the link I shared above, so pay extra attention. Better incorporate them in baked foods.
- Blueberry. Smash/squish them for safety or cut them in half.
- Blackberry. I would halve these in the beginning, as there are some quite big.
- Cucumber. I would only offer the middle part in the beginning, as it’s softer and easier to manage for babies just starting out.
- Peas. Great for improving that pincer grasp.
- Baked beans. Great source of iron.
- Dried apricots. Great source of iron, like any dried fruit, really. A bit on the sweet side, so be mindful of that.
- Cherries. Cut in half or quarters.
- Sour cherries. Serve the same as cherries.
- Orange. Cut the pieces in half or more.
- Olives. Beware of how salty they are. If left in water, they will lose their saltiness.
- Dried cranberries. Same as raisins, so better incorporate them in a batter/dough.
- Parsnips. Boil, steam or bake in the oven with some seasoning on top. You can remove the center which is usually harder.
- Butternut squash. Bake or steam.
- Bell pepper. Bake or boil.
- Green beans. Boil or steam.
- Chickpeas. Best boiled or turned into hummus or falafel.
- Onion. Boiled or baked.
- Turnips. Boiled until soft. You can make a veggie broth by boiling most of the hard veggies.
- Cabbage. Boiled or baked.
- Mushrooms. Make a sauce for pasta or bake them in the oven.
- Lentils. Turn them into soup or stews.
- Eggplant. Baked in the oven is your best bet.
- Asparagus. Can be a bit hard, but baby can munch away if properly cooked, like in the oven or steamed.
- Edamame. Never cooked them, but I guess either boiled or steamed.
- Kaki fruit.
- Lychee. Just make sure to peel the outer shell.
- Grapefruit. Cut each slice in three smaller pieces or more, depending on size.
- Pomelo. Cut each slice in multiple pieces.
- Lemon. My youngest loves his lemons cut into wedges and he just sucks at the pulp.
- Passion fruit
- Yam. It’s a root vegetable and can be cooked in a similar way to a sweet potato.
- Brussel sprouts. Boiled, steamed or baked with seasoning.
- Nectarine. Go for riper ones and cut into wedges.
- Ugli fruit.
- Plantains. They look like bananas, but you have to cook them. They come from Jamaica, I believe.
- 14 smash cake ideas – healthy, no sugar
- Blueberry galette (a recipe great for blw)
- 33 tips to easily end picky eating for good
- 5 alternatives to baby cereal that won’t break the bank + 1 tip
- Why you should not feed your baby smoothies, overnight oats, maple syrup and other foods
- Bread and butter pudding (baby friendly, also great for babies with no teeth)
- Salmon. I usually bake it in the oven, wrapped loosely in baking paper or foil, for around 20 minutes.
- Cod. Cook the same way as salmon.
- Mince meat. You can cook some meatballs.
- Steak. Serve in shredded strips, like the chicken.
- Chicken. Serve in shredded strips for babies to suck on and munch away later on.
- Tuna. I am guilty of buying cans of it, but if you can bake it from scratch, that’s even better. Squeeze a bit of lemon to give it some flavour.
- Crab. If your little one is not allergic to seafood, you can give it a go.
- Prawns/shrimp. Great finger food.
- Homemade sausages.
- Bread. To prevent it from sticking to the roof of the mouth, toast it. Or make some french toast.
- Rice. Great in rice puddings.
- Porridge fingers
- Millet. Boiled in milk or turned into a pudding (see my recipe here)
- Quinoa. Boiled and eaten as a side or added to porridge, for example.
- Amaranth. Same as quinoa.
- Buckwheat. Same as the above.
- Semolina pudding.
- Pasta. Macaroni, penne, fussili or bowtie shapes work well for beginners.
- Homemade pizza
- Naan bread
- Pitta bread
- Rice cakes. Go for the lowest salt option.
- Shreddies. Simple, no flavor, no added salt or sugar, just 100% wholegrain. Serve in milk.
- Chapatti fingers (an Indian flat bread)
Eggs (in the UK, those that have a lion stamped on the shell are salmonella-free, therefore the yolk can be left runny when cooked – otherwise please cook the yolk completely)
- Boiled eggs
- Poached eggs (only in the UK)
- Fried eggs (just don’t use oil and fry in a non-stick pan)
- Scrambled eggs
- My baked omlette
- Cheddar cheese. Just watch out for salt and the amount present. Grated is best at the beginning.
- Mozarella. Choose the lowest salt option.
- Sana. It’s an Eastern European type of dairy, similar to yogurt, but slightly drinkable.
- Kefir. Similar to sana. You can find them in the European section in the supermarket.
- Curd cheese. I have a recipe for it here. It’s a no-salt version of cheese, perfect for babies.
- Cottage cheese. Just make sure the salt levels are okay.
- Tofu. Just watch out for the salt content.
- Homemade muffins (try this carrot muffins recipe)
- Homemade pinwheels
- Homemade banana bread
- Homemade biscuits (easiest recipe: 100 g flour, 100 g butter and 100 g of homemade curd cheese or ricotta cheese; everything mixed and baked in the oven)
- Waffles. Here’s a basic recipe to follow, which is infinitely customizable. A bit of waffle theory never hurt.
- Fritters. I have a recipe here, very adaptable to what you have in your pantry.
- Homemade nuggets
- Any homemade cake-like consistency, as long as there is no sugar, maple syrup, honey (if baby is under 1 year old), whole nuts, etc.like this baked oatmeal cake.
- Homemade popsicles or anything that’s made out of fruit and yogurt and frozen.
- Peanut butter. It is best to spread it on toast or on slices of banana. Just make sure it’s 100% nuts.
- Almond butter. Same as peanut butter.
- My apple pudding
126. 2 ingredient cookies. The easiest snack ever. Pair it with some dairy and you’re good to go.
127. 3 ingredient pancakes. The fluffiest and easiest pancake recipe out there. Make sure to read my notes on timing and flipping and why those are the key elements for the fluffiness.
128. Spiced biscuits. I think these are great for when little ones are teething.
129. Easy scones. With only 3 ingredients at the base, these are soft and fluffy. Don’t overmix the batter though.
130. A kid friendly brownie with a secret nutritious ingredient.
You are probably thinking: is there anything she hasn’t mentioned?
In fact, I haven’t mentioned the leafy vegetables, like spinach, lettuce, salad etc because babies might have a hard time tearing them apart so as not to stick to the roof of their mouths.
I also didn’t mention pomegranate, because of its high choking risk.
What comes next?
Knowing what to feed your kids might be a little easier now that you have this list, but actually getting them to eat or at least try any food is another story entirely.
This is why I have put together a 7-part blog series about how to get your little one to eat any food. It is based on more than 3 years of feeding little tummies, observing and taking mental notes about everything I did and everything they did at mealtimes.
I think you’ll find it useful and worth reading. You can save it on Pinterest for later reading or share with someone you know.
45 thoughts on “125 first foods for babies with no teeth”
I found your list to be helpful and insightful – and I have actually already fed my 7 month old many of the items from the list (across all categories of fruit,veg, meat etc). However, I find your comment about feeding your baby “crap” in the form of ready made snacks to be offensive and judgmental. If you truly want to help parents to be better equipped to feed and try new foods, you might want to consider more positive language and less judgement to be more impactful.
Hello, Louise. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Good to know it helped you. 🙂
It was not my intention to be judgemental or offensive. The parents who feed the little ones those kinds of foods have made a choice I do not agree with and stand by my belief quite strongly. It’s a shame really that they give them such a bad start with solids and laying the ground for unhealthy habits early on. I am aware that they cannot be kept away from such kind of stuff for all their lives, but as long as I can influence what goes in their tummies, I will.
I do not know how can they read the label and be happy about it. This happens once, twice, and before you know it, it’s a habit. We need to make time to consider the choices when it comes to food. If not for our little ones’ best interest, then for who else?
I will remove that particular paragraph, but my opinion remains the same.
Some people don’t know these things. Its not something they have learned to be conscious of. But wording things differently would make others not take offense
Hi Laurie, I have learned my wording lessons and quite a few others too since then. This blog post has yet to be updated, I’m afraid.
Thanks for leaving a comment.
Well said! Too much stuff that isn’t good for the babes. I have a 5 month old and I will not be giving her anything that is processed. I love that you stand firm in your beliefs.
WOW, thank you so much for this list!! 🙂
Yeah smoothies got a bad rap with those smoothie places. All that fruit in one go! At least the fiber is still there but whew! Smoothies don’t have to be loaded with sugar and ideally should contain minimal amount of fruit. Love Kelly LeVeque’s recipes and info on them! Can honestly be life changing tool as far as your health/diet goes if done right! 🙂
Hi Lauren! I am still undecided about smoothies… it does seem like a lot of fruit in one go, fiber or no fiber. Will check her out, thanks for the suggestion!
This was so helpful! Sometimes you can get caught up in what they can’t eat when in reality there are so many healthy things that they can go for!
Thanks for sharing! I love the idea of shredding certain foods! What a great way to make it accessible!
Hi Jo, what credentials do you have to be proclaiming your nutritional opinions? How was this knowledge obtained? How can you seriously consider yourself as an individual entitled to instructing others on best practices with no actual credentials to support your broad claims.
No credentials, I’m just one step ahead on the same journey.
True! Personal experience must be spread.
The #1 comment we got when we did baby-led weaning was “how many teeth does she have?” Ha! She didn’t get her first tooth until 11 months! This is a great list!
Yeah, back in the days of our grandparents teeth were a major factor when starting on finger foods and chewing capabilities. Thanks for dropping by, Amy!
I’m a little worried I’ve messed up with introducing table food. I’ve pureed my babies food for too long. She is now 9 months old with no teeth (part of the reason I made this mistake) and now tolerating mashed foods but I’m scared to give her any crunchy or things like bread for fear of choking. I’ve become concerned about her gag reflex. If I give her a thing like cheerios at this point she should be fine right? Worried Mommy.
My advice would be to slowly increase the texture or to serve finger foods alongside the mashed ones. At this 8-9 month old mark their gag reflex will start moving towards the end of the tongue so the window of opportunity for introducing table foods will get narrower after this. She needs to get used to the chewing motion. You can start with softer foods if you’re afraid of chocking, so maybe cheerios are not a good idea from the start. You can also watch some first aid videos to put your mind at ease and to know what to do just in case.
You can start with banana, avocado, steamed veg, boiled chicken or egg… just to get things going.
Best of luck!
This list as been greatly helpful! Im always dumbfounded now on what to give my now almost 9 month old. The only one I find debatable is the steak (thankful for putting how to shred it though) until he atleast his one set of teeth in. Everything is is a life saver!
Hi, don’t forget to include removing the pit on the lychee
Thanks, Angela. 🙂
Thank you for this list, but what is a height? I can’t seem to google it.
It’s more like a sour cherry. 🙂
Who are you to “shake your head in disgust” at 4+ baby food labels ? Because you are so all knowing? The American Academy of Pediatrics states babies can have solids as early as 4 months if they meet the criteria. My pediatrician also asked me to start solids at 4 months.
You are quite arrogant to comment you “are one step ahead” of other mothers. Shame on you for thinking you are all knowing in this matter. You need a reality check.
You have no professional credentials or education to be composing this article. Just because you are a mom doesn’t make you an expert. There are countless mothers who think their way is the only right way. This is shaming to other moms.
Your not a nutritionist or a pediatrician or a nurse practitioner and hold no background to be posting this. You have no cited evidence based practices to back up anything you’ve said.
Thanks for dropping by.
Please check your facts before commenting, thank you.
You have a direct link to the AAP website below if you want to read more on the subject.
Just here to say I am thankful for this list and I’m sorry you got some backlash. The AAP clearly states not to start solids before 6 months and if someone’s pediatrician advises them to start solids at 4 months then I’d be finding a new dr because they aren’t following AAP guidelines which is what they’re supposed to be following. And I agree about certain foods being crap. I’m not sure how that’s offensive. I have a culinary degree and had to take a course in nutrition and this list and advice is pretty great to me!
Thanks, Marie, for your words! Glad you found it useful 🙂
Another good one is lentils! My daughter loooooves boiled lentils mushed up so the skin is soft and broken up.
Yes to lentils! Lots of protein there too! Thanks for pointing it out! 🙂
Hello thank you so much I found the article extremely helpful I have a grandson that I want to make a smash cake for his first birthday this weekend his two little lower incisors have not cut through just yet so we have no teeth He is a good Gummer he does eat some of the things on your list but I’m not sure about a cake any suggestions on a smash cake I can make him thank you again for all your help
Hi Cindy, sorry for the late reply. There is a smash cake round up post on the blog, in case you need inspiration for future cakes 🙂
Thank you for the list. Can’t believe all the negative comments. No one is holding a gun to your head if you don’t agree with a something on the list then don’t feed it to your kid, why take the time out of your day to write something negative? Move on.
Thanks for your comment, Sara! Hope the list was useful to you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write and share this list. I am a mom of 3 young kids and found this to be very helpful for my youngest who is almost 8 months old. Keep sharing and helping moms like me who will take alllllll the help we can get.
Thank you, Preslee.
Completely on the same page about not feeding my baby processed foods. Not giving anything out of a box for as long as I can!!!
Hi! Love the list! Have questions though lol, so my son is 9 months and has been doing great with purees for 3 months now but I have been so hesitant to try anything that isn’t pureed or mashed up because he hadn’t had any teeth until one finally popped through last week. I had no idea that introducing solids later would cause more choking issues, and I am extremely worried about choking. What would you recommend be his first finger food? I currently have bananas, apples, and sweet potatoes that I was planning to puree for him this week. Would these be safe things for him to try to feed himself for the first time?
Hi Emily, I’m seeing this just now so not sure how relevant this reply would be. I’d say first finger foods should be soft enough for you to squash between your thumb and index finger. That way you get some piece of mind that baby’s gums can smash the food properly. So I wouldn’t give him raw hard fruits or veg to begin with. Steamed, boiled, soft foods are best. Hope this helps.
This is a great list. My little one always like smashed up banana. It’s amazing what they can eat with no teeth to be fair!