9 months old
New Introductions and Feeding Schedule
You’ve been making your way from rice cereal to vegetables to possibly meats, but there are still certain foods that your little one has yet to experience. While your baby might have more new foods to try from the last batch of green-lighted introductions, we have even more foods that your 9-month-old baby is now developmentally ready to try:
- Whole milk yogurt (although whole milk won’t come until after the one-year mark)
- Hard cheeses like cheddar, Muenster and Swiss (no soft cheeses like fresh mozzarella, brie, feta, etc.)
- Beans and legumes
As you continue to introduce new foods (one at a time, four days in between new introductions), it might be confusing as to how much breast milk or formula vs. solid foods your baby should eat:
- Between 9 and 12 months, your baby should breastfeed every 3 to 5 hours or drink 24-31 ounces of formula.
- Solid food is an addition to, not a replacement of breast milk or formula. If you want to keep up your milk supply, make sure you’re not skipping nursing sessions – instead, offer solids after you breastfeed.
- Breast milk and formula will still be the most important source of nutrition until your baby’s first birthday.
- Still, you can start getting your little one into the habit of eating three meals a day. Every baby will eat a different amount of food; don’t panic if you think your little one isn’t eating enough.
- For instance, your 9-month-old baby might eat:
- 1/4 cup of oatmeal cereal and some banana chunks for breakfast, along with breast milk or formula
- 1/4 cup of rice cereal with chicken and avocado for lunch, along with breast milk or formula
- Chicken and barley with sweet potatoes and pears for dinner, along with breast milk or formula
The next milestone: Self-feeding
One of your baby’s first expressions of independence will be when he or she reaches for the spoon or attempts to grab a hunk of avocado off the plate. It will be messy, without a doubt, but it’s a significant moment in the feeding process.
- The more you focus on finger foods and self-feeding, following your baby’s lead and interests, the earlier you’re beginning to teach her to follow her own hunger cues.
- Start to shift from the spoon-only mentality and try putting a few chunks of soft banana or a small scoop of sweet potato on your baby’s plate.
- You can’t completely relinquish control and expect your baby to automatically start eating solo. While your baby might be eager and excited to practice, there will be more on your baby’s face (and clothes and highchair) than in his or her tummy.
- The best way to approach this is to give your baby an extra spoon to use while you continue to do the feeding.
- If your baby really insists on being the only one yielding a spoon, don’t fight it. First try giving your baby some finger foods as a distraction, considering he or she will still love practicing those feeding skills. If that doesn’t work, simply spread out a mat or some towels on the floor and expect a mess. The good news is that your baby’s determination will quickly make a proficient self-feeder.
- At this point it’s a really good idea to start eating with your baby (we’re not talking a formal meal here). Let her see you eating, tasting, and enjoying the same foods she’s eating.
- Don’t panic if your baby shows no interest in self-feeding. This is still a new experience, and every baby develops at his or her own rate. It will happen eventually; don’t push it.
- As with every feeding development, it’s best to keep the experience happy and positive (even if it is indescribably messy) than to instill a negative association with food.
Not only do you have to balance three meals along with breast- or bottle-feeding, but your baby can also benefit from a couple of healthy snacks a day:
- Eventually healthy snacks will become a nutritional necessity, as babies won’t have the abundance of breast milk or formula to round out their nutritional requirements. Your baby can benefit from the practice now.
- Somewhere in between meal times (not too close), snack time is another chance for your baby to practice self-feeding finger foods. A few hunks of banana and a couple of crackers will keep your little one happy.
- Snacks are also a nice way to break up their eat-sleep-play routine.
- Cold snacks (like apple slivers, yogurt and pear chunks) can be a nice relief during teething.
- At the same time, don’t offer snacks as a way to pacify or reward your baby. Treat it as a learning process, just as you do mealtime.
- Also make sure that your baby always eats snacks secure in his or highchair. Not only does this help to establish healthy eating habits, it’s also the safest for your baby.