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Feeding > Feeding Your 9 Month Old

Feeding Your 9 Month Old

To be sure your child is getting proper nutrition at nine months of age, consider the following guidelines.

General feeding guidelines

  • Breast milk or formula should be continued until 12 months. 
  • You may feed milk products, such as cheese or yogurt, but milk is not an acceptable drink at this age due to overall low nutrients.
  • Finger foods are often enjoyed at this age. Babies don't need teeth to eat table foods as long as they are broken into small pieces. 
  • Offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, cereal, breads, pasta, lean meat, and formula or breast milk.
  • Many babies have less interest in the bottle or breast as they eat more foods. Introduce a sippy-cup with water or formula/breast milk. You may also give watered-down juice, but remember that it adds empty calories, so do not let your baby fill up on it rather than nutritious foods. We still do not recommend juice unless it is used to treat constipation.
  • Avoid sugary snack foods.
  • Do not give honey before one year because of the risk of botulism.
  • Do not give hard objects (peanuts, popcorn) on which the child may choke. We encourage all parents to take an infant CPR class if they have not in the past 2 years. 
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all primarily breast fed infants continue iron and vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D is not in breast milk. Your skin can make it if exposed to sunlight, but no one knows how much is ideal and the risk of too much sun is great.  To get the appropriate amount of Vitamin D, many brands of infant vitamin drops are available over-the-counter. Learn more about Vitamin D.

Guidelines of food volumes

(varies by size of infant and activity level):
 
  • Breastmilk or formula: 20-24 ounces / 24 hrs
  • Cereals: 4-12 tablespoons with breast milk or cereal / 24 hrs
  • Vegetables: 4-8 tablespoons/day
  • Fruits 4-8 tablespoons/day
  • Meat or meat substitute: 4-8 tablespoons/day
  • Crackers or cereal pieces: 2 servings/day
  • Juice: not recommended routinely, but may give 2-3 ounces/day in a cup (never a bottle!) if constipated

Feeding tips

  • Offer small servings of each food. Children become overwhelmed by large portions of food.
  • Your infant may decide that he does not like certain foods. Never force an infant to eat a food. Keep offering those foods every once in a while. As children get older their tastes change.
  • Offer food at 3 meals and 3 snacks (think of "mini meals"). Children need to eat small, frequent meals. Try to offer meals and snacks at the same time each day.
  • Let your child feed himself with his hands. Toddlers typically start to use a fork and spoon between 15 and 18 months.
  • Offer a cup at every meal. Encourage all fluids from a cup by 12 months of age.
  • Offer soft, well-cooked vegetables or fruit. This will encourage self-feeding.
  • Feed your baby in a high-chair. Try to feed your baby at the same time the rest of the family eats. Children like company.
  • Infants can choke easily and should be watched closely while eating. Never feed infants nuts, popcorn, grapes, chips or peanut butter. If meat sticks are fed, cut into small pieces and closely supervise.
  • If there is a family history of allergies, do not offer those foods.
  • Feed your baby foods from a spoon and liquids from a bottle or cup. Never use an "infant feeder" syringe.
  • There is no need to add sugar or salt to your infant's foods.
  • Meal times will be messy. Have fun! Be patient.
  • Model healthy eating!
  • Do not add cereal to the milk in the bottle, unless recommended by your child's doctor. It does not make babies sleep longer.
  • Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. This may lead to tooth decay. Wipe the teeth down with a cloth or baby toothbrush before bed.
  • Minimize distractions during meal times (turn off the TV).

Adapted from a Children’s Mercy Care Card.

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