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9 Months Old Baby Diet, Foods And Nutrition

A 9-month baby has already reached many milestones. At this age, they attempt to stand up or even walk by holding on to some furniture or someone’s hands. They also start making sounds. Some even speak proper words like ‘mama’ or ‘dada’. Mental and physical growth go hand in hand, and for this it is important that babies have a varied diet with plenty of nutrition.

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Other than breast milk or formula, babies of this age need a variety of textures, flavors and tastes in their diet. This is the time to introduce new foods in baby’s diet chart. Babies start to stand and some even walk with support at 9 months. Proper diet and nutrition is imperative in order for them to continue with their growth and development. Both physical and mental development depends largely on the nutrition they receive. Therefore a nutritious diet for a 9 month baby is highly important.

Breast milk will continue to remain a part of the 9 month old baby diet. You can also incorporate about 4 tablespoons of veggies, fruits and cereal twice daily. Protein foods such as yogurt, meats, cheese and egg yolks can also be included in your 9 month old baby diet plan. Remember that the meats must be cooked well and must be ground or strained. Some mothers use pre-packed containers of baby food which are commercially available. An important point to keep in mind here is that containers which contain meat and vegetables are likely to contain less meat, protein and iron than containers that contain only meat. A couple of tablespoons of this may be fed to the baby daily. You can then slowly increase the quantity. It is possible that your baby may not like eating plain meat and in such cases you can add some vegetables to it. At this stage, you can also start introducing soft finger foods to the child. Solid foods provide much of the nutrition for a 9 month old baby. These include bite sized pieces of fruit, vegetables and pastas. However you need to be around the child when you give him these foods in case he has difficult in swallowing. Gradually the 9 month old baby food schedule will become very similar to the regular family schedule with three meals a day along with a couple of snacks. Around the age of 9 months, babies usually give up their night feedings. If this has not occurred, you can start reducing each feeding every night until it stops completely. There are many pre-packaged finger foods available for babies today. But it is better to restrict your child’s consumption of these as they tend to contain too much sugar and preservatives. An easy way to make your own finger foods is to use a steamer. You can prepare vegetables, fruits and pastas in this and it only takes a few minutes. To soften the food further, you can run it through a food processor. Once your baby adapts to these foods, the 9 month old baby food menu can expand further. For example, you can prepare a meal of pasta, broccoli and beans for the entire family and run the baby’s portion of food in a food processor. The same thing can be done with meals like chicken or lasagna. Whatever you serve the baby has to be extremely soft and easy for him to eat. As he approaches his first birthday, you can introduce foods with different textures. But keep in mind that certain foods such egg whites, honey, shellfish and raw tomatoes are potential allergens are must be avoided. Also foods such as nuts, meat chunks and hard candy can cause choking and hence must be avoided as well. It is best to follow a 9 month old baby diet chart if you are confused about what to feed your infant. You can obtain this from your pediatrician. Given below are some helpful 9 month old baby food ideas. Also see baby diet chart

A sample menu for 9 month old baby is as follows;

  • Breakfast: Your baby’s first meal of the day can include foods such as unsweetened oats prepared with breast milk, formula or water, whole grain pancakes with some pureed fruits or eggs with softened veggies.
  • Lunch: This meal may include sandwiches made with soft bread, boiled broth with noodles and vegetables or macaroni and cheese. Use only mild cheeses.
  • Dinner: This can include pasta or rice with cooked vegetables, baked potato with cheese or lasagna with meat or spinach. Run the foods through a processor to make it soft and easy to eat.

When new foods are introduced in a baby’s diet there is often the problem of constipation as the child’s digestive system tries to adjust to the changes. In such cases, you can follow a high fiber diet for 9 month old baby. Such a diet must include more of foods such as uncooked vegetables, fruits and prunes. These assist in proper bowel movements. However it is advisable to consult your pediatrician before making any changes in the baby’s diet. Fruits for 9 month old baby are extremely healthy, but there are some fruits which must be avoided such as strawberries and citrus fruits. It is better to introduce these fruits after the child turns one. It is also not necessary to add salt or seasoning to baby foods because although they may taste bland to an adult, it is a new and exciting experience for the baby.

  • Healthy foods with nutrients: By 9 months, babies are usually eating two solid meals in a day. These should have a high vitamin and mineral (especially iron) content. Babies are very active at this age, and it is also essential that they have plenty of carbohydrates. Proteins are required for tissue and bone building. You can give your infant starchy foods like potatoes, rice, pasta and bread. Lamb, pork, beef, chicken, eggs and fish will aid in brain development. Fruits like apples, bananas, pears, plums, cantaloupes, apricots and papayas, and vegetables like beans, peas, eggplants, carrots and zucchini will supply them with essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Texture of food: Till now you have been feeding your baby with food which is thoroughly mashed and strained. But now you can try experimenting with coarser textures.  At this stage you can also give your baby the same foods that the rest of the family is eating, if it is not too over-spiced. After cooking the food till it is soft, don’t blend it. Rather, mash it with a fork, or cut it into small pieces with a knife, so that baby does not choke on it.
  • Finger foods: At this age, babies have better coordination, and find it exciting to put food into their mouths, using their finger and thumb. You can introduce finger foods at this juncture - boiled peas, carrots and beans cut into small bits, sliced bananas or plums. Baby now loves to see different colors, shapes and textures of food. Some babies go so far as to try feeding themselves with a baby spoon.
  • Not too hard: Don’t give your baby foods that are too hard, since they can cause choking. Avoid peanuts, candies or raw carrots. If you are offering meat, cut them very small, so that they can mash them easily with their gums.
  • Full fat milk: At this stage, baby still needs to drink plenty of milk. However, if you have been breast-feeding, you can begin the process of weaning. You can now introduce cow’s milk. It is preferable to give full fat milk, since babies need it for growth. You can also begin to give butter. However, try to limit sweets like cake or candy.

This is also the time when you can introduce your baby to drink from a sippy cup and eat with the rest of the family, so that meals become a family and social event.

Submitted on January 16, 2014
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