By the time they're 9 months old, most babies are ready for more texture in their food and have developed the fine motor skills — the small, precise movements — needed to pick up small pieces of food and feed themselves.
Allow your child to self-feed as much as possible, though you'll still be helping out by spoon-feeding. Encouraging finger feeding helps your child learn about textures and independence. If you have not already done so, it is time to introduce table/finger foods. Do not limit your baby to just Gerber puffs.
By 9 months, most babies are ready to try table food and should be able to try many of the things that you eat. Here are some suggestions.
- Zucchini, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, or other well-cooked, soft veggies.
- Pieces of ripe banana, soft pears or peaches, and cooked apples
- Well-cooked pasta
- Dry cereals and crackers such as cheerios, graham crackers, & ritz crackers. Ask yourself, does it melt in the mouth? Some dry cereals and crackers that are light and flaky will melt in the mouth.
- Shredded cheeses and cottage cheese
- Small pieces of soft, cooked beef, turkey, and chicken are other good choices
Food should be cut into small pieces. The sizes will vary depending on the food's texture. You should avoid the following foods that can be choking hazards.
- Pieces of raw vegetables or hard fruits
- Whole grapes, berries, cherry or grape tomatoes (instead, peel and slice or cut in quarters)
- Raisins and other dried fruit
- Peanuts, nuts, and seeds
- Peanut butter and other nut or seed butters
- Whole hot dogs and sausages (peel and cut these in very small pieces)
- Untoasted bread, especially white bread that sticks together
- Chunks of cheese or meat
- Candy (hard candy, jelly beans, gummies, chewing gum)
- Popcorn, pretzels, corn chips, and other snack foods