Is your baby already nine months old? How quickly time flies! It feels like it was just yesterday you were struggling with all the challenges of new motherhood, staying up all night, feeding constantly till you felt that that is the only purpose of your existence and dealing with your constantly developing baby!
It has been quite a ride, hasn’t it? So what’s in wait for you now?
Your nine months old baby may not be able to eat everything you can eat, but this doesn’t mean he or she can’t join you for a family meal. You just have to keep an eye on the special needs of the child. The American Association of Pediatrics states that the mother should breastfeed the baby for at least one year. Don’t stop breastfeeding suddenly; it can be harmful for the baby and it can lead to infection in the breast as well. There is no specific age to start weaning so you can start including solid foods when you feel the baby is ready for it.
9 Month Baby Food: What to Expect?
Your nine month old has a temperament, attitude, likes and dislikes of her own. She is no longer that cuddly baby who would be content to just lie, gazing at you and your antics at entertaining her. She is now exploring, experiencing and learning new things every day.
The things you can expect by the ninth month are-
- Sitting up without support
- Probably creeping and/or crawling
- Recognizing and remembering Mom and Dad
- Having a special inclination to particular toy, blanket, spoon, plate, song etc.
- Some babies learn to pull themselves up with support (very few in fact)
Besides these, each individual baby reaches her own milestones, making it a complete delight to watch their every waking moment and even while they areasleep!
[ Read: 10 Months Baby Food ]
Weaning your Nine-Month Old Baby:
When your baby stops nursing from the breast and starts to eat solid food, it is termed as weaning. Friends, relatives and neighbours give various suggestions on weaning but remember that is no right or wrong way to do weaning. You can start weaning your baby when you think it is right, you can also consult the pediatrician.
When the baby starts losing interest in weaning and is distracted or fussy while being nursed you know the time is right to introduce other foods. Generally weaning starts within 6-12 months. When the baby shows the signs of weaning it is called baby led weaning.
If the mother is joining a job post pregnancy then she will have to start weaning. Your child might not be ready for weaning at that point of time so you have to be patient. You can still nurse your child and at the same time introduce solid foods. Mother led weaning can take a lot of time and it also depends on the child’s age and how he is responding to change.
So how do you start weaning? The first thing you should remember is not to stop breastfeeding suddenly because this can be traumatic for your baby. You can follow these simple steps to start weaning:
a. Skip a Feed:
Offer a bottle of milk instead of breastfeeding. You can give pumped breast milk or whole cow’s milk powder (don’t give this before your child turns one years).Reducing breastfeeding over a period of time allows the baby to adjust to the change. The milk supply of your breasts gradually goes down without causing mastitis.
b. Limit Nursing Time:
If you usually nurse your baby for ten minutes then reduce the time to five minutes. Depending on the child’s age give him or her light snack post nursing. You can give unsweetened applesauce or infant milk formula. Babies are not ready for solid food before six months, so after six months solid food is complementary to breast milk till the child turns one year old. It is tough to reduce the time for bedtime nursing because it is last meal of the day for the child.
c. Postpone and Distract:
Try to postpone feedings if you are nursing your baby couple of times a day. This method works if your child understands reason. If your child demands nursing, reassure him that you will and distract him with another activity. So you give the evening feed during bed time.
Breastfed infants need more nutrients than breast milk can provide. The baby needs vitamin D and iron. So along with breast milk you have to provide iron fortified cereals till the child turns one year old. Once your baby enters toddlerhood then he will need a wide variety of foods to provide essential nutrients that will help your baby to grow.
If you have started weaning and the child is not responding then it is not the right time. If you have joined work the child is adjusting to the new routine set by you. If the child is unwell then he demands nursing because he finds breast milk comforting and it is a great source of nutrients as well.
Special Dietary Requirements for your Nine-Month Old:
A very important event happens around this time – teething! While teething, most babies lose their appetite due to the pain, discomfort and swelling caused by rupturing gums. Therefore, it is important to persuade her to eat as much as she can. Do not cave in to her protests and refusals and simply take the easy way out by giving her the bottle – she will miss out on vital nutrients and fiber that her body needs.
[ Read: Signs Of Baby Teething ]
Failing to maintain a proper solid diet can make your baby lose weight and also cause long term harm by depriving the brain of nutrients vital to healthy cognitive development. Lastly, remember that a child learns life’s eating patterns within the first three years of her life. That is the big picture!
Top 10 Ideas for 9 Month Baby Food:
Choosing food for 9 months baby is very exciting. This is the best time to introduce finger foods (tiny baby bite-sized solid food that the baby can eat on her own). Try these finger food and meal ideas for your temperamental, choosy nine-month old. Remember to mix and match foods according to your baby’s individual likes and dislikes.
Talking about 9 month old baby food, including oats is must. If you haven’t yet introduced oatmeal to your baby’s diet, now is the right time to do so. Oats are high in fiber and minerals and low in fats and additives. You can fortify her iron-fortified cereal further by adding oats to it. Inculcating a taste for oats will keep your baby constipation-free for life.
2. Fresh Fruits:
You can add more fruits to the baby’s diet and you need not steam them anymore. Just make sure that the slices you cut don’t get lodged in her throat. Apples, prunes, bananas, pears, mangoes, plums, papayas are all good options to offer as long as the fruit is properly washed, peeled and diced or sliced. Make sure you offer only seasonal fruits.
You can now safely add all kinds of baked bread to the baby. Allow your baby to choose whether she likes it toasted or untoasted. You can add a smear of butter, cheese or a vegetable puree that suits your baby’s liking.
[ Read: 8 Month Baby Food ]
Nature’s nutrition king, eggs, can also be a big part of your baby’s diet, as long as it is properly cooked. Add one egg a day to your baby’s diet in various forms. You can offer her it in the form of an omelette, a mashed boiled egg or simply serve them scrambled hard; let her pick what she likes best.
Your baby is ready to try meats now. Remember to wash and cook it thoroughly and then dice it into small bits as the baby doesn’t have molars to grind food yet. Chicken, turkey and fish are good sources of protein and vitamins. Mutton can be held off for later, as it is tough to digest. Pork should be totally avoided due to the health risks it poses.
You can continue to add more vegetables to the baby’s diet and they needn’t be mashed or pureed now. Offer the baby slices or small chunks of cooked cauliflower, carrot, peas, sweet potato, pumpkin, and broccoli. Keep adding to and subtracting from the list, as per your baby’s choices.
7. Roti and rice:
The Indian diet is incomplete without these two staples. Rice is safe for babies since Month 6. You can now introduce her to rotis by peeling off the thinner top layer of the roti, mashing and mixing it with dhal. Most babies love the grainy texture and earthy flavor of this meal.
8. Water and Juices:
It is important to keep offering your baby healthy liquid throughout the day, as she is probably no longer drinking a lot of milk. Besides boiled water, offer her fresh fruit juices like apple, watermelon and carrot. Avoid citrus fruits and fruit juices until age one.
9. Iron-Fortified Cereals:
Commercially available cereals are rich in iron content appropriate for your baby’s age group – something that homemade food might lack. Therefore, add at least one daily serving of an iron fortified cereal to your baby’s diet at least till the age of 18 months.
10. Commercial Baby Milk Powder:
This is a great option as probably by now your baby is too impatient to breast feed and your milk production is also probably low. Commercial baby milk powder has vital age appropriate nutrients that your child cannot afford to miss out on. Ensure that she takes at least two feeds of top feed a day. This way, if she hasn’t had enough to eat, she can get enough nutrients from the bottle.
Infant Formulas for your Nine Month Old Baby:
If you have already weaned your baby, you can always opt to feed her formula. Infant formula, also known as baby milk powder, is designed to provide the same advantages breast milk does. You can either bottle feed the formula, or mix it in a cup and feed it to your baby as a meal.
American Academy of Pediatrics has laid down guidelines for infant milk formula. There are different types of infant formula, here they are:
- Standard Milk Based Formula: This milk powder is made from protein derived from cow’s milk. Lactose and minerals from cow’s milk is blended with vegetable oils, minerals and vitamins to make it resemble breast milk for the infant’s convenience. Most babies suffer from colic but this is not due to cow’s milk formula, and parents don’t need to switch to other formulas.
- Soy Based Formulas: As the name suggests this infant formula is made of soy proteins. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends soy infant formula if the parents don’t want to introduce animal protein to the baby. Also those babies who suffer lactose intolerance or galactosemia can have soy milk formula. Also soy infant formulas help to deal with milk allergies and colic in babies.
- Hypoallergenic Milk Formulas (Protein Hydrolysate Formulas): These types of milk formulas are suitable for babies who are allergic to milk proteins. Those babies who have rashes and wheezing due to allergies can opt for hypoallergenic milk. This hypoallergenic formula is much more expensive than regular formulas.
- Lactose Free Formula: Lactose deficiency begins in children as early as 12 months and can be detected by using different tests. Lactose free formulas should be given to those infants who suffer galactosemia, primary lactase deficiency and congenital lactase deficiency.
- Special Formulas: Special formulas should only be used with the permission of the pediatrician. The special formulas are pre-thickened with starch and are needed for infants who have low birth weights and are not gaining proper weight. Special infant formulas contain extra calories and nutrients to meet the needs of the children suffering from health problems like heart disease, malabsorption syndrome, have problems digesting fat and processing some type of amino acids.
There are many new formulas with vague benefits. These can be toddler formulas that help to fill the gaps cause by fussy eating. However, these formulas are not very different from whole milk formulas with multivitamins. These new formulas are also quite expensive. These formulas come in powder form, concentrated liquid form and ready to use form. Just select the milk powder that is best suited for your baby and read the labels and instructions before you purchase the infant milk formulas. It is best to consult the doctor before purchasing the infant milk formula.
The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends iron fortified formula for infants who are being breastfed up to 12 months. Infants who drink enough formula milk don’t need any extra vitamins and minerals. The doctor might suggest extra fluoride if the formula is water based and not fluorinated. This infant milk formula can be given to the child till he turns one year. AAP does recommended cow’s milk formula to baby below one year. After the child has crossed one year only whole milk formulas should be given and not skimmed or low fat milk.
Some tips to use infant milk powder:
- Use sterilized bottles and nipples to feed your baby.
- Don’t make powder watery or extra strong just follow the instructions on the packet or label.
- Store the infant formula in a cool, dry place with a plastic lid on the top. Always wash your hands before using the infant formulas to minimize the chance of infections.
- Once the formula is made store it in individual bottles or in a close pitcher with lid. Feed at least eight bottles per day.
- When you warm the prepared infant formula place it in boiled water, but don’t boil the prepared formula.
- Don’t use the microwave to warm the infant milk formula. Test the temperature of the bottle containing the infant formula before you give it to the baby.
- Hold your child close to you and make eye contact.
- Hold the bottle in such a way that the nipple and the neck of bottle are filled with infant formula so that the baby doesn’t swallow air.
- If the baby couldn’t finish the entire bottle don’t force. Also don’t store the leftover formula, just throw it. Give a fresh formula for each feed.
Foods to Avoid:
- Don’t give your child swordfish or marlin and shark that have high levels of mercury. It is harmful for your baby’s central nervous system. Also don’t give your child raw shellfish.
- Avoid honey because it causes an infection called infant botulism and is also harmful for the baby’s developing teeth.
- Make sure the egg is cooked thoroughly and both white and yellow is solid.
- Your baby needs high energy foods but not low calorie and low fat foods with high fiber. Though some amount of fiber can be included in the diet.
- Don’t give whole nuts to the baby aged under five it causes choking.
- Don’t add salt to the baby’s food because the kidneys can’t tolerate it.
- You can add little sugar to the food but don’t make it too sugary. Give fruits with natural sugars but not ice creams, sugary custards, biscuits or sweets that can harm the baby’s developing teeth.
Some Interesting Recipes for Homemade Snacks for Your Nine Month Baby
Mothers have to be really patient and creative in the kitchen if they want their baby to gobble up whatever they serve. The food served should be tasty and look appealing to the eyes as well. Here are some interesting recipes for snacks that you can make easily at home.
1. Soulful Chicken Soup:
- Dice celery, onion and carrots into quarter inch cubes and keep it aside.
- Heat olive oil in a pot and add chicken pieces (cut into quarter inch into it), sauté until thoroughly cooked for 8 minutes. Set it aside.
- In the same pot add garlic, onion, celery and carrots and sauté until the vegetables are tender.
- Add chicken stock, pasta and frozen peas and simmer till the pasta is thoroughly cooked.
- When the soup cools down blend in a mixer to get the desired consistency.
- Use muffin tray to divide to soup to get the portion size for convenience.
It is best to use homemade chicken stock or if you are purchasing chicken stock cubes make sure it is low sodium.
2. Super Mac and Cheese:
This dish has pumpkin as one of the important ingredient. As we are aware that pumpkin is a super food rich with nutrients and the orange colour blends well with the cheese sauce.
- Cook the whole wheat pasta according to the instructions on the packet and drain it, then keep it aside.
- Start making the cheese sauce by melting butter.
- Then add all-purpose flour little by little and then stir thoroughly.
- Remove the pan from heat and slowly add milk and stir till the sauce is thick and coats the back of a spoon. T
- hen add some nutmeg and pumpkin. You can also use butternut squash or sweet potato instead of pumpkin.
- Blend the pasta with the cheese sauce. You can use a hand blender to make the pasta smooth for your little one’s convenience.
- If you are feeding your toddler keep it whole.
3. Zesty Tomato Dipping:
Kids love dipping their food so you can make a healthy and tasty tomato dip at home. This is a versatile dip and you can use it for pizzas and pastas too. You can also serve some chicken fingers along with this yummy dip.
- In a large pot heat olive oil and add a small onion, one minced garlic clove, one finely chopped carrot and one stalk celery finely chopped.
- Sauté the vegetables until they are tender.
- Add the unsalted crushed tomatoes, 2-3 basil leaves and some kosher salt if available. Simmer for 30-40 minutes.
- Once it is cooked then cool it.
- After it has cooled down use a hand blender and blend it into a smooth consistency.
- Pour the sauce in to the ice cube tray and freeze. Reheat and use when required.
4. Sweet Potato Bites:
Children can have fun picking up the small bits of food and practice some motor skills.
- To make sweet potato bites preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into quarter inch cubes.
- Coat them with olive oil and gluten free rice cereal or oats.
- Spread the potatoes in 9×13 pan or baking dish and cook for 20-30 minutes.
- Once cooked let the potatoes to cool down, spread out the potatoes along with the pan in the freezer. This prevents the potatoes from sticking together in the freezer bag.
- Once potatoes are partially frozen shift it to the freezer bag and store in the deep freezer.
Besides these 9 months baby food choices, remember to keep breastfeeding your baby till she allows you to. Baby-led weaning is the best option, in which the baby decides when she has had enough breast feeding. Ensure proper cleanliness of hands, utensils and food while preparing and feeding baby food. Happy Feeding!