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Feeding Schedule for 9-Month-Old Babies: What and When Babies Can Eat at 9 Months

By the time a baby has reached nine months old, they have probably moved away from a breastmilk- or formula-only diet and have tried some different foods. They are exploring their preferences and may change their minds from day to day. Because of this, many parents want to know what babies can eat at nine months and what a typical feeding schedule looks like.

What food is healthy for a nine-month-old?

A nine-month-old baby is growing rapidly, and complex brain development is taking place. A well-balanced, nutritional diet that fills their belly is critical at this time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a nine-month-old should be eating a wide variety of foods. If babies are eating cereal, it should be fortified. This will provide the nutrients that they need.

It’s great to include a rainbow of foods in a nine-month-old’s diet. Their food should be colorful, fresh, and tantalizing. Encourage them to try fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and meats. Wait until they have turned one year old before introducing honey, as it may contain the bacteria that can cause botulism. Along the same lines, unpasteurized drinks or foods can contain E. coli and cause severe intestinal problems.

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What solid foods can a baby eat?

Food for 9-month-olds can be tricky. Many babies at this age are ready to try eating food with their hands. Finger food should be small and soft enough to pick up easily and chew without risk of choking.

At this age, babies’ chewing abilities haven’t yet fully matured. They may not use their teeth yet, instead using their tongue to mash up their food. Some safe options for nine-month-old babies include:

  • Soft fruits (e.g., bananas and peaches)
  • Bread (without the crust)
  • Dry cereal
  • Avocado
  • Peas
  • Green beans and cooked beans 
  • Tofu
  • Meat and fish
  • Sweet potato
  • Pasta

When offering nine-month-old babies food (especially finger food), size is important. Pieces should be large enough to pick up but small enough that the baby won’t choke. Try to aim for cubes about a third of an inch in size. This is just a little bit bigger than a standard pea.

How much should a 9-month-old eat? 

A nine-month-old feeding schedule is not much different than when they were first born. They are still on an on-demand schedule. This basically means that parents should look for signs indicating when the baby is hungry and when they’re full. They might eat a different combination of solid foods, breast milk, and formula every day, depending on their mood.

How much formula is good for a nine-month-old?

Babies at nine months old still require breast milk and/or formula every day as part of their regular diet. Breast milk and formula contain high levels of nutrients that are necessary for proper growth. Cow milk can be introduced when babies get a bit older.

Babies should eat at least five to six times per day to meet their nutritional requirements. As they begin to eat more solid foods, the amount of formula or breast milk needed will likely decrease in frequency and amount.

Sample menu for a nine-month-old baby

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests the following menu and feeding schedule for 9-month-old babies.

Breakfast

¼–½ cup cereal or mashed egg

¼–½ cup fruit, diced (if the child is self-feeding)

4–6 ounces formula or breast milk

Snack​

4–6 ounces breast milk, formula, or water

¼ cup diced cheese or cooked vegetables

Lunch

¼–½ cup yogurt, cottage cheese, or meat

¼–½ cup yellow or orange vegetables

4–6 ounces formula or breast milk

Snack

One teething biscuit or cracker

¼ cup yogurt or diced fruit

Water

Dinner

¼ cup diced poultry, meat, or tofu

¼–½ cup green vegetables

¼ cup noodles, pasta, rice, or potatoes

¼ cup fruit

4–6 ounces formula or breast milk

Before bedtime

6–8 ounces formula, breast milk, or water

A nine-month-old baby’s nutritional needs aren’t much different from the nutrients that adults need too. Over the course of a day, offer a 9-month-old foods of different colors. Here are some colorful examples:

  • Green — green beans, peas, spinach, zucchini, and asparagus
  • Orange — cantaloupe and sweet potatoes
  • Yellow — peppers, squash, and bananas
  • Red, blue, and purple — beans, cooked tomatoes, red peppers, and smashed berries

These different foods can also be a great diet for new parents to follow when breastfeeding and trying to get back in shape after delivery. This is an exciting time for parents and babies. It’s fun to watch babies explore new things, including textures and tastes. 

“When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 Oct. 2019, www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/when-to-introduce-solid-foods.html.

“Choking Hazards.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/nutrition/InfantandToddlerNutrition/foods-and-drinks/choking-hazards.html.

“Infant and Newborn Nutrition.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 30 Apr. 2020, medlineplus.gov/infantandnewbornnutrition.html.

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