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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 9 months old, they have probably moved away from a milk-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 9 months and what a typical feeding schedule looks like.

A mother feeding her baby healthy food for a 9-month-old

What food is healthy for a 9-month-old? 

A 9-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 9-month-old should be eating a wide variety of foods. If your baby is eating cereal, make sure it's fortified. This will provide the necessary nutrients that they need.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a list of foods that babies shouldn't eat during their first year. The FDA says to avoid any food containing rice, except rice cereal. This is because there is a risk of rice being exposed to arsenic. The CDC recommends avoiding foods that could be a choking hazard. Some examples of foods that can be choking hazards are:

  • Hard raw fruit or vegetables
  • Cooked or fresh whole corn kernels
  • Uncut cherries, grapes, or tomatoes
  • Dried fruit like raisins
  • Whole or chopped nuts
  • Hot dogs, meat sticks, or sausages
  • Large pieces of cheese
  • Popcorn or crackers
  • Chips or pretzels
  • Granola bars
  • Chewing gum
  • Hard candy, jelly beans, or gummy candies
  • Marshmallows

It's great to include a rainbow of foods in your 9-month-old's diet. Their food should be colorful, fresh, and tantalizing. Encourage them to try fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, and meats. Wait until they have turned one year before introducing honey, as it may contain botulism. Along the same lines, unpasteurized drinks or foods can contain E. coli and cause severe intestinal problems.

What solid foods can your 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 fully matured. They may not use their teeth yet, instead using their tongue to mash up their food. Some safe options for 9-month-old babies include:

Soft fruits (e.g. bananas and peaches)

  • Bread
  • Dry cereal
  • Avocado
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Cooked beans
  • Peas
  • Green beans
  • Tofu
  • Meat and fish
  • Sweet potato
  • Pasta

When offering 9-month-old babies food (especially finger food), size is important. Pieces should be large enough to pick up but small enough that your 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.

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How much should a 9-month-old eat? 

A 9-month-old's feeding schedule is not much different than when they were first born. They are still on an on-demand schedule. This basically means that you have to look for signs indicating when they're hungry and when they're full. They might eat a different combination of solid foods, breast milk, and formula every day. It really depends on their mood.

How much formula is good for a 9-month-old?

Formula for a 9-month-old

Babies at 9 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 your baby gets a bit older.

Your baby should be eating at least 5 to 6 times per day to meet their nutritional requirements. As your baby begins to eat more solid foods, the amount of formula or breast milk needed will likely decrease in frequency and amount.

Sample feeding schedule for a 9-month-old baby

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

Breakfast

  • ¼ – ½ cup cereal or mashed egg
  • ¼ – ½ cup fruit, diced (if your child is self-feeding)
  • 4–6 oz. formula or breast milk

Snack​

  • 4–6 oz. 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 oz. 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 potato
  • ¼ cup fruit
  • 4–6 oz. formula or breast milk

Before bedtime

  • 6–8 oz. formula, breast milk, or water

Your 9-month-old baby's nutritional needs aren't much different from the nutrients that adults need too. Over the course of a day, offer your 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 moms to follow when breastfeeding and trying to get back in shape after delivery. This is an exciting time for you and your baby. It's fun to watch your baby explore new things, including textures and tastes. 

https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/when-to-introduce-solid-foods.html

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2015/01/how-much-arsenic-is-in-your-rice/index.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/InfantandToddlerNutrition/foods-and-drinks/choking-hazards.html

https://medlineplus.gov/infantandnewbornnutrition.html

https://vegetariannutrition.net/docs/Vegetarian-Infants.pdf

https://wicworks.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/document/Guidelines%20for%20Feeding%20Healthy%20Infants%20Job%20Aid%20FINAL_rev6-2017_508c.pdf

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Sample-One-Day-Menu-for-an-8-to-12-Month-Old.aspx

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