Are you wondering about some self-feeding ideas for your baby? It can seem so overwhelming and scary and so much to think about. As you transition to solids, your baby will learn on his or her own how to self-feed, and as they get older and it gets easier.
When introducing self-feeding, you will recognize signs from your baby. Signs like chewing, grabbing, and putting food into their mouths are just a couple. As a parent, you will know when it’s time for your baby to learn to self-feed since every baby is different.
Related Post: Why You Need to Let Your Baby Feed Themselves
The Stages of Self-Feeding
There are a few stages of self-feeding that you will notice in your baby. The stage where they want to help feed themselves. Another stage is where your baby will like to play with their spoon and play with their food. When self-feeding know they will get messy and it’s all part of the process of learning.
Encouraging Your 9 Month Old To Self-Feed
Some ways of encouraging your 9-month-old baby to self-feed will be showing them how to put the food in their mouth as you do it first as they watch you. Another way to encourage self-feeding is by introducing a spoon and showing how a spoon is used.
They will eventually get the hang of it. Also, a big encouragement is having meal time together as a family where the baby is engaged in watching everyone eat together.
What to do If your 9 Month Old Starts Choking
Introducing new foods with different textures can be a whole new world for your 9 month old. As you introduce new foods, your 9 month old may choke a few times and it’s important to know what to do.
When you notice that your baby is choking
- Shout For Help: If you have someone in the home with you, shout for help
- Pull your baby out of their high chair and lay them face down on your forearm. Be sure to use your thigh for support
- Your infant’s head should be lower than their body and their jaw should be in your hand.
- Use the palm of your hand to deliver 5 forceful blows to their back between the shoulder blades
If your baby is still choking
- Return your baby to the face up position. Make sure to use your lap to support their body and head
- Give 5 pulses with your 3 middle fingers just below the nipples pressing ⅓ to ½ the depth of the chest
- Keep this routine of 5 back thrusts and 5 chest thrusts until the object is dislodged or the baby loses conciousness.
If your baby becomes unconscious
- Shout for help and intrust them to call 911
- Start infant CPR
- Only try to remove the object if you can see it. If you can see the object, use a sweeping motion with your finger.
How to Tell the Difference Between Choking and Gagging
There is a big difference between choking and gagging. It is important to note that there are interventions for choking that should not be done with gagging.
Gagging: While gagging can be scary, it is important to know the difference to determine the correct interventions. Signs of gagging include:
- Watery eyes
- Baby pushing their tongue forward
- Gasping for air
Choking: Choking is terrifying, and it is important to take the proper steps for intervention. Signs of choking include:
- Blue lips and skin
- Not breathing
- Silence or the inability to make a sound
- High pitched noises if trying to breathe
Signs Your 9 Month Old is Ready to Start Solid Foods
Making sure that your baby is ready for solid foods is very important. Readiness for solid foods is more than just age, but more so signs and signals.
Here are some of the signs I look for when trying to determine if your 9-month-old is ready to start solid foods.
- Head control: Your baby should be able to support their head and neck independently when sitting up
- Sitting Up: Your baby should be able to sit up mostly by themselves or with little support
- Interest: If your baby is showing interest in the foods you are eating, they might be ready for solid foods.
- Reaching: If your baby is interested and reaching for your food they could be ready for solids
- Trying for Bites: Try to give your baby some bites and see if they try what you are eating
Foods to Avoid for 9 Month Old Self Feeding
Starting solids with your baby is so exciting and I know you want to give your baby all the things, but It is important to refrain from feeding your baby certain foods.
Remember that your baby does not have a whole lot of teeth yet, and also is getting used to having to chew foods. These foods are some examples of things you want to hold off on introducing until your baby is older:
- Whole grapes
- Hot dog pieces
- Hard candy
- Cheese chunks
- Fruit chunks
- Raw veggies
Self-Feeding Tool Ideas
There are so many great self-feeding tools out there on the market in today’s day in age. I have listed a few that are great and trusted by most moms.
Baby suction plates are great for 9-month-old babies as they start out self-feeding. The suction gives it a grip to stay on the tray or tabletop. These are also divided into multiple food options for your baby to enjoy. The suction plates are also silicone for easier cleanup.
Silicone bibs are also a great essential for your 9-month-old baby that is learning to self-feed. These have an open pouch to catch most of the food mess and they are easy to clean.
These baby silicone spoons are great for your 9-month-old baby’s little hands to pick up and hold. They are great for beginning to self-feed and being made from silicone they are soft and not hard plastic making them easy on baby’s mouth.
The Best Breakfast Meals For 9 Month Olds
Breakfast mealtime can be quick and easy, especially for moms on the go and these delicious breakfast meals are simple.
This healthy breakfast contains important nutrients including protein, fats and carbs. The berries are soft enough for your baby to mush in their mouth, but you can also slightly mash them if you prefer.
French Toast and Berries
How yummy does this meal look? The strawberries are cut up into nice strips for little eaters and the French toast is also cut up in bite-sized pieces.
Yogurt, Toast, and Bananas
Greek yogurt has a good amount of protein for your little eater! The different spreads on the toast are great for discovering textures.
The banana and coconut are also great for trying and discovering new textures.
Banana Pancakes, Blueberries, and Applesauce
I love making banana pancakes for little eaters. Bananas are a great sweetener and put older bananas to good use!
Cheesy Bagel and Fruit
Who doesn’t love a cheesy bagel? The Greek yogurt is great protein and the cucumber and strawberries provide carbs and fiber!
The Best Lunch Meals For 9 Month Olds
Lunch for your 9 Month Old does not have to be complicated and still be healthy and these meal ideas for lunches are some great ones to try.
Pizza Quesadilla and Fruit
Pizza quesadillas are super easy to make and if you cut them into strips, it makes them easy to grab! Add a side of fruit and you have a yummy and simple lunch.
Cheese Quesadilla, Broccoli, and Fruit
As your baby eats more solid foods, they can get constipated while their body is adjusting. Using broccoli and other fruits and veggies with fiber is important to keep things moving.
Zucchini Frittata, Hummus, Fruit
Um, yum! I would try and cut up the frittata into strips or small bite-sized pieces. Overall this is a great meal!
Chicken Nuggets, Squash, and Beets Puree
Chicken nuggets are a staple in our house, but adding veggies and fruit makes it a balanced meal and great for your little eater.
Veggie Quiche, Fruit, and Greek Yogurt
Making a veggie quiche is a great way to get some eggs and of course veggies into your little one’s diet. The yogurt is great for protein. I would cut up the peaches to make them easier to eat.
The Best Dinner Meals For 9-Month-Olds
Dinner for your 9 Month Old doesn’t have to be hard! Most of the time they can eat a variation of what you are eating yourself!
Here are some of our favorite ideas!
Tuna Pasta Bake and Pear
Little ones love noodles and pasta sauce is a great place to sneak in some veggies. I bet your little one will go to town on this pasta bake.
Veggie Lasagna and Waffle Fries
Veggie lasagna is a great meal to introduce to your baby. As a potato lover, I am a big fan of the waffle fries!
Mac and Cheese, Fries, and Fruit
Has there ever been a more “kid-type” meal than mac and cheese, fries, and fruit? My kiddos love meals like this!
Broccoli Fritters, Pita, and Oranges
Broccoli fritters are a great way to sneak in veggies and fiber! I love oranges for little ones, just make sure they are cut up.
You can always swap out the oranges for another fruit.
Salmon, Mashed Potatoes, and Roasted Carrots
Salmon is high in protein and contains nutrients great for eye and brain development. Roasted carrots are a great way to introduce a sweet food that doesn’t have sugar in it!
The Best Snack Ideas For 9 Month Olds
I listed some delicious and healthy snacks for your growing 9 Month Old that are simple and great for busy parents.
Fruit, Muffins, and Puffs
Puffs are a staple in my little ones’ snack pantry, ha! Muffins are a great way to get fruit and even veggies into your little ones’ diet!
Carrot Bites, Cottage Cheese, and Fruit
Cottage cheese is a great food to introduce to babies and share with them a different texture. Keep in mind some babies will not like this, and that’s okay!
Carrot bites are a yummy snack to make and have on hand.
Strawberries, Blueberries and Yogurt Bark
Yogurt bark is a great snack to make ahead and then have on hand for all week! You can put all kinds of things in yogurt bark like fruit, coconut, granola, etc.
Fruit bowls are a fantastic snack for babies! Make sure to cut up the fruit, even the smaller berries to reduce the risk of choking.
If you have some bananas on the counter getting ready to go bad, make them into some banana oat bars for your baby!
The Best Drink Ideas For 9 Month Olds
When choosing a drink for your 9 Month Old, we want to be sure they are staying hydrated. We also do not want to give too many sugary drinks as well. So here is a list below to help choose a healthy drink for your baby.
Water: My babies loved water at this age! As they start to digest solid foods, water is important to help the digestion process.
Diluted Fruit Juice: Diluting fruit juice takes away a lot of the sweetness, and lightly flavors the water.
Milk: Your baby should still be eating mostly breast milk or formula. With that being said, you can introduce milk as a drink once or twice a day.
Frequently Asked Questions About 9 Month Old Self-Feeding Ideas
There are so many questions we ask as mothers when it comes to self-feeding our babies
How do I know my baby is ready for self-feeding?
As a mother, you will know when your baby is ready when you notice signs of them mimicking you as you eat, and they will also grab and put food in their mouth.
Your baby should also be able to sit unassisted before allowing them to self-feed.
Trust your mommy instinct, every baby is different and you will know.
How do I implement self-feeding and still continue breastfeeding?
9-month-old babies still need milk as their main form of nutrition. Be sure to offer meals and snacks in between breastfeeding. Offer milk first and add meals along the way.
How can I prevent choking when introducing self-feeding?
Choking is no doubt the scariest as you introduce self-feeding to your 9-month-old baby. Gagging is normal since it’s their natural reflex to get food out. To prevent choking, be sure to cut bite-sized pieces and always be present near the baby when they are eating.
I hope this all helps you and your baby on the journey of self-feeding. It’s definitely a great milestone and can be overwhelming but it is so rewarding watching them learn new things.
Do you have any fun meal ideas for 9-month-olds learning to self-feed? Let me know in the comments below!