Get simple 9 month old baby food and table food ideas from a pediatric occupational therapist. This is a critical window of time for babies learning to eat. Learn how to maximize it. Includes 14 different 9 month old meal ideas!
Around 9 months old begins an important transition for most babies…
The transition from baby food to table or finger foods. It’s a little overwhelming. Even though I had helped dozens of families through this transition as an occupational therapist, I still felt the stress of figuring it out on a daily basis with each of my 3 kids.
In this post, I’m going to break down what your 9 month old should be eating and give you simple baby and table food combinations that are perfect for this age. You’ll also find some tips for helping your babe if they aren’t getting the hang of the whole chewing thing too!
What Should a 9 Month Old Be Eating?
If you’re following the traditional method of feeding your baby, that means starting with baby food and progressing to table foods, then at around 9 months your baby is probably eating stage 2 foods and some table foods.
If you haven’t moved to stage 2 table foods, which are slightly more thicker than stage 1 foods, then you’ll want to start offering those now, as long as your baby is eating stage 1 baby food well.
If you’re making your own homemade baby food, you want the food to pour off the spoon with a little bit sticking to the spoon. Throughout the next month, you can slowly increase the thickness. Although it can be helpful to serve your baby a variety of thicknesses throughout the day. For instance, in the morning, they may have pureed squash and coconut milk. Then, in the afternoon, they have bananas, avocado, and chicken, which is a little thicker.
These variances are good.
Table Foods for the 9 Month Old
When giving your 9 month old table foods, it’s important to begin with small pieces of meltable solids. Foods like puffs, broken up rice husks, yogurt melts, and other stage 1 table foods you’ll find in the baby food aisle.
You can also use regular old graham crackers or Town House crackers.
Avoid Goldfish crackers, Ritz crackers, and Cheerios at this stage. Although these are often given to babies eating table foods, 9 month olds usually don’t have the oral motor skills to handle these harder textured snack foods.
If your baby is readily chewing those meltable solids like the puffs and yogurt melts, the next step is to move on to softer foods you can cut into a cube. Think zucchini bread, watermelon, banana, and tender meatballs. Most 9 month olds will be just beginning with these foods.
Once your baby is eating table foods, you can begin to transition out of baby foods all together. That process usually starts in the mid to late 9th month, but sometimes not until 10 or 11 months. However, babies have an instinctive chewing pattern that disappears around 11 months. Of course, they can be taught to chew after this point, but it’s easier if they learn in this window.
Learn more in the How to Transition Your Baby To Table Foods Guide.
How Much Should a 9 Month Old Be Eating?
It’s very important that a 9 month old is beginning to work on learning to eat table foods, because in a few months, food will become their primary source of nutrition. But, for now, at 9 months old, breast milk or formula is their primary source.
That should take some pressure off of how much food their eating, but don’t let it be a pass to wait to work on eating table or baby food until after 1.
With that in mind, there really is no amount of baby or table foods they need to eat. Some babies will pound down 2 jars of baby food at this age. Others will happily eat 2 tablespoons and be done.
The red flag for me as an OT is if they’re 9 months old and gagging, refusing, or upset nearly every time they try to eat baby and/or table foods.
So, at 9 months old, don’t worry about quantity, just follow their lead. They’re getting all their nutrition from their milk source. But, if they’re having difficulty eating, keep reading for some additional steps you can take.
9 Month Old Mealtime Schedule
I’m looking for babies to eat usually 2 times a day in their high chair for meals at 9 months old. Although, 3 times a day works great if you can fit it into your schedule.
Focus on meal times lasting anywhere from 15-30 minutes at the absolute max. 9 month olds need to be crawling and cruising as much as possible in between mealtimes and any more time than that in their highchair isn’t great for their development. Plus, it usually irritates them and creates a negative association with eating.
It makes the most sense to schedule the meals as one in the morning and one in the afternoon/early evening. If you do three meals, you’ll want one in the morning, one in the early afternoon, and one for a dinner. Make sure these meals are 3-4 hours apart.
Also, space them away from their bottles of nursing so they may be a little hungry, and if at all possible, feed them when the rest of the family is eating.
In fact, that’s a bigger priority than spacing apart from their bottles. The community aspect of eating helps babies learn so much and often leads to better eating!
Get a detailed feeding schedule for all bottles and meals at 8, 9, and 10 Month Old Feeding Schedule.
List of 9 Month Old Baby Food + Table Food Ideas
Below is a list of different baby food ideas. You’ll see that every meal, I’m giving a 9 month old water in a sippy or straw cup, a baby food, and a table food. Mix and match to create more baby food ideas for your 9 month old.
The meals below are also in a gradual progression of difficulty over the 9 months:
- Stage 2 apple, blueberry, and spinach baby food with broken up baby mums and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Thicker homemade pumpkin and banana baby food with yogurt melts and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Stage 2 vegetable chicken baby food with blueberry puffs and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Thicker homemade beef, peas, and sweet potato with graham cracker and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Stage 2 pear, peach, and mango baby food with broken up wagon wheels and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Thicker homemade baby food raspberries, whole milk plain yogurt, and pears with meltable crackers and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Stage 2 apple, blueberry, and spinach with baby corn puff curls and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Thicker homemade baby food spaghetti and meatballs with broken up baby mums and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Stage 2 sweet potato and turkey with veggie puffs and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Thicker homemade baby food of chicken soup and baby cereal with diced watermelon*, yogurt melts, and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Stage 2 pea, carrot, and spinach thickened with baby cereal slightly with diced banana*, graham cracker, and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Thicker homemade baby food with lentils, zucchini, and peaches with diced zucchini bread*, broken wagon wheels, and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Stage 2 apple chicken baby food thickened slightly with baby cereal and with diced avocado*, corn puffs, and water in a sippy/straw cup
- Thicker homemade banana and avocado with diced meatballs*, puffs, and water in a sippy/straw cup
*Only use foods with an asterisk if your child is chewing and swallowing the meltable crunchy foods before moving onto soft cubed foods.
When Your 9 Month Old Isn’t Eating Table Foods… Should You Worry?
Milestones are guidelines and if your child is eating a little slower than other kids their age, it’s okay. However, if your child shows no interest, gags frequently, vomits when attempting to eat, or food always falls out of their mouth, then you’ll want to talk to their pediatrician.
These are all signs that they may have some underlying difficulties with their oral motor skills, sensory sensitivity, or another difficulty.
Don’t worry, they can all be addressed and improved upon once you have the right tools and support. Be careful of any “don’t worry, they’ll grow out of it” advice. While some babies will, if they’re gagging and totally refusing to eat at 9 months old, it’s time to consider some more help.
Getting More Help for Table Food Difficulty
You can contact a feeding therapist directly for more support if need be. But, we also have a free workshop you can take right now that will teach 5 things to avoid when feeding your 9 month old and how to help them learn to eat!
We’ll send you a free workbook too.
Click here to get a free spot in the table food workshop!
More Baby Food and Table Food Ideas
Why You Should Let Your Baby (or toddler) Get Messy Eating
Must-Know Pros & Cons of Using Baby Food Pouches
Feeding Schedule for 11, 12, and 13 month olds
Does Your Baby or Toddler Keep Spitting Out Their Food? Try This
Alisha Grogan is a licensed occupational therapist and founder of Your Kid’s Table. She has over 17 years experience with expertise in sensory processing and feeding development in babies, toddlers, and children. Alisha also has 3 boys of her own at home. Learn more about her here.
My 9 month old eats but gags every time he eats. He refuses baby purée so we have to purée what we are eating most of the time. When we give him anything finger food like he will gag and spit up. We have tried everything under the sun even super small bite sized foods but he will gag if it’s not soft enough.
Hi Michelle! Thanks for reaching out! Gagging is super common with infants, due to their strong gag reflux, which helps to prevent choking. To help desensitize that gag reflux, continue to offer foods without pressure. Also, allow him to chew on teethers and try brushing the sides of his mouth with a toothbrush. We have a blog post with more information on gagging, here!
So funny story my 9 month old can slurp up noodles and she can chew up (gum) most non hard foods. She’s kind of advanced in her food for a 9 month old but she doesn’t like peas or green beans. I may try cheese with broccoli and cauliflower. Otherwise she is not into the texture. She has a issue with texture. I’ve given her most things over and over since she was 6 months old she has had table (slowly) and purees. I’ve noticed if fruit has a sour taste (strawberries/blueberries) she refuses. If it’s slippery she won’t eat it. She is not good with a spoon though I give her one she just chews on it and waves it around. I even show her how to use it and she just eats with her hands. She can use a sippy cup properly with the handles though. She is kind of a picky eater and I’ve always offered her veggies and fruits and she still seems to shy away from her veggies alot. How do I get her more interested. She is at a slight risk for diabetes since I was on medication for gestational diabetes. I just don’t want her to only favor sweets. I offer her nut butters and eggs and alot of unsweetened (fruit) foods.
Hi Heather! It sounds like your baby is a great eater! Veggies are very commonly a tough food for kids. Just keep offering a variety of veggies, prepared in different ways, and remain patient/consistent! If she’s struggling with certain textures, keep practicing. Don’t force, but allow her to get comfortable with those textures by touching/feeling/playing with them. Even if her food doesn’t always make it into her mouth, it’s still good to get her hands on and used to a variety of foods/flavors/textures. We also have a free table foods workshop that can offer more tips- save your seat here!
Water can interfere with a baby’s ability to receive proper nourishment. DO NOT give them water unless you must for some reason.
You’re absolutely right that you shouldn’t give water you a young baby. It isn’t recommended to give water to babies under 6 months of age. At 9 months of age it can be helpful for a baby to start taking sips of water to get accustomed to drinking it. It isn’t meant to be a replacement for milk or formula but an introduction to something new and different.
My baby girl just turned 9 months & has been eating purè foods since she was 4 months old. Recently she has become fussy with the food I personally prepare for her, although I find it delicious, she doesn’t. I found baby food made by Baby Gourmet out of Calgary AB. They are organic & only have whole foods within the ingredient list, I though that was healthy & a bonus. She loves the fruits, veggies & meats they have put together. They are mostly purè style & I sometimes add in oatmeal to thicken it up or some hardboiled egg yolk. However, I honestly feel terrible for feeding her these pre-made baby foods because I feel like I should be making all of her food from scratch like I had been (but she won’t eat it usually!). Am I doing the wrong thing by feeding her the Baby Gourmet foods daily?
We have also been giving her small cubes of cheese, puffs, small soft fruit bits, baby crackers & soft chunks of meat or potatoes and she likes to eat those on her own when offered.
Her feeding usually goes like this: Morning bottle (7oz), breakfast 1/2 cup of yogurt, fruit, oatmeal, egg (1 HR later), Lunch bottle (7oz) 3HR later, afternoon lunch 2.5 – 3 hrs later (Baby Gourmet Meal or Fruit/Veg), Dinner 3 hours later, Bed Bottle (6-7oz). Is this “too much” for her? Should I be trying to give her more formula than meals?
I always feel like I am doing something wrong, so I am always trying to improve!!
You sound like you’re doing a great job! At 9 month of age, a lot of babies start to become ready for new foods past purees. She might just be hitting that stage. It sounds like your adding in some table foods, which is wonderful. I’d say most moms have given their kiddos premade foods before, so don’t beat yourself about it! There are a lot of great healthy premade options now. Teaching Your Child to Chew might be another great article to check out 🙂
My baby is 9month she stops eating like before I get worried for that except for breast milk before she do eat alot and she don’t normally drinks alot of water except once in a while hope is normal
Transitioning to table food can be really challenging for some little ones. It can be very stressful to deal with for mama! 9 months is a great age to continue to encourage transitioning to table foods. Sometimes demonstrating eating and chewing some of the foods can be helpful in teaching her what to do. We have a free workshop for transitioning babies to table foods. It might be a great starting point for you. You can save your seat HERE. I hope that helps get you started!
My little one is 9.5 months and we’ve been working on transitioning her from the thicker purées to table food for a couple of weeks now. She’s interested in some foods and will chew it but then always ends up spitting it out without swallowing. She also stopped showing interest in eating purées so she’s actually not eating anything at meals now other than a few puffs that melt. She was such a good purée eater and I’ve noticed that she’s always crying of hunger before naps and waking multiple times during the night, all of which are new. We had a very similar schedule to the one you’ve suggested on the website but I’ve had to add in a formula top up after meals because she seems hungry all the time. Any suggestions?
That sounds tough! It sounds like she is actually chewing the foods before she spits them out, which is great. You might try gently using your finger to place the chewed food back onto her gums before it falls out of her mouth. It may also be beneficial to start “brushing teeth” this can help reduce any sensitivities she might have. We have a post on Spitting Food Out that you might find helpful. I hope that helps give you some ideas!