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.
More Baby Food and Table Food Ideas
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.