By the ninth month, feeding time is becoming a great time for your baby to learn to feed themselves. Since your baby is interested in spoons and cups, give them extra ones to bang with while you feed him or her with another spoon. If you are anything like me you will be searching every internet site, social media site, and other platforms to find out what to feed your baby and how you should introduce it. This can be a daunting time for both you and your baby. Just try to make it fun and try all types of food to see the different facial expressions your baby makes.
When I first gave Lucia, my eldest girl, lemon she screwed up her face, eyes watered and she licked her lips … I thought oh no I couldn’t do that to my baby! And she grabbed for more and more. It was a funny wee moment and something I won’t forget. I also used to read about different foods to help with teething (broccoli florets) and for sleeping (banana). Different combinations of food I would never have thought of, like avocado and banana mashed up! All three of my babies loved this.
Always remember when you start to wean your baby use plastic bowls. Your baby may be as independent as mine were. They wanted to grab the bowl and a few of my favourites landed with a crash on the ground! It didn’t take me long to realise I needed some plastic bowls! Soon your dishwasher will be no longer matching, pristinely clean, with nicely stacked Denby dishes. It will be filled with rainbow coloured inexpensive plastic bowls and sippy cups spilling out of every cupboard. And some nights when your friends pop over you may forget to use your nice dishes and produce a plate with a cartoon on it. But sure isn’t that the fun of parenthood. We all know in a few years we can get our houses back to normal, tidy neat homes that we dream about!
When your baby is more independent and less interested in your feeding, give him or her some bits of food to pick up and put in their mouth themselves. While your child is occupied with that, you can spoon the messier foods into their little mouths. At this stage, you might decide to either spoon-feed or go down the route of baby-led feeding. Both of which is parent’s preference. You can also combine feeding as I have done myself. I found this best as I knew my child was getting enough food to fill her. Also, she was getting to try textures of different foods and learning to chew chunky foods. All of which is a learning curve for you and your baby.
The bits of food your baby is holding isn’t just to keep her happy. A baby of nine months or so really can feed herself if you make her a meal or a snack of bits of food – finger foods. With finger foods be sure they are soft enough and not likely to break off into large chunks as to cause choking.
In the beginning, your baby will have some trouble holding onto the food in order to get it into her mouth. You will have fun watching your baby learn how to grasp the food and automatically put it into their little mouths. More food will be on the floor than in their mouths but it’s all about learning and tasting. It’s a good idea to put a wipe-clean mat under the highchair so you have less tidying or cleaning up to do. I know I spent more time on the floor picking up the bits my girls missed!
In your baby’s ninth month, they will start to discover that they are an individual and separate from their parents. This is a necessary part of development and it happens to every baby. But separation is a struggle which your child has to resolve for themselves.
Finger foods offer your baby a choice, and a chance to do things for themselves! Self-feeding is a big milestone in your little one’s development. It encourages your baby to explore through the senses of touch, taste, sight, and smell. Scatter a few pieces of suitable food on a tray or bowl in front of your baby and watch in amazement! Another amazing milestone for parents to watch and enjoy!