You’re doing your best to fill that cute little belly with a variety of healthy baby foods, and your baby may already be exploring bites from the family meals. Great job! Eventually your little one will ditch the mashed foods completely, but he needs your help to get there.
Here are 2 of the most important things you need to know about feeding your older baby and providing nutritious baby drinks.
By 9 months, your baby is probably eating a combination of mashed and finger foods. Now is the time to introduce dishes from the family table so everyone is eating the same thing. Have your little one start eating some of the same foods as the rest of the family. You might need to make some adjustments, like cutting up the food a little more or making sure the foods are soft enough to chew. This teaches your baby that family meals are where everyone eats the same foods and enjoys each other’s company.
Be patient. It's important to follow your baby’s readiness signs, aiming to transition to family meals by 1 year of age. Let his taste buds get used to the good stuff—as in good for him. By keeping the desserts and sweets out of sight for now, you’re helping your child grow into a healthy eater.
Breastmilk or iron-fortified formula will continue to provide your baby’s essential nutrition, but you can start getting him ready to drink from an open cup with a few sips of water at mealtimes (with your help of course). It’s good practice for your baby’s developmental growth, and he will probably get a kick out of it too!
It may be tempting to offer your child juice, but remember even 100% juice contains as much sugar as soda. And all that sugar can lead to diarrhea, diaper rash and tooth decay—not to mention a preference for sweet drinks. If you are already giving your baby juice, we recommend watering it down (with more water and less juice each time), and serving it only in an open cup with meals (not in the sippy because it's even worse for his teeth).
As for other kinds of milk—cow’s milk, almond milk, soy milk, etc.—your baby’s digestive system is still not ready to handle them. Stick to breastmilk or iron-fortified formula until after his first birthday.
For more information on drinks for your baby, click here.