By 7-9 months of age, a baby should be eating a range of mashed foods and some finger foods, and be offered three meals a day, as well as having breast milk or infant formula feeds.
Babies at this age should be able to manage mashed food with some soft lumps in it.
It is important that babies learn to feed themselves, and most will be very keen to take an active part in mealtimes. Babies need to learn to bite off small, soft lumps of food, manage them in the mouth and swallow them. Also, picking up foods helps a child to develop manual coordination and dexterity, and learning about textures is an important part of development.
Finger foods for 7-9 month olds should be soft, so that babies can start to bite pieces of food in their mouth. Cut soft foods into manageable-sized pieces, making sure there are no stringy bits, skin or pips. Soft finger foods suitable at this age include the following: • Soft fruit such as melon, mango, kiwi, banana, peach, or canned fruits in juice (drained) • Cooked vegetables such as carrot, parsnip, green beans, snow peas or red pepper • Cooked starchy foods such as potato, sweet potato or pasta pieces. It is important not to worry about portion sizes at this age. There will be mess, there will be days when babies eat a lot less than others, and some foods may be rejected completely the first time they are offered. Offering a variety of the example meals and finger foods shown on pages 41-54 will, alongside breastmilk or infant formula and any supplements recommended, provide an average 7-9 month old baby with the energy and nutrients they need for growth and activity. Never force babies to eat, and accept that learning to eat is part of overall development. We don’t force babies to crawl at a certain age, and babies will vary in the speed at which they accept new foods and food textures. It is not a race.
The Golden Rules: • Offer simple and unprocessed foods. • Let baby get involved in the eating experience. • Avoid ultra-processed foods.
Encouraging drinking from a cup Infants should be encouraged to drink from an open cup and can be offered sips of water from a small baby cup or an open-handled cup at mealtimes. The only drinks that are recommended for 7-9 month olds are breastmilk or an appropriate infant formula, and water.