When your baby reaches around nine months, things really get interesting! Emotionally you may find your little one to be clingy with primary caregivers and apprehensive or afraid of strangers. She probably understands the word “no,” and has started making word-like sounds such as “bababa” and “mamama” on the path to developing her new vocabulary. Physically, she’s gaining new skills too.
Although all babies develop at their own speed, this is a time of movement. Your baby will pull him/herself up, get into a sitting position by him/herself and eventually start crawling. You’re about to have a new little shadow! Both gross and fine motor skills are getting stronger and more defined. Baby can pass items from hand to hand, bring toys to her mouth and pick up smaller objects by pinching. These new skills are perfect for self-feeding training!
Help your child master new self-feeding skills.
More than ever your baby will want to be an active part of mealtime. He will be watching your every move and doing his best to mimic family members in both sounds and actions. Baby-led weaning focuses on allowing your baby to learn to feed themselves with regular food instead of liquid cereals and purees. This takes a burden off of busy parents by removing the need to prepare special foods. Instead, you can serve baby-friendly versions of whatever the rest of the family is eating.
Here’s how to put your baby’s new skills into practice with self-feeding tips for 9-month-olds!
1. Plate baby’s meal before you spice. Babies have new palates and have no need for heavy spices, sugar, salt, or fats. Your family may prefer buttered, seasoned steamed vegetables, but your baby will like her plain version just as much!
2. Cover-up. Learning to feed yourself is messy business! Invest in high quality, easy to clean bibs. We created our Roll & Lock Silicone Bib, especially for self-feeders. It’s wide, extra-long, and has a deep pocket to catch all the mess. All-natural silicone is comfy for babies and won’t stain like fabric bibs. Just toss in your dishwasher’s top rack to clean. Learn more about why parents prefer our Miniware bibs here!
3. Choose baby-safe finger foods. With her new pinching skills, your baby can enjoy a wider variety of safe finger foods. Crunchy foods like cereals and light, flaky crackers break down easily in the baby’s mouth to prevent choking. Fruits and vegetables should be firm enough to grasp but mash easily with a fork. Good foods to practice pinching skills on include well-cooked noodles, ripe banana chunks, soft tofu, peas, and cereal O’s.
Tip: If your baby is having a hard time grasping slippery foods like fruit, grind up cereal O’s into a powder and coat the chunks to give him a better grip!
4. Keep it simple. Offer your baby just a few pieces of food at a time. He won’t become overwhelmed and possibly cranky and it cuts down on the mess!
5. Introduce baby cutlery. Your baby is absorbing everything around her, including how and what you eat! At first they won’t be much use to her, but help her get used to chunky, baby-friendly utensils and soon she’ll be mimicking your scooping and spearing and on her way to feeding herself with a fork and spoon. Miniware’s My First Cutlery set is made of plant-based PLA with rounded, soft edge that feels good on baby’s gums, and features chunky handles for a sure-grip for little hands.