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As your baby enters the seven- to nine-month age bracket, you’ll find him or her becoming more active. Grasping at objects, rolling on the stomach, crawling (a little bit at first, and then a lot), recognising known faces, sounds and tastes—all of this is becoming prominent now. This also means that your baby is thriving and needs more nutrition every day. 

It’s quite likely that you have already introduced solid foods to your baby at the age of six months, and started with the best baby foods for six-month-old babies like applesauce, banana, pureed vegetables and hardboiled and pureed egg yolks, too. (Read more: Nutrition in egg yolks versus egg whites)

Your baby is likely to take time to adjust to eating solid foods, and until the weaning process is complete, you’ll also have to breastfeed your baby to a large extent.

Breastfeeding at this stage is important because breast milk contains antibodies that are necessary for your baby’s immune system, especially until all the important vaccinations are given. But this does not mean that you can’t introduce more and more solid foods for your baby. In fact, you should try new fruits, vegetables, foods rich in proteins, dairy products and grains. You can gradually introduce water to your baby, too. Just keep in mind that you have to provide ample gaps between the introduction of two new foods to ensure that your baby doesn’t have an allergic reaction.

The things to absolutely avoid include cow's milk (it can cause allergy in children under one year of age), sugar, sugary drinks, foods with preservatives and honey. You can add a little bit of salt to your baby's food, but try to avoid it as they really can't tell the difference at this stage—babies should not have more than one gram of salt a day till they are 12 months old.

Here’s everything you need to know about the best foods for a seven- to nine-month-old baby.

  1. Why breastfeeding is still vital
  2. Signs your 7-9 month old baby is ready for more solid foods
  3. How much does your 7-9 month old baby need to eat daily?
  4. Feeding your 7-9 month old baby
  5. Do’s and don’ts for 7-9 months old baby
  6. Doctors for Best foods for a 7 to 9 month old baby

Knowing when to stop breastfeeding your baby is important, but that does not mean you deprive the baby or force him or her to eat solid foods. Weaning is a delicate and long process, and you’ll have to continue breastfeeding your baby until it’s complete. At the same time, it’s very important to remember that your baby depends on breast milk antibodies for protection against all types of diseases until his or her immunizations are done.

Read more: Diet for breastfeeding mothers

This is the reason why paediatricians recommend that babies be breastfed throughout the first year, which is roughly the time till when the antibodies also last in breast milk. If you’re a working woman or have a disease that stops you from breastfeeding the baby directly, you could use a breast pump to express the milk and store it properly to feed your baby. During the period between the seventh and ninth month, your baby will require roughly three to four breast milk feedings in a day.

While you should continue to breastfeed your baby, make sure you introduce half a tablespoon of solid foods that are mashed or pureed at least twice a day. This way, the baby will learn to eat solid foods better and you too will know what suits your baby and what doesn’t. It’s also very important to eat your own food in front of the baby at this stage, because this will pique his or her curiosity about solid foods. The baby is likely to give the following signs to indicate that he or she is interested in trying out more and more solid foods:

  • Eating with the fingers
  • Reaching for a plate or spoon to eat from it
  • May start holding spoons or cups to mimic your feeding habits
  • Will want to eat finger foods you are eating in front of him or her

Your baby might need to eat the following amounts of food, including breast milk, every day:

  • Breast milk or infant formula: three or four feedings per day
  • Infant cereals: two to four tablespoons
  • Fruits or vegetables: two to four tablespoons
  • Water: 90 ml
  • Proteins or dairy products: one to two tablespoons

These are the maximum estimates made by the Cleveland Clinic in the US. If your baby eats less or more than these amounts, there should be nothing to worry about. Still, you know your baby best. If you are concerned about something, or if your baby's food requirements change suddenly, consult your paediatrician.

The baby will continue to need three-four sessions of breastfeeding in any case, so this will remain the main source of nutrition at this stage. Remember not to actively discourage your baby from breastfeeding in the hopes that it’ll speed up the weaning process.

This is the right time to be introducing a wide variety of foods to the baby with a range of nutrients. Since breastmilk is not the best source of iron, you should ensure that the first solid foods you introduce to the baby are rich in this vital nutrient. It’s also important to remember that the solid foods you introduce to the baby cannot be consumed by the baby unless they are mashed or pureed, and that you should offer very little food to the baby in the beginning. 

Mixing a little breast milk or formula milk to make the purees and mashes thinner at this stage is a good idea, and it’ll also ensure that your baby recognises at least a bit of the flavour. The taste your baby develops for solid foods in these early months will influence his or her eating habits for the rest of their life, which is why it’s important to introduce vegetables before fruits, avoid sugar and excess salt, and eat fresh foods instead of bottled or packaged ones. You can introduce the following foods to your baby during these months:

  1. Vegetables for your 7-9 month old baby
  2. Fruits for your 7-9 month old baby
  3. Cereals and grains for your 7-9 month old baby
  4. Protein foods for your 7-9 month old baby
  5. Dairy products for your 7-9 month old baby

Vegetables for your 7-9 month old baby

All vegetables are rich in dietary fibre, folate (vitamin B9), vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, which makes all of them perfect for your growing baby’s nutritional needs. It’s best to cook and mash the vegetables before offering them to your baby, and if the peel is too fibrous, you should strain it or remove it as well. This might make the veggies less nutritious, but it’s still enough for your baby. The following are some veggies you can boil, mash and feed your baby:

Fruits for your 7-9 month old baby

Fruits have a natural sweetness which babies absolutely love, which is why a lot of them prefer to eat fruits over vegetables during these months. Just like vegetables, fruits are also rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The vitamins in fruits are quite essential for a growing baby, which is why you should introduce the following fruits to your baby in mashed or pureed forms:

Cereals and grains for your 7-9 month old baby

Cereals and grains are storehouses of carbohydrates, fibre, minerals and vitamins, as well as antioxidants. Introducing these to your baby in mashed or pureed forms at this stage is a good idea because your baby needs a lot of energy to grow. The following cereals and grains can be added to your baby’s diet:

  • Rice
  • Porridge
  • Oats
  • Oatmeal
  • Cornmeal
  • Maize
  • Millets
  • Quinoa
  • Bread
  • Chapati

Protein foods for your 7-9 month old baby

Proteins are the building blocks of life, and your baby needs plenty of those. Apart from providing all essential amino acids, protein-rich foods also have high iron and zinc content, which your baby needs more of. Introduce the following foods to your baby during these months:

  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Fish (with low or no mercury content)
  • Pulses
  • Tofu
  • Dairy products

Dairy products for your 7-9 month old baby

A lot of babies tend to have cow’s milk protein allergy, so it may not be the best idea to introduce cow’s milk before the year is up. In fact, it’s best not to give the baby milk to drink from a bottle or cup before 12 months of age, unless it’s formula milk or breast milk. However, dairy products are full of proteins and minerals like calcium and magnesium. So, you should try to introduce the following unsweetened dairy products to the baby with some caution, and especially after ensuring that they’re made with pasteurized milk only:

Introducing new foods to your baby can be exciting, and it definitely makes for amazing pictures and memories. But you need to take all possible precautions to ensure that these memories don’t turn sour as babies can have severe reactions to certain foods. Keep the following things in mind while feeding a seven- to nine-month-old baby.

  • Honey can cause botulism and should not be given to the baby before he or she turns one year old.
  • Cow’s milk proteins can be difficult to digest and babies can develop allergies to cow's milk. Hence, it’s best not to introduce cow’s milk to the baby before a year is up.
  • Introducing water at this age is a good thing, but don’t force the baby to drink too much of it. He or she will get enough fluids from breast milk, and the introduction of water at this age is to get them used to the taste rather than to quench thirst.
  • Always maintain a gap between the introduction of two new solid foods—this will give you time to figure out if your baby has any food allergies.
  • Always use a soft-edged spoon to feed the baby as sharp edges can injure the mouth.
Dr. Rajesh Gangrade

Dr. Rajesh Gangrade

Pediatrics
20 Years of Experience

Dr. Yeeshu Singh Sudan

Dr. Yeeshu Singh Sudan

Pediatrics
14 Years of Experience

Dr. Veena Raghunathan

Dr. Veena Raghunathan

Pediatrics
16 Years of Experience

Dr. Sunit Chandra Singhi

Dr. Sunit Chandra Singhi

Pediatrics
49 Years of Experience

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References

  1. Start4Life. National Health Service [Internet]. Hertfordshire. UK; What to feed your baby
  2. Stanford Children's Health: Lucile Packard Children's Hospital [Internet], Stanford. USA; Feeding Guide for the First Year
  3. United Nations Children Fund [Internet] United Nations Organization. New York. United States; Feeding your baby: 6–12 months
  4. Cleveland Clinic. [Internet]. Cleveland. Ohio; Feeding Your Baby: The First Year
  5. Prell, Christine. et al. Breastfeeding and Complementary Feeding. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2016 Jun; 113(25): 435–444. PMID: 27397020
  6. Critch, Jeffrey N. Nutrition for healthy term infants, six to 24 months: An overview. Paediatr Child Health. 2014 Dec; 19(10): 547–549. PMID: 25587235
  7. Stuebe, Alison. The Risks of Not Breastfeeding for Mothers and Infants. Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Fall; 2(4): 222–231. PMID: 20111658
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