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By Health Promotion Board in collaboration with A/Prof Mary Daniel Lourdes, Head & Senior Consultant, Clinical Services, Department of Child Development, KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

It’s been 9 months, and junior might already be a pro at eating his solid meals. You might have already started him on thicker purees and food with coarser texture, but he isn’t quite ready for chopped or chunky food yet, so stick to the mashes and purees for the time being.

Your baby still needs his milk feeds, although the time might be ripe to try some solid food snacks if you haven’t already done so.

Related: Breastfeeding Advice from Experts

Recommended Number of Servings (9 months)

A friendly reminder that these numbers are only a recommendation. Let your baby decide how much he wants to eat and don’t force him to finish everything!

Brown rice and wholemeal bread Fruit Vegetables Meat and others Milk (breast/formula)
1-2½½½500-750ml

By now, mummy and daddy are solid food pros. You know the drill: wholegrain, veggie, meat and fruit. You’ve experimented with different ingredients and let your baby try out different flavours and textures (both smooth and slightly less smooth). So, what’s new?

Read on for new ideas on what you can feed your 9-month-old little one, and ways you can make mealtime more appealing for both the baby and you.

Related: Raising Healthy Kids

More Yummy Ideas for Mummy and Daddy

Snack attack

It’s time to try feeding your baby solid snacks. How exciting! Besides the usual mashed apple, banana, or pear, you can try branching out to “finger food”—tiny morsels that your little one can grab and put into his mouth. Some examples might be steamed (and cooled) sweet potato, diced, or small bits of mango.

The idea is to let your baby “play” with his food by grabbing it and mashing it between his gums, and learn how to feed himself.

Here are some pointers to remember when experimenting with finger foods:

  • Do make sure the foods are soft and can be easily mashed between fingers or gums—nothing that might pose a choking hazard.
  • Start your baby out with small, finely diced food. About the size of a fingertip would be perfect. Once his motor skills are more developed, try having him pick up pea-sized foods.
  • Sit baby upright in his high chair to minimise risk of choking and keep your eyes on him when he eats!
  • Food no-nos: raw and hard veggies, whole fruit (e.g. grapes), nuts or seeds, chunks of meat, or food that gums together (e.g. white bread).
  • Lay the finger food out on your child’s high chair tray and let him freely explore.

Finger foods can help your baby develop his “pincer grasp”, where he picks up items between his thumb and index finger (or other fingers if he’s just starting out). Have patience, as your baby might make a mess with the food when he’s first testing out his new skill!

Related: Nutrition for Your Toddler

More experiments with food

Continue expanding the menu. Here are some ideas:

  • Grains: oats, barley, millet, quinoa, potato, sweet potato, and even couscous
  • Veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, watercress, kale, bok choy, chye sim, butternut squash, brinjal, corn, mushroom
  • Fruit: mango, papaya, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, rock melon, honeydew, kiwi, avocado
  • Meat/others: lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, fish (e.g. salmon and cod), poultry (e.g. duck and turkey), pork, veal, beef, egg yolk (fully cooked)

Related: Shopping for Fruit and Vegetables


Add a pinch of zest

We do not recommend adding seasonings like salt, sugar, and oil into your baby’s food, but some more adventurous mummies and daddies may wish to try herbs and spices! Do start out with the milder ones—don’t go throwing chilli padi into that puree.

Some spices to start with include pepper, cinnamon, ginger, minced onion or onion powder, minced garlic or garlic powder, dill, lemon zest, rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, and basil.

They’re a good way to change up a meal without having to switch ingredients. For example, chicken prepared with garlic and pepper will taste drastically different from chicken prepared with rosemary.

Introduce new flavours one at a time, 3 to 4 days apart and in tiny amounts. Watch out for allergic reactions and take your baby to the doctor if you spot any signs (e.g. swelling, wheezing, rashes).

Related: Spice Up Your Life: Dried and Tested

Try These Solid Meals!

Breakfast

  • Oat cereal with apple and butternut squash puree
  • Brown rice cereal mixed with mashed avocado

Lunch/Dinner

  • Couscous puree with mashed pumpkin and mashed salmon (perhaps flavoured with dill and lemon zest), a tablespoonful of mashed mango
  • Mash potato and minced beef and tomato puree (perhaps flavoured with pepper, rosemary and oregano), quarter of a pear, scrapes
  • Brown rice porridge with bok choy puree and cod (perhaps with minced garlic for taste)

Related: Harness the Goodness of Fruit and Vegetables

Friendly Reminders for Mum and Dad

6 to 9 months: smooth, soft and fine texture

When you first start your baby on solids, the food you feed him should be smooth, soft, and fine in texture. As the little one grows older and gets better at chewing, you can gradually feed him food that is thicker and coarser—for example, a thicker puree.

Related: Sale of Infant Foods Ethics Committee Singapore (SIFECS) Code of Ethics



Food prep pointers

If you’re making your own baby food, make sure to prepare it without oil. Some great cooking methods are steaming, boiling, baking, or microwaving. No stir-frying or grilling yet for the little one! Remember to skip the sugar, salt and any other seasonings (e.g. soy sauce) when preparing the meals.

Related: From Goreng to Grill: Healthier Cooking Methods

Be patient

If your baby isn’t interested in a certain food, do not force it. There’s also no need to force your child to finish everything on his plate! Stop feeding him if he rejects the food, and try again during the next meal. Right now, your baby knows best about how much he wants to eat.

Related: Children See, Children Do

What makes 1 serving?

​Brown rice and wholemeal bread

½ bowl of brown rice/rice (100g)
½ bowl of noodles, spaghetti or beehoon (100g)
1 large potato (180g)

​Fruit

1 small apple, orange, pear or mango (130g)
1 wedge pineapple, papaya or watermelon (130g)
1 medium banana

​Vegetable

¾ mug or 1 small rice bowl of cooked vegetables (100g)
¼ plate of vegetables

​Meat and others

1 palm-sized piece of fish, lean meat or skinless poultry (90g)
2 small blocks of soft beancurd (170g)
¾ cup or 1 small rice bowl of cooked pulses (e.g. lentils) (120g)


For more information on early nutrition and weaning recipes for your little one, visit Early Childhood Nutrition.


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References

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  2. Evonne Lack. (2017, September). Baby Food Revolution: New Rules for Feeding Your Baby. Retrieved November 2018 from https://www.babycenter.com/0_baby-food-revolution-new-rules-for-feeding-your-baby_10320504.bc
  3. Whole Grains for Baby Food—Whole Grain Options for Baby Food Recipes. Retrieved November 2018 from http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/grains-for-baby-food.htm
  4. Heidi Murkoff and the What to Expect editorial team. (2015, January 29). Recommended Carbs for Toddlers. Retrieved November 2018 from https://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/eating-basics/lowdown-on-carbs.aspx
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  13. Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD. (2018, June). Finger Foods for Babies. Retrieved November 2018 from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/finger-foods.html#catbehavior
  14. Finger Food Size Guide and a Really Useful Banana Hack! Retrieved November 2018 from http://friendlyfirstfoods.co.uk/finger-food-size-guide-really-useful-banana-hack/
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