Healthy Foods For Growing Children: Nine To 12 Months

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Finger Foods

When your baby is about nine months old, let her feed herself many different foods. Offer finger foods as snacks and with meals.

You Will Know Your Baby Is Ready For Finger Foods When She:

  • Sits up straight in the highchair.
  • Holds food with her hands.
  • Moves food from her hands to her mouth.

Here Are Some Finger Foods To Try:

  • Soft, crumbly cheese cubes or shredded cheese
  • Very soft fruit, such as ripe bananas, pears, peaches, kiwi, and cantaloupe.
  • Cooked vegetables cut into strips.
  • Dry toast strips, rice cakes, cooked pasta.
  • Unsalted crackers or Melba toast.
  • Unsweetened adult cereal, such as oat rings.
  • Cooked beans or tofu.

DO NOT GIVE your baby the following finger foods; they could cause your baby to choke:

  • Candies.
  • Chewing gum.
  • Whole nuts, raisins, berries, grapes or olives.
  • Hard, raw vegetables and fruit.
  • Hot dogs or sausages, unless cut into strips.
  • Popcorn.

Family Foods

When your baby is nine months old, there are many soft family foods you can cut up or chop for her, for example: cooked vegetables, pasta, or mashed fruit. Family foods offer your baby more texture than commercial baby foods, and more variety of tastes. Commercial baby foods are convenient, but most family meals can be adapted for toddlers.

Infant cereal is an exception. It is a good idea to continue to use it as a breakfast food for toddlers. Infant cereal is enriched with high levels of iron and other important nutrients to support healthy growth and development.

As your baby grows, give her foods that are more lumpy. Your baby will enjoy picking up food with her fingers and feeding herself.

By the time a baby is a year old, she should be eating a mixed diet of table foods, including foods from the four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating. At meal times, you may now give your baby solid foods before she has her milk.

Milk Products

Milk to drink is still an important part of your baby’s diet. You can also start giving your baby a milk product each day once she is eating a variety of grain products, vegetables, fruits and protein-rich foods. Plain yogurt, milk pudding and cottage cheese are good choices.


Do not give your baby low-fat yogurts or yogurts with honey added.


Start with soft, fresh cheese or cheese slices. Then give other types of cheese, such as cheddar or mozzarella. Hard cheese can be grated or cut into thin slices.


You can give your baby homogenized (homo) cow’s milk when she is nine to 12 months old – if she is eating a variety of other foods such as breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats and alternatives, and egg yolks. Wait until your child is at least two years old before you give her two per cent milk.

If you do not use cow’s milk, give your baby soy infant formula instead. Do not give your baby regular fortified soy beverages – these are too low in fat for your baby. Do not give your baby unfortified soy beverages, rice beverages or other vegetarian drinks to replace breast milk or formula. They do not contain enough protein or calcium to help your baby grow. Tofu, fish with soft bones, and beans are other good sources of calcium.

Content provided by The Canadian Baby & Child Care Encyclopedia

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