The Best First Foods for Babies 6 to 9 Months
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You've spent the first six months of your baby's life making sure that they are nourished with breastmilk or formula. As they grow and thrive, you might notice that your little sprout shows you some signs that they are ready to graduate from the bottle or breast to solid foods. If your baby can sit up and hold their head up, that's a great first sign! What's more, if they bring objects to their mouth and show an interest in what you are eating, your curious kiddo might be ready to start eating solid foods.
But what should you feed your baby? Here’s a list of perfect starter foods for your baby from ages 6 to 9 months.
Best Baby Foods at 6 Months
At 6 months, babies may be starting to chew. Though this skill won’t be mastered just yet, they are typically ready to get messy with some mushy, pureed eats—helping them learn about flavor and texture. At this age, the goal is not to satiate your baby with full meals of solid foods but rather to get your child curious and excited about their culinary options.
Because babies are growing so fast, their needs for iron are high to prevent iron-deficiency and support their overall health. Offer your little one iron rich foods like—infant cereal (read up on why you may want to skip rice cereal), well-cooked meat, poultry, mashed beans, and lentils. To keep your baby safe from choking, avoid adding solids like cereal to baby bottles.
Here are some great first foods for Baby to try:
- Infant oat, grain, or barley cereals mixed with breastmilk or formula and spoon-fed to your baby
- Sweet potato puree
- Squash puree
- Pea puree
- Carrot puree
- Mashed banana
- Mashed avocado
- Mashed or pureed beans
- Mashed or pureed lentils
- Pureed meats (beef, chicken, or turkey)
- Soft, falling apart meats (salmon, beef, chicken, turkey)
Best Baby Foods at 7 Months
By 7 months old, your baby will probably be eating more solids but not enough to replace breastmilk or formula as their primary source of food. The goal for this month is to keep introducing solid foods to your baby. What's fun is by 7 months, you can get more creative with mixing flavors and adding textures.
Here are a few nutritious and delicious food combos to try with your baby:
- Peas pureed with breastmilk (or formula), sweet potatoes, or squash
- Kale pureed with blueberry, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, pears, or bananas
- Apples pureed with cauliflower, carrots, pears, prunes, or beets
- Beef pureed with broccoli
- Chicken pureed with carrots and potatoes
- Chickpeas pureed with bananas, apples, or sweet potato
- Sweet potatoes pureed with red bell pepper
Seven months is also the perfect age to start giving your baby a plate, bowl, and plastic utensils so they can begin to practice feeding themselves. If your baby is teething, you can place frozen chunks of fruit in a sieve feeder/mesh bag that allows them to gnaw on the fruit without choking. Learn more about helping your baby use a fork and spoon!
Best Baby Foods at 8 Months
By 8 months, your baby is likely eating more solids and relying a little less on milk as a primary meal (though it’s still where they get the bulk of their nutrition!). And they’re probably having lots of fun learning how to use their hands to feed themselves. Something else to consider: Babies should be exposed to potential allergen foods (like peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and fish) before their first birthdays to help prevent future food allergies. Starting at 6 months of age, peanut butter is safe to introduce as long as you are comfortable giving it to your baby.
In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans says that babies can begin having these foods when they start eating solids. But many families often feel more comfortable waiting to introduce these foods until around this age. Of course, consult with your little one’s pediatrician if you have concerns about potential allergen foods.
Here are some foods to add to your repertoire:
- Whole eggs, scrambled
- Nut butter thinned out with water and mixed with cereal (nut butters are sticky and can cause choking)
- Fully cooked fish, like salmon or tuna
- Full-fat yogurt
Here are some preparation ideas:
- Well-cooked (think over-cooked until falling apart) pasta such as elbows or alphabet shapes
- Mashed meat with mashed or ground vegetables such as peas and potatoes or kale and squash
- Rainbow on a plate: Using tiny pieces of soft, strained, pureed, and mashed food options, look for a variety of colors to offer. Some fun options could include banana, avocado, sweet potato, peas, blueberry, raspberry, cheese, and chicken.
Best Baby Foods at 9 Months
Though there’s a greater variety of foods babies eat now, formula or breastmilk continues to be their primary source of nutrition until age 1. At 9 months old, babies get more comfortable with self-feeding and eating the foods their families enjoy. After all, eating solid foods is a sensory wonderland of texture, smells, and tastes. Not to mention all that fun making messes with those adorably curious fingers.
As you begin to focus on meal planning for your baby, there are few things to keep in mind:
- Babies need four to five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. A serving size for a 9-month-old is less than a quarter cup.
- "Eat the rainbow" is excellent advice because it gives your baby exposure to lots of different fruits, vegetables, grains, and starches.
Here are a few menu ideas to help meal plan for your baby…
Breakfast Ideas for Babies
These morning meals pack a nutritional punch—and don’t forget to check out all of our favorite breakfast ideas for babies:
- Soft fresh fruit cut up in small pieces (think: banana, raspberries, or blueberries)
- Whole-grain waffles or pancakes
- Unsweetened oatmeal made with breastmilk or formula combined with cut-up and cooked apples and pears or banana slices. (It is essential to steam the apples or pears to make them soft enough for your baby to mash with their gums.)
- Full-fat yogurt mixed with mashed or pureed berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, or raspberries
- Soft scrambled eggs
- Veggie frittata
Lunch Ideas for Babies
- Spread hummus on soft crackers or bread
- Grilled cheese sandwich with cooled tomato soup
- Macaroni and cheese with cooked veggies like peas and carrots mixed in
- Pizza bites with chopped bits of spinach in the sauce and melted shredded cheese
- Quesadilla made with pureed spinach, squash, or beans
Snack Ideas for Babies
Babies this young won’t likely need to snack too much (remember, breastmilk or formula will provide the majority of your little one’s nutrition). Still, it’s not a bad idea to have snacks on hand for when your mini muncher needs something to eat that’s not quite a meal. A few baby snack ideas:
- Apple and carrot slaw
- Cheese slices
- Full-fat plain yogurt
- Hard-boiled egg
- Avocado slices
- Muffins made with fruits, veggies, and/or whole grains
- Fruit and veggie pouches
- Sugar-free, whole-grain cereal, like plain Cheerios
Dinner Ideas for Babies
To help your baby get and stay excited about eating solid foods, serve a version of whatever the family is having for dinner. Remember to steam or mash, grind or chop foods into appropriate softness and sizes to prevent choking. Some baby dinner ideas:
- Pasta with softened vegetables
- Well-cooked rice, soft veggies, and chicken
- Baked sweet potato with butter or cheese
- Beans or lentils served with rice and veggies
- Flaky fish served with steamed zucchini
There are endless variations on what you can serve your baby for dinner. As long as your baby is safe and happy, try to encourage lots of food exploration!
You must not feed any child under the age of 1 year honey, cow’s milk, juice, hard foods like candy, raw vegetables, popcorn, or sticky foods like peanut butter, as these each present choking hazards.
Learn more about feeding your baby:
- Unlocking Opportunities in Food Design for Infants, Children, and the Elderly: Understanding Milestones in Chewing and Swallowing Across the Lifespan for New Innovations. Journal of Texture Studies, August 2017
- Complementary Feeding: A Position Paper by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) Committee on Nutrition, Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, January 2017
- Infant Formula Feeding Practices Associated With Rapid Weight Gain: A Systematic Review, Maternal & Child Nutrition, July 2018
- Solid Food Introduction and the Development of Food Allergies, Nutrients, November 2018
- US Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.