18 answers

Tips on Feeding an Enthusiastic 9 Month Old

My daughter loves to eat. I always start her out with cereal, which she wolfs down with no problems. After her cereal, I move on to her fruits and veggies. She likes them too, but for some reason she loves to wave her arms around in the air when I'm trying to feed them to her, almost like she's "running interference." It's really tough to get anything in her mouth - everything winds up on her, me, and the floor rather than inside of her. I know, I know - babies are messy eaters, but this is just starting to get out of hand. I don't encourage the behavior and try to keep a straight face in case she's doing it to be funny or to get a rise out of me. I know it's not that she's full or doesn't like the food because she will eat toast and other finger foods afterwards. It's not like she's pushing the spoon away, she just waves her hands around like she's excited. She also eats finger foods that I have trouble getting her to eat from a spoon - like she'll eat cut up avocado, but not mashed up avocado. Is it time to move her completely to chopped fruits/veggies?? I just feel like it's really early for that (not to mention I have a freezer FULL of baby food). It's just weird to me that she'll eat her cereal from a spoon just fine. Any ideas?

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Featured Answers

I've dealt with the same thing with my daughter who is now two. She needed some independence but yet she still needed some help at that age. She is still like that today with some foods. I use to try and give her apple bits but she would throw them or try to stuff them in her mouth all at once, so then under close supervision I gave her an apple wedge and she slowly and quietly chewed on it. It blew me out of the water. At times it seemed frustrating because I 'hated' cleaning up the mess but in the end meal times were much more relaxing. I now have a 9 month old and she is beginning to self feed and she just loves picking up small pieces of bread. Have you given her a drink after the cereal maybe it makes her thirsty. Maybe putting little amounts on her tray at a time will help.Babies love colors so maybe the colorful vegetables make her excited and she wants to hold them. I hope this may help you in some way.

When I used to be an infant teacher (and with my own kids), I always gave them a spoon to hold too... then they think they're part of the action, and may be a little more willing to eat.

More Answers

E.,

That's great she is so excited about eating :) I agree with Simone, try giving her something to hold. Her own spoon might help, especially if she is wanting to feed herself.

Good luck!
Jess

Give her a spoon! Also let her have finger foods, diced soft fruits, cheerio's, toast, waffles, shredded meats. My boys ate homemade baby foods and I always gave them a spoon of thier own. By 9 months they were pretty much on table foods and by a year they had mastered using a spoon and fork.

The best practice is to let her do it. Give her a spoon when you are feeding her, and let her have finger foods. She can still be eating the freezer full of baby foods you've made for her, but she is big enough to experiment with finger foods too!

did you tell them to spot eating to much thankyou B.

E.,

She definately wants to feed herself. I have a 9 month old and the only baby food she still eats is YoBaby yogurt and the baby cereal mixed with 100% fruit juice or formula. Last night she had beef stew for dinner. You've got to keep her hands busy. Make sure there is ALWAYS finger food available. Let her feed herself and you can slip in a spoonful of something when she is concentrating on picking up something with her fingers. She can absolutely eat chopped fruits and veggies as long as they are canned or cooked. I wouldn't bother with the Gerber Graduates stuff, (except for traveling/restaurants.) It is really expensive and it isn't any different than what comes in the canned isle of the store. Just make sure it is low sodium veggies and fruit canned in juice, not syrup.

I would also purchase a vinyl tablecloth or drop cloth from the paint supply section of the store and put it under her high chair or booster seat. It's gonna be messy for a while. After every meal, just keep saying, "This too shall pass." :)

Good luck,
S.

My son likes to do the hand-thing, too, and we've found that if we put something in his hands (biter biscuit, his own spoon, etc.), we can usually get spoonfuls in around it. We keep going back and forth between the baby food, mashed, and chunked stuff, but if you're looking for something to use that babyfood on, you could use it to thicken your cereal and get a 2-fer that way. My guy is not that into fruits and veggies, so I pour rice cereal (which he likes) right into the container of strained whatever, make a thick and chunky paste, and that seems to work. Might be one way to use up that stock. Another idea is to add those purees into soups, mac & cheese, french toast batter, etc. (I personally love strained carrots in pasta with some cheese--looks bright orange like the boxed stuff, but WAY better for you.)

Hi E., This is pretty typical of that age. My 9 month old (my second daughter) is doing the same thing. Trying giving her finger foods and a spoon of her own at the same time. If that doesn't do the trick, just put her hands down on the tray and gently tell her no every time she swings at the spoon. She soon figure it out. Then she'll move on to throwing food! It's always something!

C.

WOW E., I feel like I could have posted this myself! Our 9 month old does the SAME THING!! Here is what I started to do this past week... I put out finger food first, as she is eating them, I slowly offer the rest of her foods (typically I started mixing cereal with fruits or veggies). Then after I know she has gotten a good amount in her I may put out other finger foods, but a very small amount.
I too am using up my freezer baby food... and so far this new routine has been working for us in order to do that. It does take time but it has not been such a mess either. I was tired of cleaning the ceiling (and I AM NOT JOKING)!!
Good luck!!
R.

Sounds like she's playing with you. Gently hold her hands down as you spoon in the food, then release them and let her celebrate! Alternate with bites of finger food. It may take awhile to use up all the baby food, but when she's a little older and can handle the spoon herself you can serve it. There's no magic age for finger food over baby food. My 16 mo. old still likes both.

SAHM of seven

As a mom that's been there, I agree entirely. If you have an extra spoon, let her hold that and I would either mix the fruits/veggies in with the cereal or start with those. When the food starts getting messy, I would read it as she's done eating....at least for now. If she's doing fine with weight, I wouldn't hesitate to cut her meals short, especially if she's not a willing participant. You can always talk to your pediatrician too esp if weight is an issue. Best of luck. Just remember, this stage will also end!

I've dealt with the same thing with my daughter who is now two. She needed some independence but yet she still needed some help at that age. She is still like that today with some foods. I use to try and give her apple bits but she would throw them or try to stuff them in her mouth all at once, so then under close supervision I gave her an apple wedge and she slowly and quietly chewed on it. It blew me out of the water. At times it seemed frustrating because I 'hated' cleaning up the mess but in the end meal times were much more relaxing. I now have a 9 month old and she is beginning to self feed and she just loves picking up small pieces of bread. Have you given her a drink after the cereal maybe it makes her thirsty. Maybe putting little amounts on her tray at a time will help.Babies love colors so maybe the colorful vegetables make her excited and she wants to hold them. I hope this may help you in some way.

Try mixing your veggies or fruit in with the cereal. My 7 month old daughter doesn't have a very long attention span and I've found that if I mix her veggies in with the cereal I can be sure she gets her veggies before she loses interest.

I agree with the other ladies! Try giving her something to hold. I would also start mixing some of the purees with her cereal! Make eating time shorter! She may be getting bored with it taking too long! I know by 9 months, my boys could barely sit still long enough to change their diapers! LOL!

I had to laugh a little as I read your post--you're right, babies ARE messy eaters! My son it THE PICKEST eater you will ever meet, he is 6 years old now and still absolutely ridiculous about what he will and will not eat. That being said, my daughter, she is 11 months now and will eat just about anything I give her, but she does have a preference for certain textures and it sounds like yours does too!

Perhaps she is OK with the cereal, but the other fruits/veggies that are pureed are not to her liking? The fact that she's pretty interested in finger foods tells me that she would prefer to explore her food options this way. My daughter will eat oatmeal and yogurt from a spoon, but no other baby food. I try to give her whatever I'm eating so she can develop her pallet and at the same time, explore new foods. Also, maybe you could have two spoons, one for your daughter (with a little food on it) and one for you to feed her. That way she will at least be distracted enough for you to get the food in her mouth!

I wish you all the best and hope this helps a little :).

Hi E., I'm a mother a 4 children and it sounds kind of like your daughter just losses the attention span for sitting their while you feed her after cerreal is finished. You say that she will easily eat finger foods after this and that might be because it is something that she gets to do and satisfies her boredom of sitting there.I'm not sure how often you feed her but I would try to let her down and try the fruits and veggies after 2 hours. When my kids were little I added the fruit to their cereal and that helped a little bit. Good luck I hope this helped a little.

well I would just do what works for you - cut up food seems to work so do that. As for all the baby food in the freezer...you can add pureed veggies and fruit to everyday foods. Jerry Seinfelds wife has a cook book that is all about adding pureed food to your recipes. Example - making cupcakes, add a couple cubes of pureed carrots or fruit. Making mac and cheese add pureed califlower or carrots. You really cant taste the difference.
Your daughter may just grow out of this phase too. So give it a week and then try the pureed food again.

My son was also an excited eater. Whenever he would wave his arms I would kind of hold them down for as long as it took to get a bite in, but that just made him more excited because he thought it was a game. We eventually just switched him over to table food and he hasn't looked back - that was around 8 months. You might have to bite the bullet on the baby food and take it as a loss. Besides, if she's eating all cut up foods by herself then you have free hands once again!! :)

When I used to be an infant teacher (and with my own kids), I always gave them a spoon to hold too... then they think they're part of the action, and may be a little more willing to eat.

Hey, E., hang in there! It sounds like your daughter is telling you she's ready to feed herself and may be ready for finger foods completely. There are lots of soft veggies--potatoes, sweet potatoes and canned carrots/green beans/peas, etc, which are easy for her to pick up and swallow. It IS always something with a baby, so try and hang in there. If you're worried about the jarred food, you can always add them to things later on (i.e. pancake batter, mac & cheese, etc.)

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