9 Month Old - What to Feed and How to Get Her to Sleep?

Updated on October 22, 2008
S.J. asks from Gordonsville, VA
12 answers

I have come to you wonderful moms before and here I am again with a two part question. I have a 9 month old who is insistent on feeding herself. Being that I am a Kindergarten teacher I am all about her being independent. My question is, what can I feed her that she can feed herself (she hates the spoon and will push it away but is okay with me giving her food with my fingers)? I asked the pediatrician and he said to get creative (so he wasn't much help). I've started her on pasta noodles, steamed vegetables, bread, cheerios, pancakes, etc... but I don't know how much I should be feeding her and when I should do this. Any advice is appreciated.

My second question is about getting her to sleep. Before she was able to sit up easily, crawl, and pull herself up to her knees (all of which she just learned to do within the last month or so) she would have a bottle and babble herself to sleep. Now she will have a bottle and sit in her crib and cry until we hold her or feed her until she is asleep. I've tried letting her cry it out but she ends up throwing up. It is also becoming harder to get her to go back to sleep after her 2 a.m. feeding (she only gets up once at night but more often if teething). I know that part of the problem is that she is getting tooth #7 and has been teething or had a cold for what seems like the last 2 - 3 month. Has anyone else been through this? What worked for you?

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answers from Dover on

Hi S.,
I have an 8 month old who wants to do it herself too. I give her canned cut green beans, carrots & peas & beans(flattened) all plain. I make mashed potatoes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, cooked apples and every meat but ground beef(told to wait on this one). She eats what and when we eat. I make piles on her tray and let her eat until she starts to play with it. I never know exactly how much she eats but she is growing. I did the same with my two older girls and they eat almost everything.
As for sleeping make sure the bottle is warm and the room as dark as possible. Talk to her and rub her belly or back, hold her hand but don't pick her up. My oldest throws up when over stressed and keeping her calm and staying near by helped.



answers from Norfolk on

Ok about your first question. You can get really creative give her anything that mashes up. Even over cooked meats. I gave daughter veanna sausages. If you give them to her whole she will bite off small pieces. If you cut them up she will shove the the whole piece in and prob. choke. Mac and cheese is great. She can learn to eat with a spoon and you can give her apple sauce it sticks well to the spoon and doesn't fall off. Give her what you eat just soft or small pieces and let her figure out how to get it in.

Next question about bedtime. Throwing up is a way to get your back. She learned the first time when she threw up you came back. Lower the bed all the way and let her scream. If she throws up come in clean it up the best you can. With out taking her out and leave. Don't give her much attention when you do it. Next the 2am feeding she doesn't need. She wants you at 2am and that is all. She's expanding it now because she's starting to learn she can. My suggestion about teething is give Motrin when you believe she's teething and let her go. If you insist on feeding at night don't give her personal attention when you do it. Don't turn on the lights.
My daughter went through it too and what happens if these things go on and if you let them teach the child to get it they will keep going on even when the cold, teething and what not stop and you being the mother will find a reason she is waking up even if there is none..
Good luck R.



answers from Washington DC on

I have a little girl who is just like yours. My trick was to give her something she could eat herself like finger foods of any type, and while she was occupied I would sneak in with the spoon and feed her in between bites.

As for the bottle at night, I would try to feed it too her about 1/2 hour before bed to give it some time to digest, then just try the usual dim lights, soft music, or maybe just lay there next to her crib and pretend your sleeping too so she gets the idea.
Good Luck! I know it's hard, but you can do it!



answers from Washington DC on

My daughter who is now 18 months old began refusing to eat any baby food at 9 months old as well. She only had two teeth at the time so I definitely had to get a little creative. I bought several cookbooks for young children and they helped quite a bit-one of them was Superfoods for babies and toddlers by Annabell Karmel. I also bought a hand held blender (they are usually used to make smoothies) and I would use it to grind up chicken and turkey breasts for my daughter. I wouldn't grind it until it was pureed but just until it was soft enough for her to eat. She loved it. I would feed her breakfast,lunch and dinner and would give her her bottles in between. At nine months the portions of "real" food that she was eating was small so the bottles in between helped to give her what she needed.



answers from Washington DC on

I agree with the other posts you've received so far. I just wanted to add a GREAT book on sleep is The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. We used that with both our children and it was a lifesaver!

For the food, just cut up pieces of whatever you are eating if she has already eaten it before and there was no reaction. Some things we did with our kids was to use frozen veggies - they are more nutritious than fresh because they are allowed to fully ripen on the plant versus picking them early and ripening them with ethanol gas. We just steamed them in the microwave and since they are usually in small pieces we just give them to her once we give it an eyeball test for too-large pieces. We also did cream cheese sandwiches cut up, apple slices that were lightly steamed in the microwave until they were slightly softened, Cheerios, whole wheat pastas, scrambled eggs, yogurt, and things like that. Good luck!

About the sleep, aside from reading the book I mentioned, I would have to agree that she does not need the 2AM feeding at this age. Unless she has other medical issues with weight or malnourishment, she's perfectly able to sleep a full night. Weaning her off of it is easier said than done, but in the long run it's better for everyone to get a good night's sleep. Comforting her while not picking her up and stretching the time between re-entering her room are good places to start. Does she have a 'lovey', blankie or pacifier that she uses? If not, you may consider giving her a comfort object. It worked wonders for my second daughter! Also, it is not unusual for a good sleeper to wake up a lot when they reach developmental milestones or are cutting teeth. It's just a phase that she may need some comforting to know that you are still there but that she will be okay.

Good Luck!



answers from Washington DC on

Hi S.! My now 11 month old DD refused the baby food I made for her as well, so she has been on solids since about 6 mos. And she didn't get her first tooth until she was 9.5 mos old, so even without teeth, they can gum up food pretty well. Some things I fed her at that age were avocado, banana pieces, any veggie steamed soft, peaches, mango, tofu, small bites of chicken, turkey, ground beef, mac n cheese (messy, but they love it), plain pasta, toast with butter or jam, pancakes, waffles, cheerios, graham crackers, hot dogs, rice, hummos, blueberries. I have a 2 year old DS, and I feed my DD anything I feed him, I just make the bites smaller. You'd be amazed what they can/will eat at this age, and if you start them early they are more likely to accept more foods when they hit the ultra-picky toddler stage.

As for the sleeping issue, I am willing to bet she doesn't need that 2am feeding. So long as she is following the growth curve, she shouldn't need to eat overnight. Unless you are BFing (which I did not), in which case I understand BFing babies may eat at night still at this age. At any rate, in my opinion I wouldn't let my baby cry until they vomit, either. I don't think it accomplishes anything. She needs to learn how to self-soothe. One of my favorite sleep books is Dr. Weisbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. He has several methods of "sleep training" that will vary depending on your child's needs. I also liked the Baby Whisperer book that another PP recommended. Read a few sleep books -- every baby is different, and your baby will respond to one theory over another.

Not all babies learn to sleep through the night on the same scehdule. Hang in there, and it will happen when she is ready. You're doing great!



answers from Washington DC on

good things at 9 months are black beans ( rinsed straight from the can or you can heat a bit with a little olive oil, salt and pepper or seasonings of your culture, for taste.)
rice (we "balled" them up into tiny balls and made rice snow balls
steamed peas and corn
tiny steamed broccoli
peaches and pears cuts small (like the size of dice) or get the ones in cans that are cubed and in light sauce
banana pieces (never round but sliced lengthwise and then in half again.)
nitrate-free hotdogs(never round but sliced lengthwise and then in half again.)
hard boiled egg yolk (no egg white til doc says ok)
small blueberries
grapes cut into quarters
tiny cubes of cheese (we did shredded cheese and she loved it)
taco meat (we rinsed it a little if it was spicy
tomatoes diced up
tiny cubed pieces of baked chicken

sleeping at this age goes in cycles. with each new trick she learns (crawling, standing, walking,cruising, new teeth,) she will have interrupted sleep cycles,.



answers from Washington DC on

I can relate to the what, when and how much to feed! The Drs. never tell you this. I have been seeing a nutritionist for my very underweight, food allergic child and we set up a meal plan. Granted this is for 1-5 year olds, but soon yours will be that age. The schedule is 7 am, 10 am, 12:30, 3:00, 6:00. You might be giving her a bottle for some of these feedings, but you could offer the solids before the bottle and see if she is interested. I like to serve milk soaked shredded wheat cereal, oatmeal and cream of wheat, just make sure the cereal is iron-fortified. Dairy products are great too: yobaby yogurt, cottage cheese. Chopped up grapes, blueberries and broccoli. Microwave a sweet potato and mash it with butter. Start with 1-2 tablespoons per meal/snack and add more as she eats. Snacks can be chopped fruit and cottage cheese, meals can be chopped up cheese, meat, bread, peas and applesauce.

As for the night feeding, you could try substituting a bottle of water for the formula and she may lose interest. I would also try giving her that last bottle before bath & story and see if her tummy is better. They do sometimes cry a bit after you leave the room. If it is longer than 20 min I would check it out. Repeat as necessary, letting her wear herself out but also going in to reassure her at the 15-20 min mark. I know easier said than done. I can only assure you this will not last forever! A very consistent routine executed the exact same way each night will reassure your little one and you that you are always there doing your best. Hope that helps. (We liked baby orajel for teething pain).



answers from Washington DC on

Sounds like she is doing fine feeding herself. Try to give her a spoonful whenever she will accept it.
Sounds like you need to change the bedtime routine. She should NOT be going to be with a bottle. Give her the bottle while holding her before bed. Brush her teeth and then maybe a book or quiet cuddling. Lay her down (Maybe turn on some soothing music for her) and leave her to put herself to sleep. She really shouldn't still be getting up for a feeding during the night. Start switching her to water and then eliminate the feeding alltogether.
Teething is the PITS! - but don't let it be the excuse for chaning routines.
Good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

Sounds to me like your daughter is in touch with her primal self. You know fingers were the original utensils. I enjoy my food much more when I can feel the texture. My advise would be to wash your hands really well and feed her with your fingers. Make her porridge a little thicker, use potato wedges to help scoop other foods. Make it a fun game "Please don't eat my finger!!
As for sleeping...there is a homeopathic form of chamomillia. Place the pellets right under her tongue and she will rest soundly. It's safe, all natural, no side effects, and no possibility for over dose. Be well.



answers from Washington DC on

Hi S.,

I am afraid that I am not much help when it comes to your sleep problem. My daughter slept through around 5 mos when she came to us <G>.

However, she is now 2 1/2 and still likes to switch between the fork/spoon and her fingers. You would be surprised at what she considers finger foods. I personally don't object unless it is the goey stuff like yogurt, etc. Anyway, if I suggest something your daughter can't eat yet due to age, I apologize. Everything should be good now or by 1 at the latest. Gerber makes little Vienna type meat sticks. We used to peal the skin off of them and cut them to a size for her. They are mushier than hot dogs, so are not really a choking hazzard if you watch her. Lunch meat and cheese - little squares at first, then as she gets older, you can have fun and wrap things up in them like little sandwich wraps (veggies, cream, etc.) Just wait until she gets to the point where she can hold something and "take a bite." Mac-N-Cheese, Scrambled eggs (add cheese, sm soft veggies if you can get away with it...), green beans and broccoli (both well cooked at first if she is teething - her gums hurt <G>) Toast with butter - stay away from plain bread until you are sure she is not going to "gerbil" it in her mouth and make a big ball she can't swallow (my oldest is famous for that one). Most food that is on your plate, you can cut into finger sizes and let her try. My oldest is picky, I think, merely to be picky. My youngest thinks that Filet Mignon is really cool, but hamburger, not so much.

I am sure you already know from starting on the baby solids to start one new type of food at a time to avoid allergies, and avoid certain food groups until your pediatrician says she can have them. I hope one or two of these ideas works for you. Buy lots of bibs, and plan to wash your kitchen floor a lot. Otherwise, it is nice to eat WITH your children, instead of AROUND them. Just eat fast, they do....

Best of luck.



answers from Washington DC on

hi S.,
well, it's been a while since i raised a baby, but i think i can remember what it was like<G>. your finger foods sound great....why not keep her mostly on YOUR schedule with snacks (and lots of drinks) available to her as snacks inbetween? at 9 months you're not going to make her fat by letting her tell you when she's hungry. just offer her good healthy choices and follow her lead.
as for the sleep thing, for starters i would get her off the bottle-in-bed. this, of course, will create more drama, but you might as well get it all over with at once. (unless it's just water, but even then it's not such a great habit.) only getting up once per night is pretty good for a 9 month old! i'd try sitting quietly with her, maybe rubbing her back but NOT feeding her or getting her up, or even talking to her much. just your presence, but no stimulation. it probably will not be a quick fix, though.
good luck!

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