WIC in Vermont

Self feeding: 9 to 12 months

Your baby is changing fast.  Eating will also change as baby goes from complete dependence on you to self-feeding. By nine months most babies are ready for this change.

Some signs that your baby is ready for self feeding include:

  • grasps objects with the palm of her hand
  • grasps with thumb and forefinger
  • brings hand to mouth
  • swallows foods other than liquids
  • holds and plays with a spoon

Finger Foods

Choose first finger foods that are easy to eat; dissolve in baby’s mouth; and that won’t break into pieces which may cause choking.

By 10 months most babies are ready to feed themselves some foods.  This is an important step in physical development and learning to eat – Encourage this!

  • It’s easy to feed baby good foods if you have healthy, balanced meals for the rest of the family.
  • Always stay with your baby while eating, ready to help if needed. They are still learning to chew and can choke when trying to swallow bites that are too big.  If your baby begins choking, stay calm and pat your baby’s back lightly. If your baby seems to choke often, wait a few weeks and then offer finger foods again.
  • Be patient and let your baby get messy with the food served.  Playing with food is part of the way babies learn about different foods. Manners can be taught when your baby is older.
  • Babies still need to eat often (5 or 6 times a day) so they will get lots of practice while they are learning to feed themselves.


    Good Choices for Finger Foods: cooked macaroni or noodles (try whole grain pasta); small pieces of soft-cooked vegetables; soft, ripe fruit; small slices of cheese; crackers, teething biscuits or dry cereal (Cheerios or Kix).

    Foods to Avoid: large chunks of food, raw carrots, raw celery, raw green beans, cherry tomatoes, grapes, raisins, nuts, seeds, popcorn, peanut butter, chips, gum, hard candy, jelly beans.

    Solid foods can’t replace all the nutrients provided by breast milk or iron fortified formula. Babies 9-12 months old should still be breast fed or formula fed on demand or 27-32 ounces per day. Wait to offer whole milk until around age 1.

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