What to feed your baby

Baby's age

7 - 9 months

By now, your baby will have had some good practice learning how to eat! Eat together as much as possible – they learn a lot from watching you.

Your baby will gradually move towards eating 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch and tea). Offering a wide variety of different foods is important to ensure they get enough energy and nutrients (such as iron). Babies don't need salt or sugar added to their food (or cooking water) – salty food isn't good for their kidneys and sugar can cause tooth decay.

Remember, it may take 10 tries or even more for your baby to get used to new foods, flavours and textures. There'll be days when they eat more, some when they eat less, and then days when they reject everything! Don't worry – this is perfectly normal. Just be patient, keep offering a variety of foods, even the ones they don't seem to like, and let them get used to it in their own time.

Babies under 12 months don't need snacks, if you think your baby is hungry in between meals, offer extra milk feeds instead.

Food groups

Make sure you include a wide variety of the following food groups in your baby's meals. Have a look at our baby weaning recipes and Start4Life YouTube channel for inspiration!

Try to move your baby on to mashed, lumpy foods and finger foods as soon as they can manage them. Cook veggies to soften them, where necessary, then mash or blend them to a suitable texture for your baby – or give them as finger foods. Offer a variety of vegetables, including ones with bitter flavours:

  • broccoli
  • parsnips
  • peppers
  • peas
  • cauliflower
  • swede
  • spinach
  • green beans
  • courgette
  • asparagus
  • kale
  • carrots
  • avocado
  • butternut squash
  • cabbage

Mash or blend soft ripe fruits to a suitable texture for your baby, or give them as finger foods. Harder fruits will need to be cooked to soften them. Wash and remove any pips, stones and hard skin. Fruit includes:

  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • kiwi
  • oranges
  • apples
  • raspberries
  • mango
  • nectarines
  • pears
  • strawberries
  • pineapple
  • papaya
  • melon
  • peach
  • plums

These can be cooked, where necessary, and mashed or blended to a suitable texture. Cereals can be mixed with breast milk or first infant formula – or with pasteurised whole (full-fat) cows' milk (or goats' or sheep's milk) once your baby is over 6 months old. Starchy foods include:

  • potato
  • sweet potato
  • rice
  • baby rice
  • pasta
  • porridge
  • oats
  • oatmeal
  • cornmeal
  • maize
  • millet
  • quinoa
  • toast
  • bread
  • chapatti
  • pitta bread

This food group includes meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses and is suitable from around 6 months.

As well as giving your baby protein, these foods contain other useful nutrients, such as iron and zinc, which are important for babies.

Eggs produced under the British Lion Code of Practice (stamped with the red lion) are considered very low risk for salmonella, and safe for babies and toddlers to eat raw or partially cooked. Protein foods include:

  • chicken
  • turkey
  • beef
  • lamb
  • pork
  • fish (no bones)
  • egg
  • lentils
  • beans
  • tofu
  • pulses, such as chickpeas

Pasteurised dairy foods such as pasteurised full-fat yoghurt and cheese are suitable foods for your baby from around 6 months.

Full-fat, unsweetened or plain yoghurts are a good choice because they don't contain added sugars. Whole pasteurised (full-fat) cows' milk, or goats' or sheep's milk, can be used in cooking or mixed with food from around 6 months old, but not as a drink until your baby is 12 months.

Eggs produced under the British Lion Code of Practice (stamped with the red lion) are considered very low risk for salmonella, and safe for babies and toddlers to eat raw or partially cooked. Read about the healthy way to eat eggs.

Smooth or lumpy?

Hopefully your baby will now be more confident exploring new textures. Offer more mashed, lumpier foods as well as a variety of finger foods. Giving your baby finger foods helps them learn to feed themselves, develop hand-eye co-ordination and learn to bite off, chew and swallow small pieces of soft food.

Babies take different amounts of time to get used to lumps, but it's an important skill they need to learn. Just keep offering them lumpy textures and finger foods and stay with them so you can be sure they are swallowing it safely.

Did you know?

They might pull funny faces, that doesn't mean they don't like it – they're just getting used to new tastes and textures!

What is baby-led weaning?

Baby-led weaning means offering your baby only finger foods and letting them feed themselves from the start (rather than spoon feeding them puréed or mashed food). You can offer a range of small, finger-sized, pieces of food.

Some parents prefer baby-led weaning to spoon feeding, while others combine a bit of both. There's no right or wrong way – the most important thing is that your baby eats well and gets all the nutrients they need.

Should I still give my baby breast milk or first infant formula?

Yes. Breast milk or first infant formula is still important for energy and nutrients during the first year, and should be their main drink until 12 months. You can continue breastfeeding for as long as you both want. As time goes on and your baby eats more solids, they may naturally want less breast milk or first infant formula.

If you're breastfeeding, your baby will adapt their feeds according to how much food they're having. Formula-fed babies may need around 600ml of milk a day, but just use this as a guide. Remember your baby's tummy is tiny and fills up quickly, so offer milk feeds after solids and don't force them to finish the bottle.

Drinks?

During meal times, offer your baby sips of water from an open cup or a free-flow cup. Learning to sip water is a new skill and better (than sucking from a bottle) for your baby’s growing teeth.

Sweet drinks like squash, fizzy drinks, milkshakes and fruit juice can have lots of sugar, so avoid these to help prevent tooth decay – even baby and toddler drinks can be sugary.

Check out our delicious recipes and meal ideas for your little one

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