What to feed your baby
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.
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.
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.