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The Informed Parent

Infant Nutrition Update, Part 2

by Lori A. Livingston, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Published on May. 02, 2011

Nine Months To Twelve Months:

  • For most infants, this is a good time to introduce chunkier and table foods--food off your plate. Stage 3 foods are usually appropriate at this age. If you are not sure if your infant is ready, check with your pediatrician.
  • Your infant should eat three meals per day and two snacks between meals.
  • Cooked, soft vegetables and ripe fruit can be cut into small bite size pieces. The size of the tip of your baby’s finger should guide you. Well cooked rice, small pieces of pasta, dry cereals and soft meats are all appropriate. DO NOT add salt or sugar to your child’s food. Herbs and spices are okay in small amounts.
  • Infants at this stage often prefer to feed themselves with their fingers, or will let you feed them with a spoon if they can hold it too.
  • Most infants will gag a bit with new textures and flavors which is okay. They need to learn how to chew as this promotes normal speech.
  • Learn what to do if your child chokes on his food. Consider taking a CPR class to feel more comfortable.
  • For most infants, yogurt and cheese are good to introduce at this age. Buy whole fat yogurt and cheese since fat is important for infant brain development.
  • Continue breastfeeding or formula. Most infants will drink 16 to 30 ounces per day.
  • NEW Recommendation: whole eggs are great to start at nine months. Scrambled eggs are a fun and easy food for infants to eat on their own. You will NOT create an allergy  by giving your child eggs before one year of age.
  • AVOID THESE FOODS: whole cow’s milk, honey, and peanut butter should not be given until one year of age. Foods that can cause choking include nuts, popcorn, raw vegetables, whole grapes and other round foods, hot dogs, and candies. Avoid choking risks until four years of age.

Twelve Months and Up:

  • Transition to whole cow’s milk from one to two years of age. High fat milk is important at this age for brain development. After two years of age you can switch to 1% or even non fat milk.
  • DO NOT give more than 24 ounces of cow’s milk per day. This can cause anemia and poor absorption of nutrients.
  • The AAP recommends breastfeeding for the first year of life. Continuing to breastfeed is a personal decision. However, remember that solid foods are more important now. Toddlers need a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, whole grains--choose whole wheat bread, brown rice, and wheat pasta. They need healthy fats such as dairy, peanut butter, eggs, avocado and protein as in meat, beans, dairy to maintain adequate nutrition.
  • All foods are acceptable after one year of age. Just be sure to cut them into small pieces and avoid choking hazards.
  • AVOID THESE FOODS:high sugar drinks and foods, sweets and unhealthy snacks such as chips and sugary cereals, and fried foods.
  • Try to shop for fresh, whole foods from the perimeter of the grocery store. Foods in the middle of the store are mostly in boxes and bags, and are high in salt, sugar and preservatives which are not healthy for you or your child.
  • If you follow a special or restricted diet such as vegetarian, vegan or gluten free, be sure to discuss this with your pediatrician. Give your child a multivitamin to avoid any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
  • If you are not sure what is acceptable to feed your child, as always, ask your pediatrician. 


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