As a concerned mother, you want nothing but the best for your baby. Food is what nourishes your baby, so we know that you want the best foods for your little angel. “What are the best foods for 9 month baby?” you maybe wondering. We will guide you to choose the best foods for your baby that are nutritious as well as provide tips and hints on how these can be incorporated in the baby’s diet. Here it is.
National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) recommends that the following points be kept in mind when making complementary foods:
- Use locally available food stuff.
- Cooking methods should be simple and hygienic.
- Low cost homemade foods to be used.
- Recipes should be of acceptable taste and proper consistency.
New Foods on the Block at 9 months
Some of the foods that were earlier out of bounds can be given to the baby. Acidic foods like citrus fruits which include mosambi, oranges, tangerines can be given as snacks or smoothies. Berries like strawberries, blueberries, mulberries can be chopped or cut into quarters and given to the baby. Dates can be powdered and added to the porridges to naturally sweeten them. Shredded chicken, minced meat, deboned fish in small amounts can be introduced. Cheese and pieces of cooked tofu can now be given. Please remember to have a ‘3 Day waiting period’ between introducing new foods during which you must observe the baby for any signs of allergy or rash.
Nutritional Requirements of 9 month baby
Now, let us understand what the nutritional requirements or Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) are for a baby 6-12 months of age. The National Institute of Nutrition at Hyderabad has suggested the following RDA for this age group as indicated in Table 1 below.
|Energy (kCal)||80 kcal/kg/day|
|Visible Fat||19 g/day|
|Vitamin A Retinol||350 microgram/day|
|Beta Carotene||2800 microgram/day|
|Vitamin C||25 mg/day|
Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances for 6-12 months of age of major nutrients
This table might seem overwhelming at first glance so we will simplify it for you. By providing foods from different food groups the baby will get all necessary nutrients. Table 2 shows the amounts of each food group that a 9-month-old baby can be given.
|Cereals and Millets (rice, wheat, ragi, bajra, oats…)||15 g|
|Pulses (moong, toor, masoor, urad dals…), Tofu||7.5 g|
|Milk (ml) & Milk Products (Cheese, Curd, Paneer…)||400 ml*|
|Roots & Tubers (potato, sweet potato, carrot…)||50 g|
|Green Leafy Vegetables (Spinach, Amaranth, Methi…)||25 g|
|Other vegetables (Doodhi, Pumpkin, Broccoli, Cauliflower…)||25 g|
|Fruits (Banana, Chikoo, Pear, Peach, Orange, Mosambi, Berries…)||100 g|
|Fat/Visible Oil||20 g|
Table 2: Amounts of food per day from different food groups for a 9-month-old baby.
#Note: Weights indicated are for raw ingredients
*Quantity indicates top milk. For breastfed infants, 200 ml top milk is required.
Pulses may be exchanged with yolk of egg/meat/chicken/fish.
#Source: Adapted from Dietary Guidelines for Indians National Institute of Nutrition.
Your baby needs nutrient dense foods which give energy, protein, minerals (calcium, iron and others) and vitamins. We will take each nutrient and explain how you can give the best foods that are rich in that specific nutrient to your baby.
Energy Rich Foods
Now that your baby is crawling and become more physically active the energy requirements have increased. Complementary foods, as well as breast milk, will help meet the increased energy needs of the baby. Remember that breast feeding continues even when complementary foods are introduced. Since the baby has a small stomach, complementary foods need to be energy dense. Here is how you can give energy dense foods to the baby:
- Porridges can be made with milk rather than water.
- Choose foods that are calorie dense. Cereals like rice, wheat; millets like oats, ragi, barley; roots and tubers like potato, carrots, sweet potato; fruits like banana, chikoo are calorie dense.
- Some fat like ghee, butter can be added to the porridge or khichadi.
- A spoonful of jaggery can be added to the dish. Rather than add sugar it is a better option to give fruits that are naturally sweet like banana, chikoo, mango or powdered dates.
Protein Rich Foods
Protein is needed for growth, as well as the development of muscles and for wound healing. Foods from animal sources like milk and milk products (paneer, cheese, curd), meat, fish, chicken, eggs are an excellent source of protein. However, cow milk and egg whites should be avoided in the first year. Peas, dals, beans are also a good source of protein. Mash the peas and beans before feeding the baby to avoid a choking hazard. Nuts like groundnut, cashew, pistachio can be also ground and the nut powders can be added to the meals to increase the protein content. Protein quality can be improved by adding milk to porridges, using a cereal pulse combination in foods like idli, khicheri. Some pieces of cooked meat, chicken, fish, boiled egg yolks or cubes of cheese or tofu can be given to the baby.
Calcium rich foods
Calcium, as we know, is needed for healthy and strong bones and teeth. Every few weeks babies are cutting a new tooth, so one needs to provide adequate amounts of calcium. Ragi is an excellent source of calcium and has three times more calcium than milk. In addition to ragi include milk and milk products like curd, paneer, cheese in the baby’s diet. Leafy vegetables, til/sesame seeds, fish are also good sources of calcium. Pieces of cheese, tofu or fish can be given as finger foods. Add some leafy vegetables to pulavs, kicheris and chappati.
Iron rich foods
Iron is needed to make hemoglobin a pigment that gives the red colour to blood and helps in carrying oxygen throughout the body. A deficiency of iron rich foods can cause anemia in babies. Anemic babies may look pale, feel tired and irritable and show slow growth. Iron from non- vegetarian foods like liver, meat is better absorbed by the body compared to vegetarian sources like leafy vegetables, amaranth, bajra. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption so include some source of vitamin C like citrus fruits like oranges, mosambi, malta, strawberries, tomatoes, etc. in the baby’s diet.
Vitamin A rich foods
For healthy vision and skin of your baby, he/she needs to consume Vitamin A rich foods. Vitamin A is available in two forms beta carotene and retinol. Dark green leafy vegetables like palak, methi, chawli are good sources of Vitamin A. Add some leafy vegetables to khicheris, chapatis, pulavs. Yellow orange fruits and vegetables like papaya, carrot, pumpkin, tomato, mango are also rich in Vitamin A. Pieces of papaya, mango, boiled carrot can be given as finger foods to the baby to self -feed. In addition, milk and milk products like curd, paneer and cheese are also Vitamin A rich. Egg yolk is also rich in Vitamin A. Make porridges with milk rather than water, add curd to khicheri, use milk instead of water to make chappati dough.
Vitamin C rich foods
Vitamin C helps in the absorption of iron by the body, supports the baby’s immune system and helps in wound healing. Citrus fruits like orange, mosambi; strawberries, mango, papaya, tomatoes, and green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin C. Slices of fruit or tomato can be given as finger foods. Similarly, pieces of fruit can be added to porridges.
A combination of foods from different groups will help your baby get the best nutrition. Watch as your baby discovers new tastes, flavours, textures and aromas. A sensory motor experience is unfolding for your baby as he/she self feeds, messes with food and develops a taste for new foods. And yes, do keep your camera handy to capture these beautiful moments and make memories…