Babies develop rapidly within their first year. When they begin teething, they can graduate from soft to hard foods. Around age 6 months, many babies will cut their first teeth. At 9 months, not all teeth are formed, but babies can slowly be introduced to soft finger foods. Because babies are developing their fine motor skills, finger foods help with coordination and introduce them to self-feeding. However, some finger foods may still need to be cut into smaller portions to prevent choking.
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Fruits offer a sweet yet healthy treat for older babies around 9 months of age. Fresh fruits are preferred over dried fruits, because they are softer and provide a sweeter taste. Bananas are a healthful choice because they offer potassium and vitamin C. An appropriate serving size is about half a large banana. Slice the banana, and then cut the pieces in half again to form small chunks that the baby can easily pick up. Choose soft fruits, such as peaches and apricots. Cook apples or other tough fruits to achieve a mushy texture that allows babies to grind the food with their gums.
Such vegetables as peas, corn, broccoli and carrots provide niacin in the diet. Most vegetables will need to be cooked or boiled to be acceptable for babies. Peas and corn make entertaining and nutritious finger foods for 9-month-olds. Broccoli and carrots should be cooked, cut and sliced into dime-size pieces. They can be mixed or served individually for lunch, dinner or snacks.
Small crackers are simple and delicious finger foods for 9-month-olds. Babies easily chew and swallow small thin crackers, such as saltines or wheat crackers. Little fingers quickly grab graham crackers or miniature cookies. Nine-month-olds who are still teething -- especially those cutting their back molars -- may find comfort in Melba toast.
Crunchy cereals without milk provide quick grabs for little fingers. Toasted oat cereals are heart healthy, tasty and nutritious. Many brands come in a variety of flavors, such as honey nut, frosted and yogurt-covered flavors. Bite-size shredded wheat are also acceptable finger foods. Frosted varieties in assorted flavors may appeal more to little appetites. Many 9-month-olds also enjoy munching on corn puffs and rice cereals.
Puffed snacks are tasty treats for 9-month-olds. Cheese or veggie puffs are just the right size finger food for small babies. Puffs manufactured specifically for babies and toddlers are generally derived from a cornmeal base. Choose brands that are baked and not fried to provide a healthier, lower-fat alternative to standard salty snacks.