Geez, they grow fast!
One minute it’s all newborn naps and couch cuddles and the next they’re rolling from one end of the lounge room to the other in the same time it takes mama to whiz up some apple puree!
At 9 months of age, bub is on the move and super-inquisitive. Needless to say, this requires lots of your time and attention and a safe space to explore and practice new skills. After all, repetition is the key to learning.
Littlies love to do things over and over (and over and over!) again to figure it out, to build memory and to master it.
One thing bub has likely nailed by now is puréed foods and soft bite-size bits. So, it may be a good time to step it up and invite your littlie to the family dinner table. To navigate new skills by watching and learning, using big-kid plates, spoons and forks and to explore new flavours.
This is the start of your child’s eating journey and for now, you are in control! By providing a variety of fresh foods, handy mealtime tools and time to practice, bub will be well on the way to forming healthy habits and you’ll be enjoying happy mealtimes together!
You can support bubs development with a range of age and skill appropriate mealtime tools …
At 9 months, littlies have a unique set of needs when it comes to feeding; their teeny little hands, sensitive mouths and gums, limited motor skills and dexterity and of course let’s not forget the short attention span!
It makes sense to seek out plates, bowls, cutlery and more that are designed to meet the needs of your bubs age and stage.
Like some ergonomically shaped cutlery for easy scooping, lifting and munching. And a plate with dividers to keep foods separate as bub explores new tastes, and a grippy bottom for less mess! This way you’ll ensure a positive experience and give bub a good chance at grasping new skills like self-feeding!
When the time comes to transition from the bottle it may be easier on bub to make it a progressive shift from spout, to sippy, to cup. There are guides (speak to your trusty health professionals for advice) but no hard and fast rules about when or how.
The key is to follow your bubs lead, show and assist at first and then let them play and explore. Like all new skills, drinking from a cup needs to be learned too.
While bub is exploring their newfound independence at the dinner table or roaming around the toy room, leak-proof or spill-free cups can be helpful to manage the ‘bottoms up’! And when the time is right, you can start experimenting with a training or open cup.
Teething symptoms can come and go for many months and can be disruptive to mealtimes. Particularly if a sore, sleep deprived little bub is faced with an equally sleep deprived mama!
Fresh food feeders can be very handy at this stage. Bub can relieve inflamed gums by chewing on the pouch whilst still exploring fresh tastes and getting the nutrients needed from a variety of fruits and veggies.
Icy treats like frozen berries, or frozen yoghurt can provide relief to bub too and make a great afternoon pick me up for mum!
Mealtimes are an opportunity for bub to watch, mimic and learn.
Side note, mimicking older brothers and sisters at the dinner table is not always ideal but guaranteed to get some giggles! Set bub up in a safe space (away from grown-up cutlery and crockery!) with suitable mealtime tools and let them practice whenever possible.
Holding, feeling, dropping and picking up is all part of the learning process. It takes time and it often creates mess.
But don’t stress mama! Just cover bub up in a smock or bib and let them taste, explore and play in their own way. Of course, there will be days where you just don’t feel like dealing with a mess and that’s ok!
There is a time and place for both parent-led and self-led feeding and definite benefits to both.
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Every age comes with so many developmental milestones. With your support your precious littlies will grow and develop, cultivating lifelong skills for a happy and healthy little journey. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Just a little reminder… that every child is unique and develops differently. Age and stage recommendations are simply a guide for parents. It’s always a good idea to tune into your bubs behaviours and consult your health professionals for advice specific to you and your little one.
A happy (mostly!) mama of three. Spends her days searching for the perfect balance between being a full-time mama, part-time b.box wordsmith and dedicated coffee consumer. Understands how hectic work and life can be and uses this mantra to live simply: The plan is, there is no plan, just stay as informed as you possibly can. Make choices to suit your family and you. And never apologise for seeing it through. Also, affectionately known as Mama Marie for her random acts of nerdy mumsiness and life mantras!