Moving On Up (6 to 9 Months)
Between 6 and 9 months, once your little one has mastered strained baby foods, you can move on to lumpier and more textured baby foods, including pureed meats -- a great source of dietary protein and iron. One recent study even suggested the introduction of meats as early as 5 months to exclusively breastfed infants might be an even better iron source than baby cereal. This is certainly food for thought, but it's not necessarily reason to insist that your child gets pureed turkey for breakfast. Start with 2 to 4 tablespoonfuls of meats per serving and aim for 1 to 2 servings per day. The same rules apply as you advance to new foods. Introduce slowly and one at a time.
Around this time, your baby will also be ready to begin trying some finger foods. Start with baby biscuits and crackers. You may have to show her how to put each in her mouth before she learns what to do with it, but over time she'll grow to love her newfound skill of self-feeding. Although most finger foods are designed to dissolve easily, always keep a close eye on your child when you give her finger foods to make sure pieces don't break off and put her at risk for choking. Teeth are not a requirement for finger foods. Babies generate force by "chewing" with their gums and jaws.
Still breastfeeding? If you are, that's great. You should nurse 3 to 5 times a day. If you're bottlefeeding, continue to give 24 to 36 ounces of formula per day. Want a tip for making life a little easier down the road? Let your baby try drinking from a sippy cup. Start with about 2 to 3 ounces of water. If you let her explore the use of a sippy cup now, she'll have six months to get the hang of it, because she should be off the bottle by 12 months.