Eating Habits At Nine Months.

Emory is a week shy of nine months. Man, does time ever fly! He’s grown so much. Every part of him has grown, well, except for his hair. He’s still as bald as can be.

I really wish these little dudes came with instructions. Whenever I screw up putting Ikea furniture together, I always just disassemble and start again. But these babies come without instructions, diagrams or warranties. You can’t undo bad decisions. And you can’t blame your mistakes on them for being Swedish and printing cryptic literature. There are no Command Zs when designing a baby. They remember stuff, they create habit, routines. And the older he gets, the bigger the habits—both good and bad.

For example, ever since vacationing in March, he’s been sleeping with us. Whenever I reintroduce him to his crib, he wakes up crying within an hour or two. I’m usually so sleepy, instead of letting him cry it out, I bring him back to our bed where he sleeps soundly. (If he’s in our bed, he sleeps all night for at least 10 hours straight.) Believe me you, I’m well aware of the fact that some folks will find this completely crazy.

There’s the whole eating situation as well. I’ve not yet felt comfortable about what’s considered too little or too much. More and more, he has little to no interest in baby food. He wants what we’re eating. And he lets us know by smacking his lips together. I kid you not. My mother will attest to this as will my husband. He will smack his lips together until you give him a bite of whatever it is you’re eating. It’s absurd. It doesn’t matter if your meal is spicy. smack smack smack! He wants it. Meat? smack smack smack! He wants it. Noodles, soup, salad, pickles, sandwiches? smack smack smack! He wants it all. Baby food? Not so much.

This causes me great anxiety because during his 8 month doctor visit, she suggested we avoid letting him snack. She asked us if we’re snackers. We’re not.

But here’s our predicament.

A perfect scenario might be that I feed him and then feed myself because it’s nearly impossible for us to eat at the same time. But I run into problems because once he’s finished eating and it’s time to feed myself, he wants to nibble on whatever it is I’m eating. Doesn’t that count as snacking? I really, really don’t want to create bad eating habits this early on. Will my boy grow up eating around the clock?

During the day I try and hide from him while eating. I’ll cram a granola bar down my face while he’s babbling in The Baby Mobile. I’ll eat a quick sandwich when he’s not looking. And sometimes when he sleeps I’ll make something a little more substantial. If I can. Emory’s naps rarely last longer than 25 minutes. Try doing laundry, using the bathroom, cleaning up, paying bills and eating something decent in 25 minutes. It’s not easy.

The other night we made asparagus and mushroom couscous. He seemed more interested in the asparagus than the jarred sweet potatoes I held in front of him. So, instead of watching him throw his hands up and overturn each spoonful of orange goo, I ground up some asparagus using the mill I got from Jen and Mike and gave him some.

He ate it, reluctantly, but he ate it. He ate it because we were eating it.

That’s absurd, right? The way I see it, we’re going to have to start eating baby food or he’s going to continue to eat ours.


  1. Of course you should let him eat what you are eating! Unless you are worried about allergies, in which case you should stay away from those things like peanuts, strawberries, shellfish, etc. My daughter never ate baby food either, and while she’s still in a ‘toddler-refusal’ phase, rejecting random things one day and loving them the next, or refusing grilled cheese but then eating two whole tomatoes, I have full confidence she will be a good eater in the long-run. She also self-regulates already on sweets, which pleases me no end. I think that what your pediatrician meant by no snacking was that you shouldn’t give him so many snacks that he refuses to eat meals, which doesn’t seem to be your problem. Toddlers NEED to snack- at least mine- so I would question your ped on that a little more if you are unsure. My 2-y.o., for example, eats three meals and at least two snacks per day. I think that is quite normal.

    As for the sleeping together thing, I would say- how awesome that you are getting 10 hours of sleep! Why would you change a thing?


  2. So, do you think we should just start giving him our meals? It seems so strange! But that’s what he’s “telling” us to do! And the spicier the better.

    I have had a lot of trouble deciding what’s too much and too little.

    Yeah, I haven’t wanted to change the sleeping situation because he does sleep very well most nights. Last night was an exception. He woke up at 3 AM very upset and VERY hungry. Not normal at all.


  3. tell you one thing, if he really wants grownup food, we’ll save a lot of money! I spend a fortune on those jars of organic baby food.

    I know this sounds absurd, these questions, but I can’t believe the kid wants spicy pad thai noodles over ground up veggies made specifically for him. Such a strange little dude.


  4. Yes, totally give them to him. Have you ever tasted baby food? ICK! Who would like it? My daughter was (is) the same way with spicy food. In fact, Thai is her FAVORITE. Will even eat all the veggies if they are in the spicy sauce. I think it’s more common than you think- I know a lot of babies who were like this.

    Babies and toddlers will self-regulate how much they eat. Unless you have serious problems with obesity, there is not “too much” (unless it’s junk food, obviously). Give him as much as he will eat, and the more variety, the better.

    Good old Moxie addresses this, as always:


  5. First of all, I love the name Emory and he is adorable! (My girl is 11 months, so very close in age and she still has almost no hair just like my first did forever, so it will come in!)

    Okay, on to the sleeping. I’m in the same situation and I do NOT think you’re at all crazy. Did you know that 50% of Americans co-sleep with their children at least 50% of the time? It is very normal. Some people are big believers in it and do it on purpose (I’m sort of one of those) and others just give in to it even if they aren’t proponents of it.

    So, as long as you’re all getting sleep, it’s perfectly fine. Not unhealthy for him, so don’t worry about that. He won’t be in your bed forever. My son went straight to a big bed (okay, he was 2, but we never went through any painful transition).

    My second really wasn’t crazy about co-sleeping in the beginning, so I put her in the crib. It was amazing to me. So, she slept there, practically all night for months. But, around 5 months old or so, she wasn’t sleeping well, so I brought her back into the bed and now she won’t go back. So, that’s fine. I’ll just wait until she’s ready or until she’s driving us crazy.

    The way I see it, would you rather have your baby cry-it-out to get him to sleep in the crib or would you rather have your toddler cry about it when you’re at least able to explain why he needs to sleep in his own bed? And the cries of a toddler just don’t get to me like the cries of a younger baby.

    Okay, now for the eating. I think it is totally NORMAL for him to want to eat what you eat. Of course he does. He should want to do everything like you do. You are his teacher. Why would he want to eat something you don’t eat? Everything else he does is in imitation of you, right?

    My first NEVER ate baby food. He refused, no matter what I did. So, he literally only nursed until he was 1. And he was fine and the doctors were not worried. He started eating finger foods at the age of 1 and never ate baby food and that was that.

    My second is just starting to kind of eat baby food. We’ll see. She has also been refusing it for a while. My doctor said that we are pretty much the only culture that does baby food. Most other cultures just feed babies fromt their plate once they are ready, so that’s completely okay and normal.

    As for snacking, I wouldn’t worry about it. Actually, eating small things all day is supposed to be the healthiest way for us to eat.

    Sorry I wrote so much! I’m passionate about those topics. Good luck! You’re doing a great job!


  6. CanadianMommy May 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    I don’t know what your pediatrician is talking about with no snacking, babies need to snack, just like adults do. Dr. Jack Newman( a pediatrician in Toronto) says that there is no reason to not give your children what your eating. There is nothing magical about baby food, it is just mushed up regular food, and honestly what your eating sounds way yummier than what he’s eating, I don’t blame him:) And on the plus side, he won’t be a sissy when it comes to spices as an adult.


  7. Babies need to snack. In my baby book it says that an 8-12 month old should be eating 3 meals and 2 snacks. So don’t worry! And you’re not feeding him junk. If you’re not feeing him sugar or highly allergenic foods it’s probably ok. My 8-month old just “asked” me for cheese the other day and I gave it to him and he LOVES it. Of course I give him little bites that he can handle and he squashes it in his gums and laughs the entire time because he’s a big boy.

    As for Emory sleeping with you, I would DIE to have my son sleep 10 hours straight. He’ll only sleep for 4-5 hours straight and then make moaning/groaning noises several times during the night to calm himself. If he would sleep well for 10 hours and allow me to get that much sleep, I would co-sleep with him in a minute, but he wiggles so much and doesn’t really like sleeping with us.

    Don’t question yourself. Sometimes we moms just need to survive. Especially at this time of our baby’s lives when they’re getting mobile and teething and starting to have separation anxiety.

    Also, I’ve read that babies LOVE spicy food.

    You’re a great mom, and Emory looks so happy and healthy and not overweight or anything in those pictures. Trust yourself and have fun.


  8. I’m sorry were you saying something because I only got as far as that second picture and then I died from an overdose of cuteness.

    I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be eating your food. I mean you eat healthy and really that is all that matters. The only difference is baby food has no salt or spices. I mean if you were eating McDonald’s everyday and sharing I would disagree but you even eat organic so go for it!

    I say if you are getting 10 hours of sleep a night while he is in bed with you compared to 3 hour or less chunks of time then let him stay. You are better and so is he on a full nights sleep.

    You are a great mommy and he is going to be such an awesome kid because of it.


  9. I had a feeling I shouldn’t take my pediatricians comment about snacking too much to heart. She is a worrier, that one. She’s also French as they come. I think she worries about obesity here in the states? Not sure. She’s great otherwise, although, sometimes, I have to admit, I have no clue what she’s saying, her accent is so very thick! :] I manage to get the important stuff by asking her to repeat herself. TJ, on the other hand, he gets every word. I’m just whiter trash then he is, I suppose.

    Y’all rule with making me feel better. As usual. One of Em’s favorite things to snack on are Kashi “Cheerios. He loves them. He seriously loves them.

    Cheese, too. And awesome to hear that spicy food is so apparently normal! Next up, sushi! I kid, of course.


  10. I agree with everyone above: My third kid, the one who would never touch a nibble of baby food (why would he when there were such interesting things on all of our plates?), is the one who eats every vegetable, meat and starch I throw in front of him. He likes spicy, too.
    The other two are fairly picky. I’m working on changing their habits, but if I’d just thrown finger foods at them earlier, I have a feeling I wouldn’t be in this predicament.


  11. Definitely give him what you’re having. My little guy is 13 months, and he’s been eating what we eat since about 7 months or so. We introduced everything separately (waiting the 4 days in between), but he quickly progressed to wanting whatever we were eating, as long as there wasn’t anything “forbidden” in it (nuts, strawberries, etc.)

    I was worried about feeding him too much, so I asked our pediatrician at his 9 mo. checkup. She said to let him eat as much as he wants and he’ll let us know when he’s full. Sometimes it seems like a LOT of food for a person his size, but he does let us know when he’s full and we are now able to recognize it.

    One bonus of letting him eat with you is that you’ll be able to eat a real meal and not have to rush/sneak bites when he’s not looking. He’ll love to feed himself, and the photos you’ll get are priceless! Don’t be afraid of small, super soft chunks of sweet potato, carrots, peas, mushrooms, etc. He’ll get the hang of it very quickly

    As for the sleeping in bed with you, if he sleeps 10 hours straight, that’s great. If you and TobyJoe are comfortable with it and it works for you, that’s all that matters.

    Don’t worry – you seem to be doing everything just right! Emory seems like a happy, healthy guy.


  12. Honestly, I’m no expert, but the only predicament I can determine in this scenario is how outrageously adorable your child is. That second picture? Killing me. And he looks about as happy and healthy as a baby can be. At a glance, you’re doing everything right. :)


  13. My daughter spent the first year of her life in Spain – and her father is French – so I can vouch for the differences between European and American guidelines for feeding babies. In Spain, for example, they have baby food (in jars) with fish! Something you would n ever see here.

    I am sure your ped. is concerned about obesity, and it is probably a general concern about American children – with good reason. It sounds like you don’t have much to worry about, although vegetarian diets can be heavy on carbs and not so heavy on protein. Does you son eat eggs? Fish? Meat? If you Dr. is concerned, perhaps it has to do with where he is in his percentile for weight.

    We rarely fed our daughter baby food from jars. We normally did so when traveling or out. She liked a wide range of foods, including spicy gazpacho (a cold tomato soup) and salmon at an early age. Unless you have a history of allergies in the family, I think the only real things to worry about are undercooked foods, things he could choke on (nuts), and honey (until he’s one).

    For the co-sleeping, I agree with most everyone above, but I would say that it’s a good idea to at least try to get your son to start sleeping in his crib at the beginning of the night. Then, if he wakes up an hour later, you have the choice of putting him in your bed or trying to get him to fall back asleep. But you will be surprised – at some point, he may start sleeping in his crib for longer and longer periods of time. And you don’t have to have him cry-it-out – feed him a bottle, rock, sing, read books, etc. until he falls asleep.


  14. I wrote above that he eats meat. Not sure where you got the vegetarian diet from. I know that I said a while ago I was giving up meat (again) but I don’t always report back on my whims and about what I’m eating. I continue to eat all organic, free-range poultry. (Locally, more or less.) He consumes meat with us when we make meat dishes.

    I have given him scrambled eggs but only recently. He’s getting plenty of protein. In fact, I haven’t held back on giving him anything at all except for nuts and honey, really.

    And as far as his weight? He’s totally average. He’s spot on. Nothing to worry about there.

    co-sleeping will end soon enough. I get the feeling due to his independence everywhere else, he’s going to get sick of us before we him. We’ll continue to put him in his crib at first, see how that goes.


  15. Everyone above sounds very knowledgeable, and I don’t have kids so sadly, I have no advice. But I just wanted to coment and say that that first photo of you and Emory is gorgeous. You both look so happy and healthy.


  16. I say go with the simple response: don’t overthink it. Is he happy? Are you sane? Is anyone being unambiguously harmed? Okay then.


  17. We are pretty happy. He’s one of the happiest people I have ever known.


  18. I’m late on my response…but thought I’d write because we went through a phase like you are. We were scared about food and don’t want to give her bad eating habits. We stopped the baby food completely around 9 months. She was off formula at 12 months and our pedi. told us she can eat anything except peanuts.

    Wait until you get off formula…I was scared out of my mind that she wasn’t getting enough nutrients. I have her on a dropper of Enfamil vitamin drops in her whole milk every morning just to make sure she’s getting all she needs.

    Everything will settle down after he’s on whole milk and eating with you. It’s so much easier to just feed him what you’re having and cheaper too. I always know when I eat, I have to share with her…that helps me eat less too. ;)


  19. You know what my daughter LOVED at that age (and still loves)? Goat cheese.
    Also, I never fed her sugared yogurts- just the Fage Greek Yogurt I eat. She totally loves it and it’s great for her, with none of the sugar in the baby yogurts. There seems to be this theory that babies love everything sweet (sweet potatoes, fruit, etc.), but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. Just a little more IMO for you today! Apparently I love this topic.


  20. Don’t worry about “fat” at his age. He has so much growing to do, and I don’t think he’s eating as much as you think he is. My youngest hardly ate jar baby food. He ate baby cereal very briefly, then 1st foods very briefly, 2nd foods ditto, he made it to small solid chunks in record time. I swear he was in a rush to eat what we were eating. So we went with it. We just minced up what ever we were eating and he was happy as a clam (I gave away a small fortune in Gerber Graduates). When he got a few more teeth, he would just help himself to our plates. LOL Our stuff tastes better than what is on his own plate, apparently. I get such a kick out of watching him enjoy my cooking, that I don’t care what he eats, as long as he’s happy. My oldest is VERY picky and won’t eat anything I make. It’s a nice change of pace to have a kid who loves what I make. Don’t overthink yourself. Max weighs LESS than his big brother did at this age and it seems like he eats way more. Go figure.


  21. I gave him feta the other day and he smacked his lips into a frenzy, it was like River Dance only with baby lips instead of feet!

    Will totally try the greek yogurt. I tried the baby stuff and he loved it, but it upset his tummy so I’ve avoided it since. I usually eat the plain kind very low calorie and all organic. I add my own fresh fruit or granola. Maybe we’ll share!

    I think tomorrow I’ll make whole wheat pancakes, however.

    This is fun!


  22. This might be the sole negative remark on co-sleeping, but I just have to say that we co-slept with our oldest daughter for about a year before we decided that she needed to sleep in her own crib. While the first several nights were rough, we ALL slept better when she was out of our bed.


  23. Food/Snacking – The only thing I would be wary of is the amount of sodium/salt in whatever you’re eating that you might feed to Emory. Even organic products can contain too much, and it can be taxing on little ones’ kidneys. Otherwise, I don’t see the problem with grinding up whatever you and TJ are eating and giving him some. It certainly saves $ and it allows Emory to enjoy your food experience with you. Plus, at some point this is what will happen anyway.

    Sleeping – What do you think it is that keeps Emory sleeping through the night when he’s in bed with you? Warmth? The sounds of you breathing? My niece is an only child and at 8 years old she is still afraid to sleep in a bed by herself when she’s visiting my parents. She’s otherwise a pretty independent person, so not sure what that’s all about. I visited my parents in VT once last summer (my niece flies in from L.A. each year to stay with them for the summer) and I got a kick out of seeing my niece next to my mother in bed and my father booted into the bed in the room next door.


  24. MJ: Great question. And I am not sure the answer. But we need to get him into his own bed soon, otherwise he’ll end up being an only child, too. ;]

    And, yeah, sodium is through the roof in a lot of foods. I call Trader Joe’s “sodium joe’s” for that very reason. Someday look at their prepackaged goods. Holy shit, the sodium content is outrageous.

    I will keep an eye out for that for sure.


  25. No time to read the rest of the comments, though I am sure they are all very intelligent, but here is my two cents:

    Our ped actually recommends grazing/snacking for little people – their bodies use calories differently than we do, and if they are hungry at 3pm, they should eat. Having healthy snacks on hand is key in our house, and she must always ask before getting them. It wasn’t until she was 2 or so that we expected her to eat most of her food at meals, though we did sit her with us and present food to her regardless.

    If you don’t have a steamer basket, get one. While you are cooking dinner chop and steam the veggies without spices, and let him practice his pincher grasp to occupy him. Once he is tired of trying to get the food in his mouth by himself, throw the leftovers in the mill and feed him the mush at the table. :)


  26. I have to agree with all the previous posters! Table food is easiest (with some variations on texture), and babies seem to like it best. I have given up eating or drinking anything I don’t want my son to have. If I eat it, he must have it. Same with liquids. I don’t drink any pop at all, as I don’t want him drinking it. He does get sips of my tea, which isn’t ideal, but I try to only drink non-caffeinated ones when he is awake. I think Jonah was about Emory’s age when he started self feeding himself, and wanting only what we ate, off our plates. Have you tried soup? I make Caldo Verde, a portuguese soup of kale, potatoes, onions, garlic and chicken broth, and Jonah has gobbled it down since he was about 8 months. I started him on kale when he was very young so I’d be able to feed him caldo verde, as we eat it very often! Now he is nearly 2, I just give him his own bowl of soup, after I add a few ice cubes to cool it, and he spoons and or drinks it up. But at Emory’s age I would spoon feed him soup.
    Garlic is always a big hit in our house too, the more garlicky the better for our little guy.


  27. my boy is a month younger than yours. i’ve given up on baby food from jars. ryan won’t let it get past his lips since the day i gave him some “real” sweet potato mash. now i make everything and mush it up for him adding the water from the pot i boiled/poached it in. and now that he’s wanting finger foods we give him some of our food as well. we don’t actually own a highchair otherwise he’d have exactly what we have minus the salt. babies need the food intake…especially when they are active. they also need FAT (yes fat :P) for brain development.
    try making your own version of the foods that come prepackaged that way he gets the flavor, can use loads of spices, but not the salt.
    as for co sleeping. my brother and i both slept with my mom when babies and beyond. if it works for your family that’s all that matters. i would have been happy to let ryan sleep in my bed but my partner didn’t so we’ve opted for the cry it out.
    emory looks happy enough for it all. and hair is overrated. it just gathers food…and snot.


  28. Michele Chaves May 1, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Emory is truly one of the cutest little guys I have ever seen and, I think anyone who reads this site on a regular basis would agree, he seems to be overflowing with happiness. He’s happy and curious and absolutely perfect. You worry far too much. I think your doctor is a little nutty for telling you to cut snacks. I firmly believe that babies eat what they need and that changes at different times. Clearly, food isn’t a problem in your house and he’s not exposed to crap so don’t worry one moment about it.


  29. Jesus lord he is gorgeous.


  30. He may not have a head of hair, but his eyebrows are stunningly perfect….

    Sure, let him eat your food – why on earth not? Do you really want to have to prepare separate meals for years?
    My friends feed their child a lot of baby puree – it costs a bucket – but given a chance he’ll eat most things, he just needs the chance.
    I made sweet potato soup with garlic, cumin and lemon for the adults, and he was determined to try some. It had big, grown-up flavours, yet he ate it with relish, making “MmmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMmmmmmmMMMM!” noises the whole time.
    Expose him to the foods you hope he will eventually enjoy with you both (and food can go in and out of favour with toddlers and children, as we all know), and look forward to enjoying cooking with him, going out to restaurants etc.
    I always wonder how children in India and Thailand are fed as young things – if they can handle breast-milk from a spicy eater, and presumably learn to eat spicy food quite early on, why on earth not Emory?


  31. Thought I would mention that you may want to wait on the sleeping until you move. You might have to start all over again with the new place/room/etc. Who wants to go through that twice:)


  32. I love that he is so curious about trying your food and has such a healthy appetite. It was really delightful watching him try your food at Nita Nita. Think how much fun this summer is going to be when everything comes into season at the greenmarkets – berries, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, squash… I can’t wait to hear about how he does with all of that!


  33. My son sleeps with us too (5 months old). I’m not going to stress the future too much. He won’t be in bed with us when he is a teenager. Besides, I think I like it at much as he does. How nice is it to cuddle with a sleeping baby? Too nice to give up anytime soon I say!


  34. I was telling TobyJoe earlier on IM:

    Every parent & family & friend thinks their child is cute.

    But I’m too honest, logical, cynical, awful. Truth be told, many babies aren’t. Most of the babies I see are ugly – and I can see how they’ll grow up awkwardly.

    Some are super cute though. Emory is one of them. He’s damn adorable.

    You two have good genes it seems. He’s seriously 100x cuter than the babies I have to pretend are cute.


  35. that is so cute.
    but you know you are being a child abuser by simply writing about him. Sorry – just read Dooce article – sooo just kidding.


  36. Dante has slept with us since the night he was born and I couldn’t be happier. It really works for us.

    That said, you just gotta do what works while it works, and then when it doesn’t work for you anymore, do what comes next… (Smart advice about waiting for the move, however. Seems like an organic break for the habit, no?)


  37. delurking to say that at about this age is when i started making my boy’s food (i used recipes from super baby foods and something else i can’t remember the name of). i made them good-n-chunky and he was actually eating better than we were. vegetarian chili! sweet potatoes au gratin! yummmmy! and, as one who doesn’t cook often, i surprised myself by how much i enjoyed it.
    as for snacking? most studies show that it’s much healthier for children to eat many meals a day than to have only 3 regular meals. snacking is good and healthy, i say! he may not be hungry, just more interested.
    waving howdy from bay ridge!


  38. I am a first time Mom to a 7.5 month old little boy. You have so many good responses above, so I thought I would just say HI!


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