Child development milestones: 9 to 12 months

First steps, exploration, and language comprehension are all part for the course at this age.

Foods and feeding skills

Since 9 months, kids have been actively using their "pincer" fingers to pick up small objects. Now they have mastered chewing. These are signs that they may be ready for bigger-kid foods like dried bread and cereal. They're experimenting with drinking from a cup and showing interest in utensils.


Children's' interest in small objects has only gotten stronger at this age, and parents become extra aware of what's on the floor. Children are still reaching and exploring so installing stove-knob protectors, watching panhandles and using back burners all become good ideas. This is also the age of water safety not just for the bath, but even for shallow water like mop buckets and the toilet. The words of the day: "No!" "Hot!" "Sharp!"

Some safe foods

Generally, foods that dissolve easily in children's mouths are best (yes, this is where Cheerios® may come into the picture). Parents keep a close eye at this stage to make sure their children are sitting up and can handle swallowing.

  • Breast milk or formula
  • Yogurt and cottage cheese
  • Pieces of soft, cooked or canned vegetables and fruit
  • Breads and cereals
  • Pancakes and waffles
  • Cooked noodles
  • Crackers and cookies (without nuts or chunks)
  • Finely cut meat, fish, casseroles, cheese, eggs and legumes

Choking hazards

  • Grapes, berries or raisins
  • Nuts
  • Hot dogs or luncheon meats
  • Potato chips and popcorn
  • Candy and gum
  • Raw or undercooked vegetables
  • Peanut butter on a spoon

Cheerios is a healthy way to start the day, a tasty anytime snack, and a fun addition to kids’ recipes.

Parents can feel good about serving Cheerios to their little ones. Cheerios are made from 100 percent natural whole grain oats and have no artificial colors or flavors. Even pediatricians agree that Cheerios makes a great first finger food; 9 out of 10 pediatricians with children serve Cheerios to their own toddlers. Cheerios also provides at least 2/3 of toddlers’ daily whole grain recommendation and has only one gram of sugar.

Sample menu plan

  • 8 to 10 oz. breast milk or formula
  • 2 to 4 tbsp. iron-fortified infant cereal
  • 2 to 4 tbsp. canned peaches
Mid a.m.
  • 4 oz. vitamin-C-rich juice from cup
  • 1/2 slice bread, bite-size pieces
  • 8 to 10 oz. breast milk or formula
  • 1 oz. baked chicken, finely diced
  • 4 tbsp. carrots, cooked and diced
Mid p.m.
  • 1/4 cup cereal, like Cheerios® cereal
  • 8 to 10 oz. breast milk or formula
  • 1/2 cup casserole of ground beef, rice and peas (with 1 oz. of meat)


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