My son is 9 1/2 months old. While he loves to feed himself Cheerios and other hard foods (crackers, pretzels), he doesn't do too well with other foods, such as peas, carrots, pasta, etc. He's okay with thick mashed potatoes, but not much else. Any advice on helping him along with feeding himself beyond the food we spoon-feed him? Certain foods you suggest I try? Am I rushing him?
What a wonderful age of discovery–for your son and for you! At 9 1/2 months, many kids begin to reject soft purees and being spoon-fed; they want to feed themselves. Thankfully, most kids still get most of their nutrition from breast milk or formula, so the solids become something that they can experiment with without pressure (for you or for him) while he learns to like them.
Other finger foods you might try include (be sure to get videos!) are slices of banana, pasta, slices of carrot that are cooked so they are pretty soft, and string cheese.
Kids at 9 months tend to especially like foods that have been on your plate first. Imitating those they admire is very fun. Chicken and other meats can be great choices, as long as they are cut small enough that choking is not an issue. In Feeding Baby Green I give recipes for what I call Treasure Trays – perfect for these little explorers and their families.
In the meantime, by letting him hold his own spoon while you spoon feed, or by alternating bites with a spoon you load with food (you feed one, he feeds himself one), he may enjoy spoon food longer as he learns to love healthy finger food.