Posts may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Pinecones and Pacifiers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. See Disclaimer and Disclosure for more details.

Self-feeding meal ideas and tips for solids with 8-12 month old babies. How to get started, what foods to serve, and food ideas with pictures for meal time inspiration.

Hi there! I’m a mom of 3 sharing our experience of starting solids and some of our self-feeding food ideas for beginner eaters. These meals ideas are what my babies ate from about 8-12 months when they were just beginning to eat solid foods.

NEW TO SOLID FOODS? Start here >> Baby-Led Weaning Food Ideas or Combining Purees and Baby-Led Weaning or 7 Month Old Baby-Led Weaning Meal Ideas. This post is for beginner eaters, but doesn’t go into too much detail on how to first introduce solid foods.

With my first, we jumped in right away with purees starting at 4 months old and by 8 months old he could eat all of the food ideas shown below. However, my second and third didn’t like purees, so we waited until 6 months to start on solid foods.

There isn’t a right or wrong way to feed your baby, so rest assured that whichever feeding method you are using your baby can adapt and grow into eating solids! Always consult your doctor to make sure your baby is ready to start solids.

If you are looking for more toddler meal ideas for babies or toddlers, check out more posts from my feeding series:

Best Feeding Supplies for Babies

Having the right baby feeding supplies for self-feeding can go a long way in helping your baby self-feed (or at the very least save your sanity and keep your dining room a little cleaner). These are some of our favorites:

Baby self-feeding food in high chair

EZPZ Mini Bowl: made with non-toxic silicone so they are safer for your baby! We love EZPZ because their plates and bowls suction to the table, they come in the cutest colors, the quality is great, and they are dishwasher safe!

WeeSprout Silicone Suction Plates: our go-to divided plate! Made of silicone, dishwasher safe, and the suction is strong!!

Boon High Chair: we have tried quite a few high chairs and this is our current favorite! The whole thing can be put in the dishwasher for easy cleaning and it can extent to counter height.

Grabease Baby Utensils: Favorite utensils for 6-12 months. We use these utensils starting around 6-8 months and they are perfect for little hands to grasp!

Pillowfort Divided Plates: not suction, but very affordable and great into the toddler years.

Visit our Amazon Shop to see all of our favorite baby feeding products!

What is Baby Led Weaning?

To start table food we used many methods discussed in the baby-led weaning (BLW) approach.

You may be asking what exactly is BLW? Baby-led weaning is an approach of weaning (or moving off of breastmilk and formula) which focuses on developing age and developmentally appropriate eating skills. Normally this means self-feeding solid foods.

Self-feeding can help your baby develop important hand eye-coordination and fine motor skills as they learn to pick up food with their whole hand and eventually their pincher grasp.

It also can teach them how to gnaw, gum, or chew food appropriately so that eating solids is safe and fun for everyone. For more benefits of BLW check out my post on our experience: Baby-Led Weaning Tips

Traditionally those who do BLW bypass purees, but many of the methods such as promoting self-feeding and starting at a young age can also be utilized by those who start with purees.

Fry Shape for Self-Feeding

One big tip I want to share from our experience starting solids with the BLW approach is to cut the food “correctly” for young babies. A good visual for cutting BLW food is to cut into a “fry” shape about the size of your pinky finger.

>>> Shop this Crinkle Cutter Tool on Amazon <<<

Young babies have very tiny airways and food can easily get stuck. The “fry” shape is great for early eaters because it helps avoid chocking and teaches baby to first gnaw on the food, and then eventually bite and chew.

It’s also helpful for young babies to grasp before they have their pincer grasp to pick up smaller sized things. Once your baby has mastered picking up the fry shaped foods and gumming (and also has developed their pincer) grasp, you can move onto smaller bite-sized foods.

Follow Your Baby’s Lead with Self-Feeding

Another tip we picked up from BLW is to follow your baby’s lead. Before one, food is just a complement to breastmilk and formula. They are learning to eat and might not like a lot of different tastes and textures yet.

Its okay if they gag on food, spit it out, don’t eat very much at one sitting, or even if they don’t eat anything at all. BLW is all about exploration of food and learning to eat. Playing with food is totally acceptable and encouraged when your baby is first learning to self feed.

The best thing that you can do when starting baby self-feeding is to keep offering a wide variety of foods. be patient, and don’t get frustrated. It can take multiple exposures to the same food before your baby feels comfortable enough to eat it.

Baby boy self-feeding food at table

Link to our favorite EZPZ Mini Mat: EZPZ Mini Mat (Use EZPZ25LOVE for 25% off $75+)

Feeding & Meal Time Schedule for 8-12 Months

Food before one is important, but it should be a compliment to breastmilk and formula. As your toddler gets close to one-year-old they may begin to wean from breastmilk or formula and prefer solid foods and that’s totally okay!

To make sure that we were always prioritizing liquid feedings before my babies turned one, its recommended to offer breastmilk or formula first and then offer solids about an hour later.

Both of my boys have always thrived on routines and schedules since they were very young (we followed the Babywise method). Here is the approximate feeding routine we used from 8-12 months old.

  • 7:30 am – wake up, nurse/bottle
  • 8:00 am – Breakfast
  • 10:00 – Nap 1
  • 11:30 am – Nurse/bottle
  • 12:30 pm – Lunch
  • 2:00 pm – Nap 2
  • 3:30 pm – Nurse/bottle
  • 5:30 pm – Dinner
  • 7:30 pm – Nurse/bottle
  • 8:00 pm – Bed
Baby girl self feeding food in high chair from a pink plate

Beginner Self-Feeding Food Ideas


  1. Blueberries (smush or halve)
  2. Strawberries
  3. Raspberries
  4. Blackberries
  5. Plum
  6. Pineapple
  7. Cooked apples/pears
  8. Grapes (quartered)
  9. Watermelon
  10. Canned peaches/pears
  11. Mandarin oranges
  12. Pears
  13. Amara Organic Smoothie Melts


  1. Cooked broccoli
  2. Cooked carrots
  3. Cucumber
  4. Sweet potato
  5. Peas
  6. Cooked peppers
  7. Cooked cauliflower
  8. Green beans
  9. Tomatoes


  1. Toast strips
  2. Pasta
  3. Dry cereal or puffs
  4. Waffle strips
  5. French Toast
  6. Mac ‘n cheese
  7. Grilled cheese
  8. PB&J bites
  9. Avocado toast
  10. Quesadilla
  11. Flaky Crackers


  1. Scrambled eggs
  2. Avocado
  3. Shredded cheese
  4. Flaky fish
  5. Chicken sausage
  6. Deli meat
  7. Chicken Salad
  8. Baked beans
  9. Meatballs
  10. Ground beef/turkey
  11. Black beans
  12. Tuna
  13. Shredded meat (the more tender the better)

Baby food/ Pouches

Even if you start with baby-led weaning or self-feeding foods, baby food pouches can be a great way to supplement or feed your baby on the go. Add purees to sauces, smoothies, inside quesadillas, or serve as a dip!

Here are some of our favorite organic baby food brands:

Baby with serenity kids baby food pouches
  • Serenity Kids Pouches (Use JESSICA15 for 15% off)– clean, organic, meat and veggie ingredients for a farm-to-table experience for your baby. We love that they include no sugary fruits and have extra nutrients for your baby. See my full review on Serenity Kids.
  • Amara Baby Food (Use PANDP15 for 15% off)– superfood, organic, and no-sugar added baby food packets. We love that you can customize the thickness and consistency for your baby! See my full review on Amara Baby Food.

Self-Feeding Meal Ideas by Age

8 Month Old Self Feeding

Self-feeding meal ideas for 8 month old
  1. Avocado toast – with scrambled eggs and chicken sausage (Applegate brand is our favorite!)
  2. Waffle strips – cut into strips for younger eaters to help with grasp and gnawing, side of diced mandarin oranges and chicken sausage.
  3. Yogurt – full fat yogurt with smushed blueberries. Add a spoon to practice self feeding!
  4. French toast – one of my absolute favorite recipes for babies, cut into strips and served with (canned) pear halves.

Another similar recipe: 3 Ingredient Baby Banana Pancakes for Self Feeding

8 month old breakfast
  1. Hashbrown breakfast: Hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, and avocado
  2. Dry Cereal: Cheerios and diced plums
  3. Whole grain waffle: Waffle strips with a thin layer of peanut butter
  4. Peanut Butter Toast strips: Peanut butter toast strips, scrambled eggs, avocado
8 month old lunch ideas
  1. Hard Boiled Eggs – cut hard boiled eggs into quarters for baby self-feeding, sides of cooked carrot sticks and quartered grapes.
  2. Turkey – turkey deli meat, strawberries, mandarin oranges, and full-fat greek yogurt.
  3. Pulled chicken – deconstructed fajitas with pulled chicken, cooked bell peppers and cheese.
  4. Pasta w/ squash sauce – cooked pasta mixed with a squash pouch from My Serenity Kids (Use JESSICA15 to save 15%)
8 month old 4 plates
  1. Chicken sausage: chicken sausage, sweet potato fries, riced broccoli
  2. Flaky white fish: white fish and green beans
  3. Baked beans: baked beans, avocado, hamburger
  4. Ground pork: ground pork and broccoli

Read More > 8 Month Old Baby Self Feeding

9 Month Old Meal Ideas

9 month old self-feeding breakfast
  1. Pancakes – pancakes are a great option for babies because they are soft and easy to eat, side of scrambled eggs and raspberries.
  2. Sourdough toast – whatever kind of bread is fine, but we love sourdough! Peanut butter toast, scrambled eggs, and strawberries
  3. Avocado toast – cut into strips with bananas, halved blueberries, and scrambled eggs.
  4. Banana French toast – one of our favorite recipes for easy banana French toast, side of halved blueberries and raspberries.

Favorite plates: WeeSprout suction divided plates & EZPZ mini mat

9 month old plate
  1. Chicken salad: homemade chicken salad made with chicken, avocado, and veggies, and a side of halved blueberries
  2. Sweet potato tots: sweet potato tots, grapes quartered, and peas
  3. French toast: french toast with raspberries cooked in (similar to this recipe)
  4. Jelly toast bites: jelly toast cut into bites, scrambled eggs
9 month old lunch ideas
  1. Broccoli littlesDr. Praeger’s broccoli littles, grapes quartered, and string cheese
  2. Turkey & puffs – deli turkey, cucumbers, berries, and pumpkin puffs from My Serenity Kids (Use JESSICA15 to save 15%)
  3. Teething biscuit with hummus – level up your teething biscuit and spread hummus on top, with cooked carrot sticks, and smushed blueberries.
  4. Sweet potato littlesDr. Praeger’s sweet potato littles, diced beets, oranges, and blueberries
9 month old plates
  1. Fruit & veggies: Cook carrots cut into strips, pineapple, string cheese, avocado
  2. Spinach Littles: Grapes quartered, string cheese, peaches, cooked apples, crackers, Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles
  3. Chicken Sausage: Chicken sausage, grapes quartered, shredded cheddar cheese, avocado, string cheese, watermelon
  4. Avocado + Lunch Meat: Deli turkey, shredded cheddar cheese, avocado

Read More > 9 Month Old Self-Feeding Food Ideas

10 Month Old Meal Ideas

10 month old meals
  1. Oatmeal BitesDr. Praeger’s oatmeal littles, full fat yogurt, and raspberries.
  2. Toast with cream cheese – toast strips with cream cheese and jelly, mandarin oranges
  3. Bananas & PB – diced bananas topped with a drizzle of peanut butter (too much can be a choking hazard), blackberries quartered, cucumbers and cooked carrots
  4. PB&J – peanut butter and jelly cut into very small pieces, oranges, and cucumbers
10 month old meal ideas (4 meals)
  1. Veggie corn dog: Morningstar Farms Veggie corn dog, grapes, peas and carrots
  2. Chicken meatball: KidFresh chicken veggie meatballs, string cheese, grapes quartered
  3. Mac ‘n cheese: Annie’s Four Cheese penne, and grapes quartered
  4. Grilled cheese: grilled cheese bites, peaches, peas and carrots

Our favorite silicone toddler plates & bowls: EZPZ Fun  (Use code EZPZ25LOVE for 25% off $75+)

10 month old lunch ideas
  1. Ground Beef + Beans – deconstructed taco plate with ground beef, refried beans, cheese, tomato, and smushed avocado
  2. Rotisserie chicken – pulled chicken, berries, cucumber with hummus, and pumpkin puffs from My Serenity Kids (Use JESSICA15 to save 15%)
  3. Pasta with Alfredo sauce – pasta with white sauce, cooked broccoli, and quartered grapes
  4. Quesadilla – quesadilla strip, strawberries, grapes, cucumbers, and avocado
10 month old meal ideas graphic
  1. Meatball: ground beef meatball, sweet potato fries, green beans, peppers, carrots and broccoli
  2. Deconstructed Taco plate: Spanish rice, avocado, shredded cheese, black beans
  3. Pesto Pasta with Veggies: pasta with pesto sauce, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli
  4. Tuna salad: tuna salad, tomatoes, avocado, mandarin oranges

Related post: Lunch Ideas for 10 Month Olds

11 Month Old Meal Ideas

11 month old breakfast plates
  1. Oatmeal – make your own with one of these recipes or use pre-packaged from Amara (use PANP15 for 15% off)
  2. Jelly Toast – jelly toast strips with a side of diced bananas
  3. Bananas with PB – scrambled eggs and bananas with peanut butter drizzled on top (too much peanut butter can be a choking hazard).
  4. Zucchini Scrambled Eggs – scrambled eggs with diced zucchini and cheese, banana, and Veggies Made Great blueberry muffin
11 month old lunch self-feeding
  1. Hamburger – diced hamburger with cheese, tomatoes, string cheese, and raspberries
  2. Mac & Cheese – add thawed frozen veggies to mac and cheese to get in some veggies, cucumber hummus, and quartered grapes.
  3. Pizza – pizza made on Naan bread, asparagus, and diced pineapple
  4. Grilled Cheese – grilled cheese cut into strips with sweet potato, black beans, and tomato

Looking for 12 month meal ideas? Check out this post: 12 Month Old Meal Ideas

More toddler meal ideas:

You might also like these recent related posts:

Self-feeding baby food ideas for 8-12 months graphic
Self-feeding meal ideas and tips for solids with 8-12 month old babies. How to get started, what foods to serve, and food ideas with pictures for meal time inspiration.