Solid Foods: How Much and When to Feed Baby
Breast Milk and Formula Up to 9 Months
Nearly all of a 6- to 8-month-old’s calories should still come from breast milk or formula, says Natalie Muth, M.D., R.D.N., coauthor of The Picky Eater Project. Aim to feed Baby 20 to 28 ounces of formula daily, or give him breast milk every three to four hours.
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Breast Milk and Formula at 9 to 12 Months
During this time, aim to feed Baby 16 to 24 ounces of formula daily, or give her breast milk every four to five hours.
Cereal and Other Foods at 4 to 6 Months
Since Baby is still getting most of his calories from liquid, don’t stress about getting him to eat bite after bite. Feed up to two meals daily (and as little as one every couple of days), with each one 2 to 4 tablespoons. Offer foods such as iron-fortified single-grain baby cereal, and pureed vegetables, fruits, and meats. (To identify possible allergic reactions or digestive issues, don’t introduce more than one food at a time.)
Cereal and Other Foods Around 6 to 9 Months
Around 6-9 months, offer finger foods. (These should start to dominate at about 9 months.) Use this as an opportunity to introduce fruits and vegetables, like bananas and avocados. You might also try microwaved sweet potatoes, shredded cheese, or sliced strawberries or grapes. Babies like to play with their food, so also consider using yogurt or oatmeal as a dip for vegetables or whole-grain crackers. Just remember to chop or dice foods and to avoid those that are small, round, hard, or the size of a child's airway.
Cereal and Other Foods at 7 Months
Feed three meals daily, each about the size of your baby's fist. Introduce foods such as mixtures of strained vegetables, fruit, yogurt, cottage cheese, and casseroles. "One of the things I really like about casseroles is that if the child likes the base flavor, you can add a bunch of other vegetables to it, and he's often fine with it," says Alan Greene, MD, author of Feeding Baby Green, who makes a pasta casserole in red sauce for his family. Sometimes he adds broccoli; other times he throws in asparagus or peas.
Cereal and Other Foods for 9 to 12 Months
“By 9 to 12 months, about half of your baby’s calories should come from food and the other half from breast milk or formula,” Dr. Muth says. Babies at this age tend to have an adventurous palate—they’ve learned eating tastes good, so don’t be afraid to give her chopped-up nibbles from your plate of well-seasoned food. If she wants more, feed her more, but if she pushes food away, don’t take it personally.
Baby Food After 12 Months
“After the first birthday, most of the calories your baby consumes should come from finely chopped table food,” Dr. Muth says. To meet his calcium needs, serve whole milk in a sippy cup at meals and with snacks. Toddlers should drink about 2 to 3 cups a day. Aiming for set meal and snack times can also pay off, since he’ll be more hungry and thus willing to try new things.
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