0-12 Month Old Feeding Guide

0-12 Month Old Feeding Guide

Becoming a parent is a whilwhind of joy - and uncertainties. Unfortunately, the who, what, where, when, and hows of all things baby related don’t always come naturally. Your baby’s eating journey may be one of those things. Things like how much they should eat, when to start solids, and establishing an eating schedule that is appropriate for your little one can be overwhelming. Keep reading as we break down feeding guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and take a deep dive into common questions about all things eating related in the first year. 

What should my baby’s  eating schedule be?

Before we dive in, keep in mind that these recommendations are guidelines and not hard and fast rules for every baby. All babies develop and grow at their own pace. Additionally, gestational age at birth may affect feeding frequencies and amounts in the early months. (1) 

Newborn: Newborns are frequent feeders. Since their stomachs are very small, they need to eat as often as every two-three hours. This can equate to 8-12 times per 24 hour period. (2) 

4-6 months: By the time your baby has outgrown the newborn stage, their stomachs have grown significantly and are able to take in and hold more breastmilk or formular per feeding. As a result, most babies are comfortable with 3-5 hours between each feeding. (2) This usually means more sleep for you (yay!) Some infants start exploring solids before six months, but this shouldn’t affect an eating schedule too much at this age since amounts consumed will be minimal. 

6-8 months: This is when things get interesting - and messy. Most pediatricians, including the AAP, recommend introducing solids around six months of age. (3) Because early food introduction will not account for a significant source of nutrition or substance, breastmilk and/or formula feeding schedules may not be impacted initially. That said, breast or bottle/cup feedings between 6-8 months may still frequent every 4-5 hours. (2)

8-12 months: Now that many babies have outgrown their tongue thrust reflex and are becoming pros at eating real food, snacks and meals become an important addition to their eating routines. By 12 months, many babies every couple of hours on a schedule that includes a morning breakfast, morning snack, afternoon lunch, dinner, and breastmilk or formula before they go to bed. Your baby should still consume some breastmilk or formula with solid foods at this age. (4) Small amounts of water may be included as well. 


How much food should a baby eat  by age?

Just as the frequency of feedings can vary between each baby, the amounts may as well. Don’t be alarmed if your baby eats slightly more or less than the following outline - but any significant differences or fluctuations should always be brought up to their pediatrician. 

Newborn: Brand new babies have very tiny stomachs and their first few days of life they may only take in .5-3oz of breastmilk or formula per feeding. Towards the end of the newborn stage, it is common for babies to consume up to 6oz. per feeding. (5)

4-6 months: By now, your baby may be drinking up to 8oz. per feeding. (5) Many parents, with their pediatricians approval, start solid food by six months. As babies get used to solids, they likely won’t consume a significant amount per meal. Formula or breastmilk is still their main source of sustenance. 

6-8 months: Solids foods will likely account for a larger part of a baby’s diet by 8 months old. They might consume 2-4oz. of purees, cereal, or other very soft foods per meal or snack. Formula or breastmilk should still given, up to 8oz. per feeding. (5)

8-12 months: Progressing to mashed, chopped, or small finger foods, your baby may consume up to one cup of food per meal or snack, along with up to 8oz. of breastmilk or formula per feeding. (6) If that sounds like alot, just wait until their teen years!

What are the first foods to try with a baby?

When your baby shows signs of readiness to introduce solid foods, such as sitting up unassisted, good head control, and no more tongue thrust reflex, it’s time to invest in a good stain remover and begin their solids journey. First foods must be very, very soft. Things like pureed fruits, vegetables, meats, beans, or iron-fortified cereals are perfect for a new eater. There is no “right or wrong” order of first foods, but it is recommended to refrain from introducing new foods simultaneously in the beginning just incase an allergy presents. (7)

How do I calculate my baby's food intake?

Calculating the amount of baby food your little one consumes is easy - as long as it is offered in measured portions. Most prepackaged baby foods come in standard 2-4oz containers. If you choose to make baby food at home, you can premeasure servings in measuring cups. In the event that your baby doesn’t finish an entire portion, you can estimate how much they consumed based on what is left in their bowl - and how much might be on their bib. 

How long can a baby go between feedings?

Exactly how long a baby can go between feedings will be dependent on their age, size, preferences, and nutritional needs. Babies may display signs of hunger such as crankiness, searching for breast, smacking lips, or opening and closing their mouth. (8)

What foods can babies not eat?

There are some foods that babies cant eat that may be more obvious, such as excessive amounts of sugar or raw eggs, but other food items on the “no-no” list may not be as well-known. For example, infants under the age of 1 year old should not have honey due to the risk of botulism. (9) Other things that you should wait before introducing are raw shellfish, whole nuts, rice drinks, or anything with excessive amounts of salt. (9)

What time is too late to feed baby solids?

Since infant’s digestive systems are still developing, feeding solid foods too soon before bed can be a bad idea. It is best to cut off solid food consumption about one hour before baby’s nap or bed time to ensure that they have plenty of time to digest before laying down. (10)

How do I know when my baby is ready for 2 meals a day?

By the time your baby is ready for two meals per day, they likely won’t have a problem expressing their hunger to you. Many infants eat two meals per day by the age of 9 months old. (11)

When should I switch my baby from 2 to 3 meals?

By 10-11 months, your baby will likely be ready for 3 meals per day. Don’t forget the snacks! (11)

Conclusion


Knowing the ins-and-outs of feeding your baby can seem daunting at first. Keep in mind that babies are very good at hunger cues, and learning them gets easier with time. When it comes to sleep, however, it’s okay to need a little bit of help. Don’t worry though, we’ve got your back - and theirs, with CoverCalm® technology. Our gently weighted Sleep Essentials naturally reduce stress and improves relaxation through deep touch stimulation. When they sleep better - so can you! 

Sources:

  1. https://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/Gyn/Lactation/FeedingPlanBornBefore38weeks.pdf
  2. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/how-often-and-how-much-should-your-baby-eat.aspx#:~:text=Most%20newborns%20eat%20every%202,by%202%20weeks%20of%20age.
  3. https://www.aap.org/en/patient-care/healthy-active-living-for-families/infant-food-and-feeding/
  4. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/sample-one-day-menu-for-an-8-to-12-month-old.aspx
  5. https://www.healthline.com/health/parenting/baby-feeding-schedule#how-often-to-feed
  6. https://www.unicef.org/parenting/food-nutrition/feeding-your-baby-1-2-years#:~:text=At%201%20year%2C%20solid%20foods,at%20least%202%20years%20old.
  7. https://www.eatright.org/health/pregnancy/babys-first-foods/dos-and-donts-for-babys-first-foods#:~:text=Solid%20foods%20may%20be%20introduced,be%20introduced%20at%20a%20time.
  8. https://wicbreastfeeding.fns.usda.gov/babys-hunger-cues
  9. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/weaning-and-feeding/foods-to-avoid-giving-babies-and-young-children/
  10. https://babysleepconsultant.co/blogs/news/can-solids-affect-how-well-your-baby-sleeps#:~:text=While%20milk%20is%20fine%20to,day%20or%20in%20the%20evening.

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