Sample Baby Feeding Schedules
Your babys early days with solids should be about helping her get into the flow of mealtime with the family. Ideally, shell eat at times when everyone else is at the table, too.
Just keep in mind that, since the bulk of your babys nutrition should still be coming from breast milk or formula until she turns 1, those liquid meals should continue to take priority.
You can start off with just one or two solid meals per day whichever ones are most convenient for you.
For instance, offer breakfast and dinner if your cutie is in day care and you want the honors of feeding her solids. If its too hard to squeeze in dinner before her bedtime milk feeding, begin with breakfast and lunch.
As your baby hits 8 or 9 months and starts eating more foods , you can transition to three meals.
These sample schedules below may help you envision how solids can fit into your baby’s day just remember that every child is different. Your little one’s schedule may not be predictable or consistent until she hits toddlerhood. However, you might find that a typical day looks something like this:
First Foods To Give Your Baby And How To Prepare It
Foods such as rice cereal or oat cereal are a great place to start.
Mix it with breast milk or formula. It should have a pureed, smooth consistency, Dr. Prabhakaran says. And then you can thicken or thin it, depending on how your baby accepts it.
You could also start with other single-ingredient foods, such as mashed fruit or vegetables.
If its already soft like a banana, for example just mash it up. If its not naturally soft, cook and then puree it. And if youre buying from the store, start with stage-one baby foods, Dr. Prabhakaran adds.
Try the following foods, too, ensuring that theyre pureed to a super-smooth consistency no chunks! so your baby can handle them.
- Tree nuts.
The CDC says that children under 12 months old shouldnt drink cows milk, but its OK to introduce them to other dairy products, including yogurt made from cows milk, earlier than that.
Why 6 Months Of Age Is Ideal For Beginning Solids
Human milk provides all the nutrients that babies need for about the first 6 months of life. Once the iron stored in your baby’s liver during pregnancy is used up , iron-rich foods such as meats or iron-fortified cereals need to be added to your babys diet. Around 6 months is also when most babies show signs that they are developmentally ready solid foods, so be sure to watch for the following:
- Your baby shows an interest in food others are eating.
- Your baby sits up with little or no support.
- Your baby holds her head up.
- Your baby picks up soft foods.
- Your baby puts those foods in her mouth.
- Your baby keeps her tongue in the bottom of her mouth and accepts a spoon.
- Your baby keeps food in her mouth and swallows rather than pushing it out with her tongue.
- Your baby indicates fullness by turning her head away or refusing to open her mouth.
If your baby makes no effort to pick up foods and feed herself or reacts negatively to a spoon touching her lips, shes likely telling you shes not yet ready for solid foods. Consider trying a different food. If she still refuses, wait a few days and try again.
For more on introducing solids, including which foods to offer first, read this.
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How Should I Prepare Food For My Child To Eat
At first, its easier for your child to eat foods that are mashed, pureed, or strained and very smooth in texture. It can take time for your child to adjust to new food textures. Your child might cough, gag, or spit up. As your babys oral skills develop, thicker and lumpier foods can be introduced.
Some foods are potential choking hazards, so it is important to feed your child foods that are the right texture for his or her development. To help prevent choking, prepare foods that can be easily dissolved with saliva and do not require chewing. Feed small portions and encourage your baby to eat slowly. Always watch your child while he or she is eating.
Here are some tips for preparing foods:
Foods And Drinks For 6 To 24 Month Olds
When your child is about 6 months old, you can start introducing him or her to foods and drinks other than breast milk and infant formula.
The foods and drinks you feed your child are sometimes called complementary foods.alert iconYou can think of these as complementing, or adding to, the breast milk or infant formula that you continue to feed your child.
Between your childs first and second year, he or she will develop the skills needed to participate in meals with the family, and by the time your child is 2 years old, he or she will be able to eat most of the same foods as the rest of the family. Some skills, such as finger feeding, drinking from a cup, and using a spoon are part of your childs developmental milestones. Explore the pages below to learn more.
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For Both Breastfed And Bottle
- Dont give liquids other than formula or breast milk to babies under a year old. That includes juices and cows milk. They dont provide the right nutrients and can be upsetting to your babys tummy. Water can be introduced around 6 months when you start offering a cup.
- Dont add baby cereal to a bottle.
- It can create a choking hazard.
- A babys digestive system isnt mature enough to handle cereal until about 4 to 6 months of age.
- You could overfeed your baby.
Or 7 Month Olds That Refuse Solids:
- I just need a little more time. 4-6 months of age is the perfect time to introduce baby to solid foods, but sometimes the baby isnt ready. Actually, this is really common when the baby is closer to 4 and 5 months old, but is still totally normal at 6 months of age. Babies are still learning how to move their tongue and bring toys to their mouth, which helps them get used to having foreign objects in there. Each baby is unique and yours may just need some practice if they are in this age range. Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for introducing food and make sure your baby is ready for solids. You can also find my guide to Introducing Solids with more details on milestones to look for when 6 months old.
- A strong tongue thrust reflex Most babies usually lose this reflex that helps them not choke if something accidentally gets into their mouth around 4-6 months, but it may linger for some. If you notice that your baby still thrusts their tongue out every time you touch the spoon to their lips, they may need a little more time. Its really hard for them to eat when they keep shoving their tongue out of their mouth!
- Doesnt like the way food feels Solid food is something so new and unfamiliar to babies, it can take a while for them to get used to the new texture in their mouth. Many babies do in fact get used to the feeling of solids, but some dont. Read more about that below under sensory.
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Infants: Stages Of Feeding Transitioning From Liquids To Solids
Feeding Your Baby from 1 Month Old to 3 Months Old
For newborns, breast milk or a pediatrician-recommended formula provides all the nutrition needed.
What Changes Should I Expect from 1 Month Old to 3 Months Old?
Feedings change to adjust to a babys growth. As newborns get a little older, they drink more milk during each feeding. As a result, they do not need to feed as often and learn to sleep through the night.
A babys appetite also increases during any developmental growth spurt. It is perfectly fine to feed on demand and increase the frequency of feedings if necessary. Babies signify that they have had enough by slowing down during feedings or turning away from the bottle.
Newborns also undergo significant changes in social development during this time. As your baby becomes more alert, expect to hear more cooing and see more smiling. Interacting gently with your child provides security and lays the foundation for future social encounters.
Breastfeeding: How Much and How Often?
As babies grow a few months older, they will need to breastfeed less often in order to sleep longer at night. Although parents naturally express concern about whether their child is eating enough, it is likely that the baby is consuming enough milk if you can confirm the following:
- Baby remains alert, content, and active during the day
- Weight gain and growth remains steady
- Baby regularly feeds at least 6 to 8 times during daylight hours
- Infant wets and soils diapers consistently
Recommended Feeding Guide For The First Year
Don’t give solid foods unless your child’s healthcare provider advises you to do so. Solid foods should not be started before age 4 months because:
Breast milk or formula provides your baby all the nutrients that are needed for growth.
Your baby isn’t physically developed enough to eat solid food from a spoon.
Feeding your baby solid food too early may lead to overfeeding and being overweight.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants, children, and adolescents take in enough vitamin D through supplements, formula, or cow’s milk to prevent complications from deficiency of this vitamin. In November 2008, the AAP updated its recommendations for daily intake of vitamin D for healthy infants, children, and adolescents. It’s now recommended that the minimum intake of vitamin D for these groups should be 400 IU per day, starting soon after birth. Your baby’s healthcare provider can recommend the proper type and amount of vitamin D supplement for your baby.
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What Should I Know About Food Allergies When Introducing Solids
Although it was once common to delay giving a baby certain foods like eggs, seafood, nuts and some dairy in the hopes of staving off allergies, the AAP no longer recommends doing so since the data shows that holding off on certain foods does not prevent food allergies.
In fact, the AAP now says that introducing allergenic foods like peanut butter earlier in a child’s life between 4 and 6 months and certainly by 11 months actually reduces her chances of developing a food allergy. Just be sure you’ve successfully introduced a couple of other solids first, and be sure to introduce the foods one at a time at home .
How Do I Know When My Baby Is Ready For Solid Food
Many healthcare providers recommend that you exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first six months of life. However, if youre not exclusively breastfeeding, your baby may be ready to start solid foods between four and six months.
Every baby develops differently, so here are signs to look for to know your baby is developmentally ready for solid food:
- Baby can sit upright with little or no support in the high chair.
- Baby has good head control for long periods of time.
- Baby is hungry for more nutrition after eight to 10 breastfeeding or 32 ounces of formula.
- Baby shows interest in what you are eating.
- Baby readily opens mouth to accept the spoon feeding.
For children with special needs, speak with your childs healthcare provider or therapists about seating/adaptive feeding. Please speak with your healthcare provider and/or dietitian if your baby was born early.
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Why The Timing Of Solid Foods Matters
Introducing solids too early or too late can make a difference. Introducing solids before 4 months of age can increase the risk of choking and cause your infant to drink less than the needed amount of breast milk.
But introducing solids too late can increase the risk of your child developing allergies. One study found that late introduction of solid foods may actually increase the risk of food allergies, suggesting a window of opportunity when it comes to starting solids.
Your Baby’s First Foods
When your baby is 6 months old, she is just learning to chew. Her first foods need to be soft so theyre very easy to swallow, such as porridge or well mashed fruits and vegetables. Did you know that when porridge is too watery, it doesn’t have as many nutrients? To make it more nutritious, cook it until its thick enough not to run off the spoon.
Feed your baby when you see her give signs that she’s hungry such as putting her hands to her mouth. After washing hands, start by giving your baby just two to three spoonfuls of soft food, twice a day. At this age, her stomach is small so she can only eat small amounts at each meal.
The taste of a new food may surprise your baby. Give her time to get used to these new foods and flavours. Be patient and dont force your baby to eat. Watch for signs that she is full and stop feeding her then.
As your baby grows, her stomach also grows and she can eat more food with each meal.
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Here Are Seven Common Reasons Why Your Baby May Not Be Eating Solids As Well As Expected:
1) Baby comes to the table full: Babies have small stomachs, so you want to make sure that youre feeding frequentlyevery two hours or so, and then every two to three hours once baby reaches about 12 months. At six months, babies should still be either breast fed on demand or offered four to five bottle feeds per day. At first, you can offer solids once or twice a day, one to two teaspoons at a time between breast or bottle feeds–whenever its most convenient for you and your baby. You can increase to three to five times per day as your baby gets older. There is no rule that you must breast or formula feed your baby prior to offering solid foods, but many parents feel more comfortable doing this. The issue with this strategy is that your baby may come to the table feeling full and therefore will not be as open to eating solid foods. When babies reject solids, parents often assume that they dont like them or arent interested when really their baby is full from their breast or bottle feed. Make sure that you give your baby a bit of time before offering solids after a full breast or formula feedan hour or so–to develop a bit of an appetite. On the other hand, you want to make sure that your baby isnt too hungry when he or she comes to the tablefussiness may deter your baby from trying new foods. Your baby should be alert and slightly hungry when he comes to the table.
Baby Milestone : When They Start Using Spoons
Almost as soon as babies adjust to being fed with a spoon, they’ll want to hold and grab the spoon themselves and put it in their mouths. That doesn’t mean they’re graceful, of course.
Most babies dont learn to use a spoon effectively until after their first birthday, but let a younger baby whos interested give it a whirl for practice. Try giving them a soft-tipped spoon to hold while you feed them with another. They can get used to holding the spoon themselves and will also be distracted from grabbing yours.
When you think they are ready to actually navigate the spoon into their mouth, try thicker, stickier foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, or cottage cheese. Another tip: Put some cream cheese on the spoon and then a few pieces of O-shaped cereal on top. The cream cheese wont fly everywhere, and the baby can get the experience of actually getting the cereal into their mouth.
Expect a mess! Use a plastic or other waterproof bib, and put a mat under the high chair to make cleanup easier.
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When What And How To Introduce Solid Foods
For more information about how to know if your baby is ready to starting eating foods, what first foods to offer, and what to expect, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old. Introducing foods before 4 months old is not recommended. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready.
- Sits up alone or with support.
- Is able to control head and neck.
- Opens the mouth when food is offered.
- Swallows food rather than pushes it back out onto the chin.
- Brings objects to the mouth.
- Tries to grasp small objects, such as toys or food.
- Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow.