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When Do Babies Eat Solid Foods In A Day?

You know when and how to start your baby on solids.  You’re familiar with the types and amounts of foods your baby can eat, based on her age.  You’ve mastered the basics of cooking, pureeing, and storing homemade baby food.  Congratulations, baby food expert — you know a lot!

Something you may not be feeling to confident about, however, is when (during the course of a day) you should be offering your baby solids.  You likely eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at roughly the same times each day, but is that schedule best for your baby?

Feeding Schedule Recommendations:  4-6 months

4-6 month old babies are just starting out on solids, so they’ll need smaller amounts of food, combined with large quantities of breastmilk and /or formula.  Also, it’s best to offer your baby solid foods after you’ve nursed or bottle fed him.  That way, he’s not too hungry when it comes time for a meal of solids, and that’ll prevent him from becoming frustrated and upset as he tries to eat.

Use the recommendations below to create a daily feeding schedule for your 4-6 month old baby:

  • Nurse and/or bottle feed as you normally would throughout the day (see our Amounts of Solid Foods By Age chart for recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula.)
  • After the first or second nursing or bottle feeding of the morning, offer your baby a solids meal (see our Types of Solid Foods By Age to determine what you can feed your baby.)  It’s best if babies just starting out on solids eat their food in the morning; that way, if baby has any digestive issues, they won’t disturb his nighttime sleep!
  • Optional:  After one of your afternoon nursings or bottle feedings, you can offer a second small meal of solid foods.
  • Total number of solid meals in a day: 1-2
  • Total amount of solid food your baby will eat in a day: 3-7 tablespoons

Feeding Schedule Recommendations: 7-8 months

7-8 month old babies are more accustomed to solid foods and can therefore handle larger amounts of foods.  You can also begin to increase the number of meals a day to 2-3.  Continue offering your baby plenty of breastmilk and/or formula, however; that’s still her primary source of nutrition.  And you should continue to try and nurse or bottlefeed your baby before you offer her a meal of solids (although that’s a little less essential now than it was a few months ago).

Use the recommendations below to create a daily feeding schedule for your 7-8 month old baby:

  • Continue to nurse and/or bottle feed throughout the day (see our Amounts of Solid Foods By Age chart for recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula.)
  • After the first or second nursing or bottle feeding of the morning, offer your baby a solids meal (see our Types of Solid Foods By Age to determine what you can feed your baby.)
  • After a late morning/early afternoon nursing or bottle feeding, offer your baby a second small meal of solids.
  • Optional:  After a late afternoon/early evening nursing or bottle feeding, offer your baby a third small meal of solids.
  • Total number of solid meals in a day: 2-3
  • Total amount of solid food your baby will eat in a day: 10-26 tablespoons (1/2 cup – 1 1/2 cups), plus 1 serving of dairy

Feeding Schedule Recommendations: 9-12 months

9-12 month old babies are solid food pros, and they’re definitely ready to handle 3 meals of solid foods each day.  Continue offering your baby breastmilk and/or formula (although he’ll start to need a bit less, now that he’s eating more solid food).  You can also offer your baby small amounts of water or juice.  It’s no longer necessary to nurse or bottlefeed your baby before you serve him a meal of solids, although you can certainly continue doing that if you prefer.

Use the recommendations below to create a daily feeding schedule for your 9-12 month old baby:

  • Continue to nurse and/or bottle feed throughout the day (see our Amounts of Solid Foods By Age chart for recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula.)
  • Before or after the first or second nursing or bottle feeding of the morning, offer your baby a solids meal (see our Types of Solid Foods By Age to determine what you can feed your baby.)
  • Before or after a late morning/early afternoon nursing or bottle feeding, offer your baby a second small meal of solids.
  • Before or after a late afternoon/early evening nursing or bottle feeding, offer your baby a third small meal of solids.
  • Total number of solid meals in a day: 3
  • Total amount of solid food your baby will eat in a day: 16-30 tablespoons (1 cup – 2 cups), plus 1-2 servings of other grains and 1 serving of dairy

For more help in creating a daily feeding schedule for your baby, check out these sample baby sleep and feeding schedules.

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What’s your baby’s daily feeding schedule?  Help out our other readers; share your sample schedules below!

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