Tag Archives: baby feeding schedule

Get Your Free e-Book Today!

Should You Feed Your Baby Cereal From A Bottle?

When it comes to feeding a baby, you’ll find that everyone (from your grandmother to your aunt to the stranger on the street) has opinions on how babies should be fed, when babies should be fed, and what babies should be fed.

Some opinions are based in solid, researched evidence (for example, there’s plenty of evidence to indicate that breastfeeding is a healthier option for babies than formula-feeding.) Other opinions, however, will be based less on facts and more on past experience. You may hear a number of people say, “My mom did this with me!” or “My grandmother had 8 children, and she always did this…”

Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle

For example, you may have friends or family members suggest that you feed your baby cereal in a bottle. People often suggest this to parents whose babies don’t sleep, or whose babies don’t seem to be gaining much weight.

So, is this a good recommendation? Will putting cereal in your baby’s bottle help her sleep well, or eat more, or gain weight?

Is Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle A Good Idea?

Probably not. There are many risks associated with feeding your young baby (under 6 months) cereal from a bottle. Some of those risks include…

  • Choking. Adding cereal to a bottle thickens the milk. This makes it harder for young babies to swallow, increasing the changes that they’ll “aspirate” (or inhale) the thickened milk and choke on it.
  • Increased food allergies. There’s lots of evidence to suggest that introducing solids to a baby before 4 months of age significantly increases the risk that the baby will develop food allergies. This is because a young baby’s digestive system isn’t mature enough to handle solid foods until 4-6 months of age. We discuss food allergies in more detail in this post; check it out for more information.
  • Habitual overeating.Babies who take cereal from a bottle tend to drink more than babies who drink straight breastmilk or formula. This is the idea behind putting cereal into the bottle in the first place — that baby will take in more food.The problem is that when a baby routinely and consistently takes in large quantities of thickened milk, it can lead to a habit of overeating. And since childhood obesity rates are already problematic (and are on the rise), we definitely don’t want to teach our little ones to overeat from birth!
  • Lower nutrient intake. When parents add cereal to a bottle, they often reduce the amount of breastmilk or formula they put into the bottle (to make room for the added cereal). This is dangerous. For the first 6 months of life, breastmilk and formula provide all the nutrition a baby needs, while cereal provides little nutritional value until after 6 months. So if your baby is taking in less breastmilk and formula, he’s getting less of the vital nutrients he needs.

Will Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle Help Her Sleep Better?

This is usually the number one reason that parents even consider putting cereal in their baby’s bottle — friends and family members assure them that a little cereal in the bottle will help baby sleep longer and better. And for exhausted, sleep-deprived parents, even a little extra sleep sounds too tempting to pass up!

However, before you go racing to fill your infant’s bottle with rice cereal, you should know something — there’s no evidence that feeding your baby solids (whether by spoon or by bottle) will help her sleep better. That’s because when babies wake at night, they’re not just waking from hunger — they’re waking for a variety of other reasons (like sleep associations.) So adding cereal to your baby’s bottle likely won’t make a difference in her sleep, but it will put her at risk for a variety of complications.

Will Putting Cereal In Your Baby’s Bottle Help With His Reflux?

If your baby struggles with reflux, you may have heard friends and family members suggest adding cereal to his bottle as a way to thicken the milk and help it say down. Is this a good idea? Does it work?

The reviews on this are mixed. Some pediatricians actually recommend this to parents, and many parents claim that mixing cereal into their babies’ bottles reduces spitting up. However, other pediatricians caution that while adding cereal might reduce episodes of spitting up, it doesn’t actually cure the reflux. Others advocate for using a special reflux formula.

The bottom line: if your baby suffers from reflux, check with your pediatrician before making any changes to his diet.

Our Recommendation

Here’s our advice, for all parents: don’t add cereal to your baby’s bottle unless your doctor has advised you to. There are far too many risks associated with feeding your baby cereal from a bottle, and there are no actual benefits. Instead, stick with feeding your infant breastmilk and/or formula, and hold off on offering solids until close to 6 months of age.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

What are your thoughts on feeding a baby cereal from a bottle? Share them below!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Should You Feed Your Baby Cereal From A Bottle?
Get Your Free e-Book Today!

Starting Solids With Your Breastfeeding Baby: 6 Things You Should Know

Starting solids is a big step for any family, but it may be a particularly big step for moms who are breastfeeding. After all, you’ve worked hard to master your nursing technique, and by the time your baby is ready to start solids, you’ve probably gotten into a really great “nursing groove!”

Is starting solids going to ruin all that?

Probably not. It’s true that any big change to the routine, like starting solids, is going to impact breastfeeding, but if it doesn’t have to undo all your hard work.

Below are six things to keep in mind as you begin offering your breastfed baby solid foods. Thinking through these six factors will help you introduce solids in a way that’ll keep the breastmilk flowing and your little one nursing like a champ. 😉

1. Breastmilk is your baby’s primary source of nutrition for the first year.

If you remember one thing, remember this. Some parents assume that starting solids means putting an end to breastfeeding — not so! Not at all. The best food you can give your baby for her first year of life is breastmilk. The solids you offer in the first year are more for practice — they allow her to get used to different tastes and textures, and to adapt to a new way of eating. But it’s the breastmilk that will really nourish her.

2. If you want to nurse past 12 months, wait to introduce solids until your baby is 6 months (or even later!)

There’s lots of evidence that nursing your baby past his first birthday provides a ton of health benefits. If you’d like to continue nursing into your little one’s toddler years, don’t rush on starting solids. Instead, wait until at least 6 months (preferably even later) to start solids. Typically, as babies consume more and more solid food, they tend to wean themselves from the breast. Delaying the introduction of solids helps postpone any self-weaning and increases the changes that you’ll be able to nurse longer.

3. Some breastfeeding moms prefer a baby-led weaning approach to starting solids.

Baby-led weaning can be a great way to start solids if you want to make sure that nursing can continue uninterrupted. Baby-led weaning allows your baby’s own appetite to guide each feeding, ensuring that she doesn’t eat too much solid food (which could decrease her appetite for breastmilk.)

4. Follow the “breastmilk first, solids later” rule.

It’s always best to begin solids this way — nursing first, and then offering a small amount of solid food. That helps take the edge off baby’s hunger, ensuring that he’s calm and relaxed when it’s time to eat his solid food. It’s also a great way to ensure that he’s getting plenty of breastmilk (since he starts the feeding hungry.) But if you want to prioritize nursing, you may want to continue this patterns of breastmilk-first-solids-second long after you’ve introduced solids to your baby.

5. It’s possible for your baby to like solids too much!

If you find that your baby is gobbling up her solid food but showing less and less interest in nursing, think about offering her less solid food, and returning to the breastmilk-first-solids-second pattern (if you weren’t following it to begin with). This will help prevent any early self-weaning.

6. Keep an eye on your baby’s iron levels.

Not a literal eye, of course — that’s not exactly something you can see! But do keep in mind that when you introduce solids into your baby’s diet, it changes his nutritional intake. Iron is especially important; babies start needing more of it around 6 months of age, and their bodies’ own iron stores begin to deplete at that point. It’s important to offer your baby iron-rich foods; you may also want to offer an iron supplement. See this “Does Your Baby Need Vitamin Drops?” post for details.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

How did you introduce solids to your breastfed baby? Any complications? Any tips? Share your experience with us!

Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Starting Solids With Your Breastfeeding Baby: 6 Things You Should Know
Get Your Free e-Book Today!

Are You Feeding Your Baby Too Much Solid Food?

It’s always nice when a baby who’s just started eating solid foods shows a real appetite for them. As a parent, you know that it feels great to offer your little one healthy purees and then watch as she gobbles them up.

But can that healthy appetite ever be a problem? Can a baby actually eat too much solid food?

In a word, yes.

Remember, for the first year of life, a baby’s primary source of nutrition should be breastmilk and/or formula. It’s just fine to offer solid foods (starting around 5 or 6 months), but solid foods shouldn’t replace breastmilk or formula as a source of nourishment.

In this article, we’ll explore two signs that you may be feeding your baby too much solid food and two easy ways to fix the problem.

2 Signs You’re Feeding Your Baby Too Much Solid Food

  1. Your baby regularly eats more food than is recommended.

    There’s no formula for exactly how much food you should be offering your baby at each meal; rather, its best if you use your baby’s own hunger cues and appetite as a guide.

    But if you find that your baby is routinely eating more than is recommended, you may want to consider offering a bit less food at each sitting. A healthy appetite is a good thing, but not if your baby ends up overeating every day! Check out our Amounts of Solid Food By Age chart to determine appropriate serving sizes for your baby.

  2. Your baby regularly drinks less breastmilk or formula than is recommended.

    This is another sign that you may be offering too much solid food. If you find that your baby is regularly nursing less, or taking less formula during feedings, then you’ll want to take a careful look at how much solid food you’re offering.

    Sometimes, babies who fill up on solids don’t have much room left for breastmilk or formula. And since breastmilk and/or formula is a key part of your baby’s nutrition, it’s vital that they drink plenty of it. Our Amounts of Solid Food By Age chart (referenced above) also includes recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula; check that to see if your baby’s getting enough.

Remember, if your baby has a good appetite for solid foods and eats quite a bit, that’s not necessarily a problem; as long as he’s also nursing or formula-feeding well, and taking in the recommended amounts of breastmilk or formula, all is well.

In addition, if you find that your baby isn’t getting the amounts of breastmilk or formula that she needs, it might not be due to her solids intake. If you know that she’s eating normal amounts of solid foods, then you’ll want to think about other reasons that could be causing her to drink less breastmilk or formula (like illness, or teething).

However, if the two signs listed above seem to go hand-in-hand, then you can be pretty certain that you’re feeding your baby more solid food than is good for her, and it’s causing her to take in less breastmilk or formula than she needs.

Too Much Solid Food and Not Enough Breastmilk/Formula? Ways to Solve the Problem

If you suspect your baby’s consuming too much solid food and not enough breastmilk or formula, there are a two simple steps you can take to fix the situation.

  1. Offer breastmilk or formula before offering solids.

    This one just makes sense, right? When your baby’s at his hungriest, offer him the breast (or the bottle) before you give him a handful of cheerios or a dish of mashed bananas. That‘ll help ensure that he drinks plenty of breastmilk or formula. It’ll also help take the edge off his appetite for solids.

  2. Offer (a little) less solid food.

    Some people suggest stopping solids altogether, and going back to a breastmilk/formula only diet. We generally don’t recommend this strategy, since it’s not a good method for striking a balance between solids and breastmilk or formula.

    Instead, if you suspect you’re offering too much solid food, we recommend cutting back on serving sizes a bit. Simply offer your baby a little less solid food than you normally would. That (in combination with nursing or bottle feeding before you offer solids) should ensure that your baby isn’t eating too much solid food.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Was your baby a big solids eater? How did you strike a balance between solid food and breastmilk/formula? Share your tips below!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments
Get Your Free e-Book Today!

A Solid Foods Feeding Schedule: Types and Amounts of Solid Foods By Age


When it comes to starting your baby on solids, the list of “dos” and “don’ts” seems long, doesn’t it?  Enter a simple question like, “How much should I feed my baby at each meal?” or “When should I start feeding my baby dairy?” into a search engine, and you’ll find pages and pages answers (many of which contradict each other!)

We know that when it comes to baby schedules, moms like to have the basics presented to them in a clear, easy-to-understand way.  We’ve attempted to do just that in this article.  Below, you’ll find two simple charts:   one outlines the types of solid foods you can feed your baby, by age; the other highlights amounts and serving sizes, by age.  Use both as a guide as you shop for and prepare your baby’s foods.

Remember, these charts are a general guide — they’re not set in stone!  If your baby eats more servings of vegetables in a day than we’ve recommended here, good for him!  We’ve simply grouped the foods based on their digestability, texture, and allergy risk.  What’s more, the serving sizes we recommend are general ranges, but all babies are unique.

You’ll also notice that this chart shows solid food beginning between 4-6 months. You can start small amounts of solid food as early as 4 months; however, based on the most recent health information, we recommend waiting until closer to 6 months to start solids.

As you look over the recommended amounts of solid food, keep one thing in mind: you should always prioritize your baby’s breastmilk or formula intake over your baby’s solid food intake. In other words, if your baby isn’t drinking the recommended amounts of breastmilk or formula, but is eating plenty of solid food, be sure to decrease their solid food intake and really focus on making sure they’re drinking the recommended amounts of breastmilk or formula.

Finally, keep in mind that the information offered here should never replace the advice or guidance of your baby’s doctor.

TYPES OF SOLID FOODS BY AGE

Age Grains Fruits Vegetables Meat and Dairy Feeding Tip
Birth-4 Months None None None None At this age, breastmilk or formula is all a baby needs to be properly nourished.
4-6 Months Rice cereal (traditionally a baby’s very first food), followed by oatmeal and barley. Apple, Avocado, Banana, Pear Green Beans, Sweet Potato, Squash None Not sure if your baby’s ready for solids? Review the tips for when to start.
7-8 Months Same as above. Same as above, plus cherries, mango, papaya, nectarines and peaches, and plums. Same as above, plus carrots, cauliflower, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, and zucchini. Poultry (chicken and turkey), beans, and legumes.  Doctors used to recommend waiting to offer egg whites until after 12 months; that recommendation has changed. Now, egg yolks and whites can be introduced around 8 months. In the beginning, it’s best to offer baby single-ingredient meals. Around 8 months, however, you can start mixing foods for more interesting tastes.
9-10 Months Same as above, plus quinoa, wheat, pasta, crackers, bread, bulgar, kasha, and millet. Same as above, plus blueberries, coconut, figs, grapes (mashed), kiwi, and melon. Same as above, plus asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cucumber, eggplant, mushrooms, onion, peppers, and spinach. Same as above, including yogurt, cheese (including cottage cheese and cream cheese), beef, pork, tofu. Begin offering your baby tiny bits of food; you can feed these to her on a spoon or spread them on a tray and encourage her to feed herself.
11-12 Months Same as above. Same as above, plus tomatoes, citrus fruits, and strawberries. Same as above, plus corn. Same as above, plus fish. Whole milk, shellfish, nuts, and nut butters can be introduced any time after 12 months. By this point, your baby should be feeding himself more and more. Whenever possible, offer your baby finger food at meals.

 

AMOUNTS OF SOLID FOODS BY AGE

Age Liquid

(per day)

Grains

(per day)

Fruit

(per day)

Vegetables

(per day)

Meat and Dairy

(per day)

Birth-4 months 25-35 oz of breastmilk (~6 breastfeeding sessions) or 20-30 oz. formula (or combination). No water or juice. None None None None
4-6 months (1-2 solid feedings per day) 25-35 oz of breastmilk (~5-8 breastfeeding sessions) or 20-30 oz. formula (or combination). No water or juice. 1-2 tablespoons dry infant cereal, mixed with breastmilk or formula 1-2 tablespoons pureed fruit 1-2 tablespoons pureed vegetables None
7-8 months (2-3 solid feedings per day) 25-35 oz of breastmilk (~5 breastfeeding sessions) or 20-30 oz. formula (or combination). 2-3 oz. of  water.** 1-6 tablespoons dry infant cereal, mixed with breastmilk or formula 1-6 tablespoons pureed/mashed fruit 1-6 tablespoons pureed/mashed vegetables Meat: 1-2 tablespoons pureed/mashed protein (offer at 8 months)
Dairy: 1/4-1/2 cup yogurt or cottage cheese; 1 oz. shredded cheese
9-10 months (3 solid feedings per day) 25-35 oz of breastmilk (~4-5 breastfeeding sessions) or 20-30 oz. formula (or combination). 4-6 oz. of  water.** 2-4 tablespoons dry infant cereal, mixed with breastmilk or formula.
1-2 servings other grains*
4-8 tablespoons mashed/chopped fruit 4-12 tablespoons mashed/chopped vegetables Meat: 2-6 tablespoons mashed/chopped protein
Dairy: Same as 7-8 month recommendations.
11-12 months (3 solid feedings per day) 25-35 oz of breastmilk (~3-4 breastfeeding sessions) or 20-30 oz. formula (or combination). 6-8 oz. of water.** Same as above, except increase “other grains” to 2 servings 6-8 tablespoons mashed/chopped fruit, or 1/2 cup diced 6-12 tablespoons mashed/chopped vegetables, or 1/2 – 3/4 cup diced Meat: 2-6 tablespoons mashed/chopped protein, or 1/4 cup diced
Dairy: Same as 7-8 month recommendations.

*1 serving of “other grains” = 1/2 slice of bread, 2 crackers, 1/2 cup Cheerios, or 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta

**You can offer small amounts of juice at this age, too, but based on pediatric dental recommendations, we don’t advise offering much juice at all (if any).  We also advise that parents offer breastmilk or formula first.  Only offer juice or water if your baby is getting the breastmilk and/or formula he needs each day.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Have anything you’d like to add to our chart? Share your input below!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments
Get Your Free e-Book Today!

How To Feed Your Baby Solids

At this point in our article series, we’ve laid a good foundation for starting your baby on solids.  We’ve learned when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, and how your baby may react after starting to eat solid foods.  But, wait, how do you physically feed your baby solids and at what time of day?

How to Feed Your Baby:  When Should Meals Happen?

Some parents find themselves wondering when solid feedings should happen — first thing in the morning?  Before bed?  Three times a day?  In the first week or so of starting solids, it’s probably best to start off with one or two “meals” of solid foods each day.  And keep in mind that it’s best to feed your baby when she’s well-rested — that’ll ensure she has the energy to tackle this challenge!  Finally, avoid trying to feed your baby solids when she’s very hungry; as the video mentioned, she probably won’t have the patience!  Instead, nurse your baby first (or offer her a bottle); then, when she’s had her fill of milk, offer her a few spoonfuls of solid food.

How to Feed Your Baby:  Getting Situated

The first step to feeding your baby is to get her comfortably seated.  You may opt to place your baby in a highchair for feeding time, but as you probably noticed while watching the video, that’s not your only option.  You may want to place your baby in her Bouncy Seat or another type of infant seat (just be sure not to set your baby on a table or counter while in their seat), or you may find it easiest to have someone else hold her on their lap while you feed her.  Ultimately, do whatever makes you and your baby most comfortable.

How to Feed Your Baby:  The Right Equipment

Having the right tools for feeding is essential.  It’s best to use a small, flat, plastic (or rubber-tipped) spoon so that your baby can easily suck food from it.  And plastic bowls are best to start with; there’s always a chance your munchkin will get his hands on it!  Remember, if you choose plastic utensils and dishes, make sure they’re BPA-free.)  Finally, it’s necessary to have plenty of bibs (and consider water-proof ones) on hand, as they’re going to get dirty fast!

How to Feed Your Baby:  Quantities and Kinds of Food

In these early days of starting solids, you’ll probably feel like your baby is hardly eating anything.  Don’t worry — that’s normal!  Start off small — offer 1 tablespoon of food at each meal, and then gradually increase the quantities as your baby becomes used to solids.

As for the types of foods to offer your baby in the beginning, you can refer to our “How To Introduce Solid Foods To Your Baby” article, or our Solid Foods Charts for tips on what kinds of foods are best to begin.

“Sweet” foods (like carrots, sweet potatoes, fruits, etc.) are good first foods, since they mimic the sweet taste of breastmilk.  And infant cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula can be good to start with as well.

Whatever foods you introduce first, remember that their texture should be thin and perfectly smooth, so that baby is able to easily swallow them.  Down the road, you’ll be able to introduce lumpy, mashed foods, and eventually, small pieces of finger good!  But for now, stick to runny purees.

Remember to introduce foods one at a time and to allow at least a few days to pass before introducing a new food.  This will help you monitor for food allergies; it’ll also help your baby get accustomed to the taste of each food before you start mixing them together in the later months.  Finally, make it a priority to introduce a variety of foods to your baby.  This may help produce a less-picky eater in the months to come!  And remember — just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean your baby won’t like it!  Personally, I’m not a fan of pureed prunes, but my daughter loved them when she was 7 and 8 months old.

How to Feed Your Baby:  Have Fun!!

It’s appropriate to end with that reminder, don’t you think?  It can be easy to get lost in the details and questions about starting your baby on solids, but remember to stop and enjoy this process.  This is one of the first of many milestones you and your baby will share, so snap a few pictures!  These first few meals of solid foods will be precious memories in the years to come.

Everything You Need To Know About Starting Solids – All In One e-Book!

thumbnailWhat if you could find everything you needed to know about starting your baby on solid foods – when it’s best to start solids, how to introduce solids, complications, food allergies, etc. – in one easy-reference guide? Now you can! Your Baby’s Start To Solid Foods: A Comprehensive Guide will walk you through every step of starting solids. Plus, your e-Book package includes several bonus materials, designed to maximize your success in starting solids. You’ll get a thorough guide to treating constipation, a dietitian’s advice on how to avoid 5 common solid-foods mistakes, and a weekly mean plan for your baby’s first year. Grab your e-Book today, and ensure your baby has the healthiest possible start to solid foods!

Have any tried-and true tips for how to feed a baby solid foods?  Share them here!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments