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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!

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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.

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

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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!

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