The Amount of Foods Your Baby Should Be Eating

The amount of food your baby requires varies a great deal not only from one developmental stage to the next, but also among babies of the same size and age. Many conditions play into the nutritional requirements of babies, and the best way to determine if the child’s needs are being met is through growth and measurement patterns. If your child is eating a balanced children diet and growing well, you can rest assured he’s likely getting what he needs.

While this is comforting, many parents still prefer to average their child’s food intake at different age. This becomes more important as children reach their first birthday and are taking the bulk of their nutrition from solid baby foods. When trying to help your child meet the minimum requirements for a toddler, be sure to average three days to a week at a time rather than focusing on each day. In a given day a toddler might seem to eat next to nothing in a particular food group, but then compensate by eating large amounts the next day.

Birth to Four Months

From birth, babies are fed breastmilk, formula or a combination of the two. The breastfed baby is eating eight to twelve times a day at random intervals and the formula fed baby is eating six to eight times a day on more regular intervals. The breastfed baby should be nursing ten to forty minutes in a sitting and the formula fed baby should be consuming 16 to 32 ounces on average.

Four to Six Months

The breastfed baby continues on the same track, but with reduced feedings. Occasionally longer stretches of feeding will occur offering you signs that your baby might be ready for a supplement to breastmilk. The formula-fed baby is eating 24-36 ounces of formula on average.

Six to Nine Months

Beginning at six months, the amount of formula and breastmilk should hold steady as you introduce solids. Introduce the solid foods slowly and let your child eat as much as she wants at mealtimes. She is still getting the bulk of her nutrition from milk and formula at this stage, but increasingly she is gaining essential vitamins and nutrients from the solid food. All told, she should have:

  • Breastmilk or formula (24-34 oz.)
  • Half cup of iron-fortified baby cereal per day
  • Soft mashed, ripe or soft-cooked fruits or veggies
  • Strained meats

Ten to Twelve Months

As your child becomes more adaptable with finger foods and is able to eat larger portions from a spoon, her needs for milk or formula will decrease. This means getting a balance of nutrients from solids is even more important as they are becoming the bulk of her diet.

  • Breastmilk or formula (16 – 24 oz.)
  • Cereal, toast, bagels, crackers, dry cereal, whole grain bread, pasta, rice, cooked grains, muffins
  • Fresh, peeled ripe, soft-cooked fruits and veggies
  • You can now also add egg yolk, yogurt and soft-cooked beans

After One Year

At a year, your child might be eating voraciously or starting to slow down as her rate of growth slows. At the minimum, your toddler should be eating:

  • 2 cups of milk (you can switch to whole milk at one year)
  • 4 servings of fruits (a serving is 1-2 tablespoons)
  • 2 servings of meat or the equivalent (a serving is 1-2 tablespoons)
  • 4 servings of breads and cereals (a serving is one quarter of an adult serving)

Be sure that your child gets at least one fruit or vegetable with vitamin C and another with vitamin A every day, and that at least one grain be a serving of iron-fortified cereal.

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