Feeding a baby can be a tricky task, especially when it comes to newborns.
You never quite know if your baby has been fed enough, whether it is formula or breastmilk, and how frequently they should be fed.
As a new parent, these questions can be quite worrying because you want to make sure that your baby is healthy and gains weight steadily.
Lucky for you, this article will cover everything related to feeding your baby in extensive detail. From hunger signs to introducing solid foods, we have all the answers for you.
So, let’s get right into it!
How to Know if Your Baby is Hungry?
Since babies can’t talk, it can become quite difficult to know exactly when they get hungry.
You can know your baby is hungry if they are latching on to your fingers, if they are gnawing on their hands and if they start to get fussy. Instead of relying on hunger cues, you can feed your baby on a scheduled basis. This will give you a good idea of when they get hungry.
Common Signs of a Hungry Baby
These signs are not universal, but they have been noticed by different parents and can also help you with your baby:
- They take the breast or bottle when offered.
- They become visibly upset, and it’s not because of a dirty diaper or any other reason.
- They don’t take the pacifier, because they want to be fed.
- They make a distinct fussing/crying noise.
- They jerk their heads into your chest.
- They lick their lips.
What is Baby Feeding Schedule?
If you are not sure about when your baby is getting hungry, or you feel like you are missing their hunger cues, the best thing to do is get baby on a feeding schedule.
A baby feeding schedule for a newborn would be as often as every one and a half hours . As your baby gets older, the frequency of the feeding sessions will decrease. A 2-3 month old should be fed every 2-3 hours. A 4-6 month old should be fed every 5-6 hours.
When your baby is on a feeding schedule, then they will be fed consistently without you having to guess when they are hungry.
How Often Should I Feed My Baby?
Here is a tentative feeding schedule that you can follow with your baby, depending on how old they are. Please keep in mind that it will differ from baby to baby:
- Less than a month old: Baby should be fed every 1-2 hours. This is because their stomachs are tiny at this age, and they get hungry very quickly. According to WebMD, newborns should be fed 12 times a day in the first month.
- 1 to 2 months old: As your baby grows older, the time interval between each feeding will increase up to 3 hours. A two month old should be fed around 8 times in a day.
- 3-4 months old: At this age, your baby will want to be fed every 3-4 hours. A 4 month old should be fed around 6 times in a day.
- 5-6 months old: Your baby should be fed around 3 hours a day, up to 5-6 times a day.
Which Feeding is Best for My Baby?
If you are trying to decide between breastfeeding and formula feeding for your baby, there is no actual scientific evidence that explains which is better.
Only you can decide which feeding method is best for your baby.
We will highlight some benefits of both breastfeeding and formula feeding, so you can make a decision on what works best for you and your baby.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Breast milk contains all the nutrients that your baby needs to grow. It also contains antibodies which prevent viruses or bacteria.
- It helps prevent obesity in babies , because breast milk helps with the production of healthy gut bacteria.
- Breastfeeding helps with skin to skin contact, which is essential for healthy emotional development of the baby.
- It’s easier on the baby’s digestive system , which means lesser chances of constipation, diarrhea and reflux issues.
- Breastfeeding provides the mom with protection against breast cancer and other diseases .
Benefits of Formula Feeding
- Formula is the next best alternative to breast milk, and is also a healthy choice for babies .
- Babies who are supplemented with formula are less likely to have malnourishment and loss of weight issues.
- Formula feeding allows for flexibility and convenience for the mom. It is also available anytime, as opposed to breastmilk which only comes in intervals.
- Mothers don’t have to worry about their diet affecting baby’s food.
Breastfeeding, while it is natural, can be hard. This is one of the common reasons why mothers choose to formula feed.
However, if you plan ahead and do your research about breastfeeding, it might be easy for you and your baby.
Some mothers choose a combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding, so it is not as stressful as them to rely exclusively on breast milk to feed their babies.
Most of the advice you will find with breastfeeding and formula feeding is anecdotal, so in the end, it essentially comes down to what you think will be most beneficial for you and your baby.
How Much Should My Baby Eat?
In the beginning, when your baby is less than two weeks old, they will want to eat a lot. This is mainly because of two things: they have tiny stomachs and they are not used to being hungry. (Remember, they were fed 24/7?)
Your baby should eat as much as they demand in the first couple of weeks of birth. This can amount to up to 3 ounces every 3 hours. By the time they turn 1 month, they should be eating up to 4 ounces every four hours. And by 6 months they should be consuming up to 36 ounces in a day.
With that being said, you don’t have to worry about overfeeding your baby too much. Unless they are spitting up, they need the food they are getting.
Your baby is constantly growing, and going through growth spurts. This is why they will need adequate nourishment to be able to sustain their growing needs.
How Much Should My Breastfed Baby Eat? Are They Taking too Much?
A breastfed baby, between the ages of 1 to 6 months, should have an average of 25 oz (750 ml) of breast milk in a day. This may differ from baby to baby, but the normal range of breast milk should be between 19-30 oz (570-900 ml) in a given day.
If breastmilk is expressed in a bottle, then this should amount to 2-3 oz per bottle, with baby being fed 7-8 bottles in a day.
Your baby is being overfed if they are intaking more than 30 oz.
If you feel like your baby is overfeeding, then try giving them a pacifier. Babies tend to suck for comfort which may lead to them wanting more milk.
How Much Should My Formula Fed Baby Eat?
A formula fed baby, between the ages of 1 to 6 months, should be having 4-8 oz of formula per feed in a day. This should total to an average of 25 ounces in 24 hours.
A general rule of thumb when it comes to formula feeding is feeding baby 2.5 oz of formula per pound of their body weight in a day.
For instance, if your baby weighs 8 pounds, you will be feeding them 20 oz of formula in 24 hours.
How Much Should My Baby Eat if I’m Breastfeeding and Formula-feeding?
A combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding is common to have when babies are losing weight, when mother can’t meet babies nourishment needs and if mothers are going to work.
If you are aiming to breastfeed and formula feed your baby, you should aim to give the baby as much breast milk as you can, and then top the rest off with formula.
A baby should be getting between 19-30 ounces of feed, so you can divide that into 6-8 feedings.
You can alternate these sessions, by breastfeeding whenever your supply is high, and then switching to formula when it is low.
How Do I Know if My Baby is Crying of Hunger?
Your baby will be crying a lot as they grow. Sometimes it can be very difficult to differentiate their cries, and understand what they actually want.
In order to know if your baby is crying of hunger, you should try offering them feed and see if they take it. If they are hungry, chances are they will take the bottle or breast.
The best thing to do is avoid reaching the point where they cry out of hunger, and feed them before that happens.
Instead of feeding on demand, you can try feeding baby on a set schedule. This way, they will get used to feeding at scheduled times.
Should I Feed My Baby Every Time They Cry?
When your baby is less than 2 months old, they will be crying over everything. This is simply because they are getting adjusted to the new environment around them, and everything is new to them.
One of the things you should do every time they cry is offer them feed. Other things include, checking their diapers, checking the temperature, and burping them if they have gas.
Your baby will be hungry very frequently in the first couple of weeks because of how tiny their stomachs are. So, it is safe to say that you can expect a lot of hungry crying in this period.
What to Do if Baby is Hungry All the Time? Is this Normal?
Eating is currently on the top of your baby’s to-do list, along with pooping and sleeping. So you can see how there’s not much else your baby is doing, making it perfectly normal for your baby to be hungry all the time.
If your baby is hungry all the time, then you will need to feed them frequently. You shouldn’t have to worry about overfeeding your baby, in the beginning especially, because they need the food for all the growing that they’re doing.
When a baby is 4 weeks old, their tiny stomachs can only hold upto 3-4 ounces of milk , which explains why they get hungry again after an hour or two.
You will know you are overfeeding your baby if they are spitting up after they are burped.
Does Baby Wake Up When Hungry?
Babies that are less than 4 weeks old will wake up when hungry at night. Till they turn 6 months of age, they will be needing at least one feed at night.
Newborns are very sleepy in the beginning, and they might need to be woken up for feed if they don’t do it themselves. Once you are satisfied with how much weight your baby has been gaining, which should be at least 4 ounces per week, then you can stop waking them up.
When your baby is older than 4 weeks, and they’re gaining weight at a healthy rate, then they don’t need to be woken up for night time feeds.
How Do I Know if Baby is Waking Up From Hunger?
Babies are quite notorious for waking up at night, and most of the time they are screaming bloody murder.
Now, we all know that it’s a phase they’re adjusting to and they need to be comforted. But how do you know if baby is waking up from hunger, and differentiate from all their other cries?
Here are some signs that will help you know if baby is waking up from hunger:
- How long they are up for. Sometimes babies drift from deep sleep to light sleep, and they wake up but they also tend to go back to sleep after 10-15 minutes. If your baby is crying for more than 20 minutes, then they are probably hungry.
- They haven’t started solids yet. Babies that are younger than 6 months of age, will need to be fed at least once in the nighttime. So, it makes sense that they are waking up because of hunger since they haven’t started eating solid food yet.
- They are waking up at night, and they are guzzling milk in the morning. If this is the case for your baby, then it is safe to say that they will need to be fed once at night.
- They fall asleep a little while after feeding. If your baby is not eating properly, and falls asleep quickly after taking the breast or bottle, then this means that they are only feeding for comfort, and are not hungry.
How to Understand if My Baby Isn’t Getting Enough to Eat?
One of the more common worries that parents have with their newborns is whether or not they are eating enough.
If you are breastfeeding, it can be difficult to understand if your baby is getting enough to eat because you are not measuring the amount. But if baby is spending around 15-20 minutes on the breast, and you are sure they are sucking and swallowing the whole time, then they are nursing just fine.
If you are formula feeding, your baby should be getting between 1.5 to 3 ounces of formula each feed, every 2 hours.
As your baby gets older, you will notice they will be eating more but less often.
The amount will differ from baby to baby, but as long as your baby has enough wet and dirty diapers and they are gaining weight at a healthy rate, your baby is getting enough to eat and you shouldn’t have to worry.
However, if your baby hasn’t been pooping enough and their weight has been dropping then that is an alarming sign and you should consult your doctor.
How to Understand if I am Feeding My Baby too Much?
There is a common saying that you can’t really overfeed your baby because they are constantly hungry. But is that actually true?
You can understand if you are feeding your baby too much if they are spitting up. If the baby eats too much, then they will spit out the food which will give you a good idea of how much to feed them next time.
You can also pay attention to some signs that babies give when they are full, such as turning their heads away, or pushing the bottle or breast out of mouth.
Sometimes babies tend to clusterfeed , which is when they will want short feeds but frequently in a short span of time.
Mothers tend to associate clusterfeeding with overfeeding, but it is perfectly normal with growing babies. It also helps with boosting the mother’s milk supply.
As long as your baby is gaining weight at a healthy rate, you don’t have to worry about overfeeding because the baby’s system will regulate itself.
What Age is Best to Start Solid Foods?
Introducing solids to your baby is a huge milestone. But it is also important that solids are introduced at the right time because up until a certain age, milk should be the main source of a baby’s nutrition.
The best age to start solid foods is when they are past 6 months of age. Even when solid food is given to baby starting at 6 months, it is important to know that their main source of food should still be breastmilk or formula. Starting solids is only meant to get them accustomed to the different textures and flavors.
When baby turns 7 to 8 months, they are able to eat different types of solid foods.
Every 6 month old will respond differently to solid food. A good way to check if your baby is ready for solids is if they actually eat the food you give.
If the food comes right out, then they are not ready at this point in time.
When Should I Introduce Solid Foods and Juices?
Solid foods should be introduced to your baby when they turn 6 months. However, it is important to note that the solid food should not replace their primary source of food which is breastmilk or formula.
Juices, on the other hand, can wait till they turn 1 years old. This is because juices contain a lot of sugar which can cause some potential problems, like tooth decay and digestive problems.
Your main goal should be to introduce a solid fruit instead.
Some babies, even if they have turned 6 months, might not be ready for solids just yet. This is nothing to be alarmed about – every baby is different.
Your baby should be ready for solids if they:
- Can hold their head up in an upright position,
- Can sit up without support,
- Are mouthing their hands and toys,
- Are showing a desire to eat by leaning forward.
If your baby rejects the solid food, despite fulfilling the above requirements, that is normal. You can try again after a couple of days, but don’t force them to eat.
Why Babies Need Solids
At 6 months, solid foods should be introduced so that baby is familiarized with the textures and flavors. They need them because when they switch to solid foods completely (when they turn 1), they should know what solid food is like and what they should do with it.
This is also when they begin to learn how to move the solid food to the back of their mouth to swallow.
Signs That it’s Time For Introducing Solids to Baby
Here are some signs that will tell you it’s time for introducing solids:
- They are 6 months old.
- They can support their necks, and can sit upright on their own.
- They are reaching out for the food you eat.
- They are developing a pincer grasp, and use their forefinger and thumb to pick up things.
These are some developmental signs that tell you it may be time to introduce some solids, like very soft vegetables and fruits, and see how they react.
Solid Foods: How to Get Your Baby Started
Starting solid foods with your baby is an exciting time. There’s a world of flavors and textures for them to explore, and see what they like best.
To get your baby started with solids, you first have to make sure they are ready. Your baby is most likely going to be ready between 6-7 months. If they reject the solids in the beginning, and push the food out, you can try again the next week.
Another more important thing to remember, is that at the age of 6 months solids should not replace breastmilk or formula. Solids are only meant to complement the main source of nutrition.
This section of the article will cover everything related to introducing solid foods and how you should be going about it the right way.
Is Your Baby Ready for Solids?
Some signs that your baby is ready for solids include:
- Your baby is 6 months of age
- They can sit on their own without support
- They don’t push food out of their mouth, and have lost their tongue-thrust reflex
- Your baby can pick things up using their fingers and thumb.
- They are interested in the food you eat and reach out for it.
What if My Baby Refuses Their First Feeding?
As the saying goes: “Food before one is just for fun!”
If your baby refuses their first feeding, it is nothing to worry about. You can simply try again after a couple of days. But it is important to not force your baby to eat.
At this point in time, it is more about letting your baby experience the food itself, ie its texture and what they should do with it.
Your baby refusing to eat solids before the age of 1 will not hurt them in any way, because medically there is almost no need for solids. Their primary source of food will still be milk.
Remember, the concept of solid foods is completely new to them so it makes sense if they want to take their time to accept it.
So, what you need to do is just keep offering them different foods every now and then, and they will learn to warm up to it.
Why Does My Baby Refuse Solid Food?
Here are some reasons why your baby might be refusing solid food:
- They are not quite ready yet . No really, their bodies may literally not be ready ye t. The rejection of solids might be a sign that their digestive systems are not prepared to accept new food.
- They don’t like the texture. It is your baby’s first time dealing with solids, so it makes sense if they don’t get used to the texture right away. Remember they were only used to drinking milk up until now. What you can do is try giving them different foods of different textures, and see which one they seem to like the best.
- If you started with purees, and they rejected it, try finger foods next time and see how they respond to that . This is also known as baby led weaning, and some parents tend to skip the purees and go straight to using this approach.
- They might be stressed. Sometimes parents can be stressed about how their baby will react to solids, and baby can sense it. Don’t make it a big deal, and let it be a positive experience for them.
- They feel forced. Some babies do not respond well to food being spooned in their mouths. Just place a place of some mushy and soft food, and let them experiment with it on their own.
How Long Does it Take for Baby to Get Used to Solids?
Once you start introducing your baby to solids at the age of 6 months, it can take them from a couple of days to a couple of months till they get used to the solids.
Every baby is different, and they will respond differently to solid food. Some might like them right away, and some may take their sweet time to warm up to it.
No matter how long they take to get used to the solid food, it is nothing to be stressed about. Your job is to keep trying and introduce different textures and flavors, but never force them into eating.
When it comes to getting used to a specific type of food, then babies need around 2 to 3 days of having the same food in order to get used to it.
What Do I Do if My Baby Doesn’t Like New Food?
Introducing solid foods to your baby can be a roller coaster of a journey. They might love something and completely hate the other.
If your baby doesn’t like new food, you should try a different type of food and see how they respond to that. It is not a matter of concern if your baby doesn’t like new food. It is a process of trial and error, and you have to respect your baby’s likes and dislikes.
What you should do is introduce new foods, and you can also try the rejected food after a couple of weeks.
The most important thing to not do, is to pressurize your baby to eat a certain type of food no matter how good you think it will be for them.
You want to aim for solid food to be a fun activity and experience for your baby, instead of a proper meal.
What Do you Do When Your Baby Doesn’t Want to Eat?
You might feed a different range of emotions when your baby doesn’t respond well to solid food, mostly out of your love and concern for them. You want your baby to be healthy, and for that they need to eat.
When your baby doesn’t want to eat, the most important thing you can do is to be patient with them and try different things. You should also understand that food before the age of 1 is only for the sole purpose of getting your baby accustomed. The solid food you give them is not supposed to be a source of nutrition because they already have breast milk or formula for that.
Here are some thing you can do when your baby doesn’t want to eat:
1. Change Up the Environment when Feeding Baby
Sometimes all your baby needs is a good distraction to eat their food. If you normally feed them in the kitchen, try taking them outside for meal time and see how they respond to that.
2. Feed Baby When Everyone Else is Eating As Well
If your baby sees everyone around the table eating, they might want to do the same. Your main goal should be to get them to enjoy their solids in the beginning, so they look forward to it every time.
Making it a family activity and ritual will help them warm about to solid food.
3. Don’t Hover Over Baby when Feeding
As much as you are excited about your baby eating solids, don’t show them this. This may pressurize them in a way, even if it is not your intention.
When it is solid food time, just give them a plate of food and let them do their own thing, while you do yours but still making sure you keep an eye on them.
4. Try Different Flavors and Textures when Feeding Baby
If your baby is rejecting some solid foods, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
There is an entire world of possibilities when it comes to solid foods, and you should simply try other things. Try cooking foods in a different way, use different flavors. Your baby will end up liking something!
How Can I Encourage My Baby to Eat?
There are lots of things you can do with food to make it more appetizing for your baby. Here are some ways on how you can encourage your baby to eat:
- Test different textures. One of the most common reasons why babies reject food is because of the texture. For instance, if your baby doesn’t like the texture of puree, give them cubed versions of the same food that is also soft to eat.
- Test different temperatures . If you have been giving a food at a certain temperature, give them the warmer or colder version of the same food.
- Use seasoning. Except for salt, you can try a pinch of seasoning in your babies food that will get their taste buds to like it. Seasoning like some garlic and herbs can work wonders in changing the taste.
- Complement the food with some cheese or yogurt . It is perfectly okay to give your child some unsweetened yogurt with some fruit or veggies.
- Let them make a mess . This will allow them to really get a feel of the food, and when they are playing with it some of it is bound to end up in their mouths.
- Let them eat when everyone is also eating. When your baby sees everyone else around them eating, they will be encouraged to do the same. It can be an activity for them to look forward to.
- Make a game out of it. Babies love a good distraction, and a game will help get the food in their mouths. You can try the classic “here comes the choo choo train” or “where’s the airplane” with your baby and see if it works.
Why Are Some Babies Reluctant to Feed?
There are a couple of reasons as to why babies are reluctant to feed sometimes:
- They could be teething. Teeth causes babies a lot of discomfort and it also affects their appetite, which may explain why they are not showing an interest in food.
- They can be frustrated with the whole picking process. Try feeding them yourself, because it’s more efficient that way. You can also give them food that is easy to pick up like avocado wedges, pancakes, crinkle-cut veggies.
- Their bodies might not be ready yet. If your baby has just started solids, then there is a chance that they’re not ready for it yet. You can keep trying after a couple of days, and eventually they will have warmed up by then.
Like they say “food before one is just for fun”. Your baby’s reluctance to eat solids is not something to be stressed about as they will eat once they get used to the entire process.
Is it Normal for Baby to Eat Less Some Days?
When it comes to the appetite, the amount of food or milk they intake will differ from baby to baby.
It is normal for a baby to eat less some days, because their bodies are always adjusting feeding to eat what they metabolically need. This explains why they eat less some days, and eat more some other times. For example, if your baby has been eating a lot for consecutive days, they might have a smaller appetite after.
As long as your baby looks satisfied after each feeding, and they are not losing weight, the appetite fluctuations are normal and nothing to be worried about.
Food Types When Introducing Solids: Where to Start?
There are many possibilities when it comes to introducing solids to your food, but in the very beginning you have to be careful about what you give.
Two things to keep in mind when introducing solids is the texture of the food, and the food type.
The texture of the first foods should be smooth, mashed or in soft pieces. It is also important to alternate between different types of textures so that your baby gets familiar with them, and learns how to chew.
The food type when introducing solids is next most important thing because you want to give your baby the right type of food in the beginning.
It is recommended that iron-rich foods be given first which are present in the following food types:
- Vegetables like potatoes, carrots and broccoli. They can be steamed or boiled.
- Fruits like banana and avocado. They can pureed or given as soft chunks.
- Meat that is slow cooked, poultry and fish.
- Eggs that are boiled or scrambled (should be fully cooked).
- Dairy like yogurt and cheese (Not cow’s milk)
- Baby cereal that is iron fortified.
You can also mix different foods together once they get used to solids. This will help them get familiar with different tastes and textures as well.
Dos and Don’ts for Baby’s First Foods
Introducing solids to your baby can be both exciting and daunting. There are so many options and things to consider because you want to do this right.
Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to baby’s first foods that you should be following:
Do Visit the Pediatrician Before Introducing Solids
Your baby’s pediatrician knows them very well, so it is important to do a consultation before you start giving your baby solids.
They’ll do a quick check up and make sure your baby is ready and will also give you some great tips to start with.
Do Follow Your Baby’s Cues
Your baby will give you lot’s of cues such showing a desire to eat the food you’re eating, being able to sit up without support and being able to hold things with their thumb and forefinger.
These cues are a sign that your baby is developmentally ready to try solid food.
Don’t use other baby’s as a cue because every baby develops differently and at their own pace.
Do Experiment With Different Flavors and Textures when Feeding Baby
It is important to keep introducing new foods and different textures to your baby after every 3-4 days.
By doing this, you will realize they might like some things more than the other, and will look forward to meal time.
You can also incorporate spices and herbs to the food for different flavors.
Don’t Use Salt when Feeding Baby
You should avoid using salt till the baby is past the age of 1. This is because their bodies might have a difficult time processing the salt.
Other mild spices like garlic and herbs are okay.
Don’t Think About Replacing Breastmilk or Formula
Your baby’s main source of nutrition is still breast milk or formula, so your main goal is not to switch to solids as the primary source of food but simply to let your baby get familiar with it.
Don’t Worry About the Mess when Feeding Baby
Introducing solids is going to be a messy journey but don’t worry about it. Let your baby play with the food, and let them deal with it on their own.
Solid food time should be a fun time for them, so it is important that they really get their hands in there and get a feel for the food (quite literally).
Don’t Be Forceful when Feeding Baby
The last thing you want to do is force your baby to eat something. It is okay if they are not eating something that is healthy for them, you can try that food again after some time.
You don’t want to create any sense of pressure for baby, and just let them do their own thing with the plate.
Don’t Be Stressed about Feeding Baby
Some babies can be very picky eaters and may not show liking towards food.
This is normal, and it is not something you should worry about. You should keep introducing different things and different combinations of food.
Eventually, your baby will find something they really like.
What Foods Should I Introduce to My Child First?
Even though your baby’s main source of nutrition will come from breast milk or formula, you still want to ensure that the first solids you give your baby are the best ones.
When it comes to the foods that you should introduce to your baby, you want to make sure that they are rich in iron and they are not a choking hazard.
You can first introduce foods like:
- Sweet potatoes
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
However, it is important to know that you don’t have to stick to just these foods. You can always introduce other iron rich foods, making sure that they are soft and easy to hold, after 3-4 days.
First Foods By Age: What to Give and How Much?
If you are worried about what foods to give to start your baby with, you have come to the right place.
You can use this quick guide for first foods by age, that will give you a good idea about what type of foods you should be introducing to baby as they grow older.
This guide is only for the purposes of helping you out, and is based on what worked for other moms and their babies.
If your child doesn’t seem to like some of the foods here, or is eating less or more than the suggested amounts, that is perfectly normal as well.
Age: 5 to 6 Months
It is recommended that that babies of the age of 5 months be introduced solids, if they are showing signs of readiness which include:
- Being able to hold head up without support
- Showing an interest and desire in the food you are eating.
- Being able to close mouth around a spoon
- Being able to move food to the back of the mouth.
If your baby is showing all of these cues, then it is time to give them their first solids!
Foods to Give at 5 to 6 months:
- Breast milk or formula is still the primary source of nutrition and should not be replaced in any way
- Sweet potatoes, potatoes, butternut squash either pureed or mashed
- Apples, bananas, peaches either pureed or mashed
- Chicken and beef pureed
- Unsweetened yogurt
- Iron fortified baby cereal
How much food to give to baby
- Start with 1-2 teaspoons of the food you give and you can also mix it with some breast milk or formula to thin the consistency.
- If your baby seems to be liking what you give them, then you can increase the amount to 1 tablespoon, and give it twice a day .
If your baby doesn’t seem to be responding well to the solids, meaning they are turning their heads away or pushing the food out of their mouth, it is ok.
You can try again after a couple of days but don’t give up completely. You can also try other foods if you feel like they will work better.
Age: 6 to 8 months
Some babies will show the above mentioned signs of readiness later, between the ages of 6-8 months.
Foods to Give at 6 to 8 months:
- Breast milk or formula is still the primary source of nutrition and should not be replaced in any way
- Avocados, peaches, bananas either pureed or cut in wedges that are easy to hold
- Baby carrots, potato, pumpkin that is steamed or boiled and cut in soft chunks
- Chicken and turkey, pureed or sliced
- pureed peas
- Small amounts of unsweetened yogurts
How much to give to baby
- You can feed your baby 2-3 tablespoons of pureed food in 4 feedings spread throughout the day.
- You can give 1-2 pieces of cut fruits and vegetables once a day and let them play with it
It is recommended that you wait up to 3 days to introduce a new food. You should also keep a food log of everything your baby has been eating.
Age: 9 to 12 months
At the age of 9 to 12 months, your baby should start chewing as well and put everything in their mouth.
Foods to Give at 6 to 8 months
- Breast milk or formula is still the primary source of nutrition and should not be replaced in any way
- You can start introducing more finger foods, since their pincer grasp is a lot better by, like boiled pasta, buttered bread cut in strips, scrambled eggs
- Small pieces of meat and poultry, boneless fish and tofu
- Dairy products like cheese and yogurt (not cow’s milk)
- You can also combine different types of foods, like yogurt with some fruit, and meat cooked in some spices (not salt). This will help them get familiar with different flavors and textures.
How much to give to baby
- Up to 1 cup of fruits and vegetables
- Up to ⅓ cup of dairy products
The same rule of waiting up to 3 days applies for introducing new foods at this age as well. You should continue to keep a food log, and you should be open to experimenting with different flavors and textures.
What Can Babies Eat at the Age of 1?
At the age of 12 months, or 1 year, your baby will need at least 1000 calories to support healthy growth.
There are lots of foods babies can eat at the age of 1 that are healthy and are also easy for them to eat. Here are some of them:
- Soft fruits. Sliced bananas, strawberries, mango, peaches and avocado are perfectly edible by a 1 year old. You can cut fruits and berries like grapes, and blackberries into half so are not a choking hazard. If your baby doesn’t like fruits, you can make a smoothie with some yogurt and give it to them in a sippy cup or spoon feed it.
- Dairy. You can start introducing small quantities of cow’s milk to your 1 year old. Start with half a cup, and then slowly increase it to 1 cup in a day. Your baby should already be familiar with yogurt at this point, but you can now give yogurt some drizzled honey.
- Oatmeal. Oatmeal has the perfect texture for a one year old, and you can add things to it to make it more appetizing, like berries and honey.
- Eggs. They can be served scrambled or hard boiled.
- Poultry and Meats. This is an important source of protein for your baby, and you can cook it in a way that is easy to eat and also appetizing for them.
- Vegetables. An important source of fibre for your 1 year old, you can serve steamed broccoli, carrots, potatoes and peas. Again, if your little one is not a fan of their greens, you can always serve it in the form of a smoothie.
What can 6 Months Babies Eat?
At 6 months old, you can start giving your baby solids if they are showing signs of readiness.
6 months old babies can eat pureed food, or soft chunks of food that is easy to grasp.
You can feed your 6 month old baby foods are rich in iron, and expose them to a variety of different textures and flavors.
Some examples of foods that 6 month olds can eat is:
- scrambled eggs,
- Steamed broccoli, carrots and potatoes,
- Oatmeal, thinned with some breast milk or formula
You can start by feeding 1-3 tablespoons of solids once a day, and see how they respond to it. If they show an interest in the food they eat, you can slowly increase the quantity.
Foods and Drinks to Avoid When Introducing Solids to Baby
Even though it is recommended to expose babies to different foods when they start solids, there are some things you should definitely avoid feeding your baby until they are old enough.
Foods to Avoid when Feeding Baby
- Honey . It is recommended to avoid giving your baby honey till they are 12 months old, to prevent infant botulism which can potentially weaken their nervous system.
- Half cooked, or runny eggs should be avoided till they turn 12 months. The bacteria in uncooked eggs can be harmful for their digestive systems.
- Whole nuts can be a potential choking hazard, and should be avoided till they turn 3 years old.
- Sugar should be avoided till they turn 2 years old. Natural sugar in fruits is okay, but added sugar can lead to tooth decay. You should also check the packaging for the percentage of sugar in any pre-made foods you give your baby.
- Salt should be avoided till they turn 12 months old. This is because babies’ kidneys haven’t been developed properly and will not be able to process high amounts of salt.
Drinks to Avoid when Feeding Baby
- Cow’s milk should be avoided till they turn 12 months old. This is because it contains bacteria that can be harmful for the baby’s digestive system before they turn 1.
- Non dairy milk like rice, oat, soy, coconut, almond should be avoided till they turn 2 years old.
- Caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee, soda should be avoided at all ages.
- Juices of any type should be avoided till they turn 3-4 years old, and even then should be given in moderation. Juice contains a lot of artificial flavoring and sugar which is not good for your baby. They can get all the nutrients they need from having actual fruit.
Introducing Water to Your Baby
Babies get all the water they need from breastmilk or formula, which is enough to keep them hydrated as well.
When it comes to introducing water to your baby, it is advised that you wait till they turn 12 months. This is because there are some risks that are associated with giving water before they are old enough like, nutrient deficiencies, loss of weight and chemical imbalances.
Lack of Nutrition and Loss of Weight in Baby
Water is not nutritious, and if your baby drinks too much of it, they won’t have space for breastmilk or formular which is the primary source of nutrition for them. This also explains why they will lose weight because water only consists of empty calories.
Chemical Imbalance in Baby
Chemical imbalances can result if your baby drinks too much water because it can dilute their electrolytes leading to water intoxication.
By the time your baby turns 12 months, they will have started weaning and having solid food as a proper meal. This is when they will need water to keep hydrated because they won’t be having formula or breast milk as much.
How Should I Introduce My Child to Foods?
If you’re in this section of the article, congratulations! Your baby is old enough to be starting solids, and that is a major milestone.
Introducing your child to foods can be a tricky process for some, and a breeze for others.
It is the first time they will be having something other than breast milk or formula, and it is only natural that they show some apprehension towards it.
Here are some of the ways how you can make things easier when introducing your child to foods:
- Start with how you usually feed your baby, by breastfeeding or formula feeding. But don’t let them fill up completely. Switch to solid food, and give them a teaspoon of the solid food and see how they respond. By doing this, they won’t be hungry or frustrated and might respond better to the food you give them.
- Make sure you start small, and have small goals like 1-2 teaspoons of pureed food in a day, then work your way up.
- The consistency of the food should be runny, so it is easier for your child to swallow the food. You can thin the consistency by mixing in some breastmilk or formula.
- The first food that you give should either be pureed or super soft, for example cut some banana or avocado up in a way that is easy for them to hold.
- When introducing your child to foods, make sure you stay all natural. Don’t give them too much of processed foods, or check the labels for the amounts of sugar and salt.
- You can introduce finger foods to your baby if they can sit up without support, and are able to bring things to their mouth.
- Be patient with your child. If they don’t seem to be responding well to the food you are giving them, don’t force them to eat. Simply try again some other day with a different food.
- According to the CDC, you should wait around 3-5 days before introducing a new food. You should also keep a food log of everything your child eats, so that it is easy to pinpoint any allergenic foods in case of a reaction.
- If you have any food allergies in the family, talk to your pediatrician about when to give these foods to your child.
How Should I Prepare Food for My Child?
When it comes to preparing food for your child, here are some ideas you can use that have been helpful to other parents:
Pureeing Foods for Baby
You can make homemade purees by boiling and blending or mashing different type of foods, like potatoes, spinach, carrots, beef, etc. If it is fruit, then you can make a puree by only blending.
You can also puree different combinations of food instead of a single one, in order to introduce your child to different flavors.
You can serve the pureed food fresh, or freeze it.
Freezing Food for Baby
After you have pureed a batch of food, you can freeze it in cubed trays for next couple of days.
This will not only allow you to give the right portions, but it will also be super convenient and you won’t have to worry too much about preparing the food.
Prepare how you usually do
This is more applicable for baby led weaning, when parents skip the purees and go straight to finger foods.
If your baby has mastered their pincer grasp, and is able to move their jaw to chew, then it makes sense to give them finger food.
You can give them smaller and softer portions of the food you will be having. For example, potatoes and meat. Just mash the potatoes, or cut them into soft chunks and shred the meat so it’s easier for them to hold and chew.
Get a crinkle cutter, and cut fruits and vegetables like avocados, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc and it will provide your child the perfect grip.
How Much Breastmilk or Formula Should I Give My Baby After Starting Solids
It can be confusing to balance milk feeds with solids in the beginning, but there are a couple of pointers that will help you sort it out.
When it comes to how much breastmilk or formula you should give your baby after starting solids, the most important thing to remember is that before the age of 12 months milk or formula will be their primary source of nutrition.
This means that you should continue giving milk or formula like you used to, and the solid food will act only as a supplement.
Feed your baby breast milk or formula as per usual, and then introduce the solid food once a day. You can build this up to 2 or 3 times a day, gradually.
Between the ages of 6 to 9 months , you should first give your baby the milk and then solids. After they are past 9 months, you can first give them solids, and then milk.
By the time they are 12 months old, they will be used to having solids with milk as a top up.
Should You Breastfeed Before or After Feeding Solids?
Remember, food before the age of one is only meant to complement your baby’s primary source of nutrition, ie, breastmilk (or formula, if you are formula feeding).
You should breastfeed before you feed solids to your baby, because this won’t interrupt your usual nursing schedule.
Till the age of 9 to 12 months, you should continue to feed your baby with breast milk and then gradually increase the amount of solids you give them as a top up.
Food Intolerance in Babies When Introducing Solids
Even though transitioning to solid food can be a fun time as part of your baby’s growth, you might also be vary of any potential food intolerances.
What are the Symptoms of a Food Intolerance in Babies?
Food intolerance, different from food allergies, is a metabolic response that can show up when introducing some types of solids.
For example, constipation, gas, diarrhea are symptoms of food intolerance that can result from lactose, gluten, etc. They will cause discomfort to your baby, but are not dangerous to their health.
Food intolerances tend to go away sometimes after they turn older, because their bodies get better at processing the food.
What Should I Do if I Suspect a Food Intolerance in Baby?
If you suspect a food intolerance, keep a food log of what your baby has been eating, so you are able to identify what food is causing the intolerance.
After you have identified the food, you can give it to them in periodic intervals and small quantities to see if it has gone away.
Food Allergies in Babies When Introducing Solids
Food allergies can be a big concern when introducing solids to your baby. Especially if you have a history of food allergies in the family, you will have questions about how to deal with it.
When it comes to food allergies in babies, according to research, it is better to introduce potential allergenic food because it is known to lower the risk of your baby developing an allergy to it. However, it is still important to consult your pediatrician about this, especially if there is a history of allergies in your family.
Dealing with food allergies when introducing solids can be a tricky thing. We will give you all the information you need to go about it in a safe manner, the symptoms of a food allergy and what ages babies are most likely to develop an allergy.
Introducing Foods That Could Trigger Allergy in Baby
The best thing to do when introducing foods that could trigger an allergy, is to start slow. You can introduce one allergenic food at a time in small quantities.
It is important to do this because this will allow you to identify any allergies and you can avoid them later on.
Start with one food, and then wait up to 5 days before introducing another one. During this time, it is important that you keep a log of everything your baby has been eating.
According to pediatrician Natalie Muth, highly allergic foods should be introduced between the ages of 4 to 11 months and should be repeated thrice a week. This will help lower the risk of any allergy developments.
Whereas, delaying the introduction of allergenics will actually increase the risk allergy developments.
How Will I Know if My Child Has a Food Allergy? What Are the Symptoms?
After introducing the allergenic food to your child, the symptoms of the reaction will start to show between 30 to 60 minutes.
Even though the reactions vary from baby to baby, here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Rashes or hives on the skin
- Itchy throat
- Swelling of the mouth, lips or tongue
- Wheezing or difficulty in breathing
The symptoms tend to go away, but it is very important that you take your baby to the ER and do a consultation.
In order to pinpoint the allergenic food, doctors usually require some blood work to be done.
What Age Do Babies Develop Food Allergies?
There is no specified age when babies are likely to develop food allergies. It is a matter of when it is discovered that your baby is allergic to a certain food.
It is known that babies outgrow some type of allergies, especially if the allergy started before the age of 3 . However, other types of allergies, like nuts and fish, might be lifelong.
Your baby would have a higher risk of developing a food allergy if:
- Someone in the family, like a parent or sibling, has an allergic condition like food allergy, eczema, asthma, or hay fever.
- Baby is diagnosed with an allergy condition.
The Top Allergenic Foods for Babies
Allergic reactions can be triggered by any type of food, and it depends on the child. But here are the most common types of allergenic food :
- Tree nuts
How Long Does it Take for a Baby to Have an Allergic Reaction to Food?
It takes between 30 to 60 minutes for a baby to have an allergic reaction. However, some doctors say it can happen anytime within 2 hours.
Diagnosis of A Food Allergy in Baby
Allergies are a cause of antibodies, produced by the body’s immune system, reacting to a particular food which then releases chemicals that cause the allergic symptoms such as coughing, swelling, etc.
It is not easy to diagnose a food allergy because it can be difficult to pinpoint which food caused a reaction.
This is why it is recommended that you keep a food log of everything your baby has been eating when they start solids.
Pediatricians also might make you refer to an allergist who will go through different diagnostic procedures such as:
- An elimination diet during which suspicious foods will be removed from the diet for some time, and reintroduced to see if the allergy has subsided.
- Skin and blood tests
- RAST tests, in which certain food extracts are mixed with your child’s blood.
Reducing the Risk of Food Allergies in Babies: Tips and How to Go About it
If you are worried about your baby being at the risk of developing a food allergy, here are some things you can do to reduce the risk:
- Breastfeed baby, if possible . It may help prevent the development of any potential food allergies because of all its health benefits.
- Introduce the top allergenic foods when your baby is ready for solids. This should be after the age of 4 months , and your baby should be showing all the signs of readiness. You can introduce the allergens one at a time, and wait up to 3 days before introducing the next one.
- Start with egg and peanuts. Once your baby is ready for solids, you can start by giving them small quantities of egg and peanut butter. It is known to reduce the risk of allergy development to these foods.
- Give them the tolerated foods on a consistent basis. This will help prevent an allergy to those foods.
- Keep the eczema controlled. If your baby has been diagnosed with eczema, make sure it is taken care of properly and doesn’t flare up.
Introducing the Baby to Allergic Foods
When you are introducing the baby to allergic foods for the first time, here is how you can go about it:
- Offer the allergenic food in textures that are safe for your baby. This includes textures that are minced, pureed, soft and mushy and tender.
- You can blend some of the allergenic foods with some fruit or infant cereal that they have already been introduced to.
- Give them small quantities of the allergenic food that you have prepared and wait for 20 minutes before you give the next spoon.
Is a High Chair Necessary for Feeding Baby?
Your baby has reached a new milestone in their life where they have started to eat almost adult-like food. Does this mean you need to invest in, yet another, baby product to facilitate their feeding needs? Or is there an alternative?
A high chair is considered necessary for feeding a baby by lots of parents. This is because they offer a lot of safety, convenience and are easy to clean. More importantly, it will keep your baby contained in one place and out of reach of other things.
With that being said, you will be using the high chair for a limited time before baby is old enough so you can buy something that is affordable but does the job that is needed, like the IKEA antilop high chair.
When Can I Start Using a High Chair for Feeding Baby?
You have to make sure your baby is showing all signs of readiness to start solids so you can also start using a high chair.
It is recommended that you should wait till the age of 6 months before you start using a high chair. This is because by this age, baby is able to sit upright without support and is able to reach out for things like food.
What is the Best High Chair for Feeding Baby?
According to popular opinion of many parents, the IKEA Antilop is considered the best high chair.
It meets all the requirements that are needed of a high chair such as being safe, easy to clean and super affordable.
Is a Feeding Bottle Good for Baby?
The squeeze feeding bottles with a spoon are generally used for things like baby cereal or pureed foods, when baby starts eating solids.
Parents like using the squeeze feeding bottles because it is a very convenient way to feed and introduce the baby to spoon feeding.
However, if you are planning to start baby led weaning directly then you may not need a feeding bottle for spoon feeding.
When Should a Baby Start Using a Squeeze Feeding Bottle?
Around the age of 4-5 months, you can use a squeeze feeding bottle with your baby and feed them rice or infant cereal.