What to feed, and when to a feed a baby is usually one of the many things most parents worry about, and it is an important concern as more growth occurs during the first year of a child’s life than at any other time.
It is very important to feed your baby a variety of healthy foods as they grow, this helps create good eating habits at an early age and will help set healthy eating patterns later on in life.
Below is a guide on what and how much to feed your child in their first year of life. Remember that this is only a guideline and so you shouldn’t be bothered if your baby eats a little or more than is suggested.
|Age||Breast milk||Formula||Solid food|
|First few days||Feed on demand. Make sure baby feeds every 3 hours||Feed on demand. About 1-2 ounces every 2-3 hours.||None|
|1-2 months||Feed on demand. Most babies feed 8-10 times a day||Make sure baby wakes to eat. 2-4 ounces, every 3 hours||None|
|3-5 months||Most babies feed about 8 times a day. As babies tend to sleep for longer during the day, make sure baby wakes to get fed||6-7 ounces every 5 hours||None|
|6-8 months||Some parents introduce solid foods at this time. Babies still feed about 6 times a day.||Follow your baby’s cue. As your baby gets introduces to solid food, you can start reducing the amount of formula||You can start with a few teaspoons of puree fruits like apples, bananas or soft food like pap, potatoes, mashed fish, chicken, meat,|
|9-11 months||Feeding pattern starts to vary here, as solid food is introduced. Breast milk still provides relevant nutrition, so feed before giving solid food. As you see fit||As your baby gets used to solid foods, formula can still be given like 5 times a day but the quantity depends on how much you feel your child needs to supplement the solid food||You can increase the quantity to about half a cup of food, 2-3 times a day. Small amount of unsweetened yoghurt can be given as well|
|12 months||Breastfeeding can stop now, but you can still breastfeed in between meals and then switch to cow’s milk||You can switch to cow’s milk even as you transition fully to solid food||Mashed food, 3 times a day and snacks in between meals|
Some helpful tips
- Give your baby one new food at a time, not a mixture of different foods. Also, give the new solid food for at least 4 days before introducing another new food. This helps you keep track of what your child may be allergic to.
- Do not force feed your baby or give too much of any particular food. Start by giving a teaspoon, then a tablespoon and so on.
- Do not use sugar or salt when cooking for your newborn.
- First introduce a dry infant cereal, then you can move on to vegetables, fruits, and then meat and fish.
- Do not force a strict feeding schedule, let your baby decide and watch out for signs that your little one is hungry.
- When giving your little one fruits or veggies, make sure it is washed thoroughly and peeled.
- Foods like nuts, seeds, honey shouldn’t be given to children in the age group.
- Feed your baby solid food with spoon.
- Offer your child a variety of foods and remember to be gentle on yourself and your baby if he or she doesn’t like specific foods.
- Speak with a licensed pediatrician if you have concerns about your baby’s eating habits