How much food should your baby eat at a meal? What is a serving or portion size for a baby?

baby being spoonfed

Your Baby Should Be Eating as Much Solid Baby Food as Your Baby Will Eat.

mayflower How Old Is Your Baby?

You’re wondering about the above statement aren’t you? Ask the vast majority of pediatricians and they will all say, “Feed your baby as much as your baby will eat”.

One of the caveats when feeding your baby solid foods is that that you ensure that your baby is still receiving proper amounts of breast milk and/or formula. Solid foods in the early stage are meant for practice. Solids are not meant to provide for baby’s nutrition as breast milk and/or formula are.

How much solid food a baby will be eating depends on a variety of different things.

Don’t forget that your baby is a little human being, and like all of us, she has her own appetite. This will influence to how much solid foods she will be eating. As with adults, some babies will eat more than others due to their individual appetites. Below are a few key points to remember when feeding your baby.

  • A baby who began solid foods at 4 months of age will most likely be eating more solid foods than the baby who began to eat solid foods at 6 months old.
  • A baby who is eating soft diced foods as beginner foods may seem to eat less than the baby who is being spoon-fed purées.
  • A baby who is ill or teething may eat less than what has been typical for a few days and then suddenly the typical appetite comes roaring back.
  • An infant who is busy exploring the carpet or the new soft-book she has received may be miffed when she is put into a high chair and offered food.

The natural slow down of growth that babies go through will also influence how much they eat.  They may be ravenous for a few days or a week or two and then suddenly, they are barely eating.   Babies who are coming out of a growth spurt will tend to eat less than they were during the growth spurt.

How do I know if my baby is eating enough solid food?

As all pediatricians will tell you ” Your baby will never starve himself or herself! ”  The majority of healthy babies will eat just the right amount of foods that they need.  Resist the urge to offer “just one more bite” when baby indicates she’s finished. You do not want to accidentally override your baby’s developing ability to self-regulate his or her feeding by continuing to try and feed your baby. It is important to pay close attention to your baby’s cues as your baby’s feeding patterns will change daily and may be affected by the goings-on around him.

Offering a well balanced diet of solid foods will help ensure that your baby is eating the right amount of the right nutritious foods.


Example feeding “schedule” of solid foods

REMEMBER: 1 ounce equals approximately 2 tablespoons

Before 4 Months:

  • According to the CDC, babies before 4 months of age should not be fed solid baby foods. Infants should be able to sit up on their own and take food off the spoon before being introduced to solids
  • Why can’t we give baby younger than 4 months solids? According to Dr. Alice Kuo of UCLA, “Introducing solid foods early means that the baby gets less breast milk over the course of their infancy, and that decreases the ability to get optimal benefits, like protection against infection,”

What to Feed Baby:

  • Breast milk or formula
    Breastfeed every 1-3 hours or Formula 18-40 ounces

4-6 Months: 46

If baby can sit up on their own and still seems hungry after breastfeeding, baby may be ready to start eating solids! Baby should be able to hold their head up, close their mouth around a spoon and “move” the food to the back of their mouth.

What to Feed Baby:

  • Breast milk or formula AND
  • 1-3 tablespoons of food at 1 or 2 “meals”

Click here to learn what foods you can introduce to a 4-6 month baby


 

6-8 Months:  68

Formula and/or Breast Milk is still most important at this age and stage. Babies in this range may be just starting solids so the above for 4-6 Months would apply. Some babies may be eating up to 8 ounces of solid foods between 2-3 “meals” during a day.

What to Feed Baby: 

  • Breast milk or formula AND
  • Foods in this chart for solids OK to give baby 6-8 months, 2-3 “meals” a day

Click here to learn what solid foods you can introduce to a 6-8 month baby


 

8 to 10 months: for babies 8 to 10 months 

Many babies will be eating 3 “meals” per day at this stage; including a grain, fruit, veggie and a meat or protein source such as eggs.

Again, pay close attention to your baby’s cues as your baby’s feeding patterns will change daily and may be affected by the goings-on around him.  Your baby will eat just the right amount for YOUR baby.

What to Feed Baby:

  • Breast milk  or formula  AND
  • Foods in this chart for solids OK to give baby 6-8 months, 3 “meals” a day

Click here to lean what solid foods you can introduce to a 8 to 10 month baby


10 to 12 months: 12

Many babies will be eating 3 “meals” per day at this stage; including a grain, fruit, veggie and a meat or protein source such as eggs.

Again, pay close attention to your baby’s cues as your baby’s feeding patterns will change daily and may be affected by the goings-on around him.  Your baby will eat just the right amount for YOUR baby.

What to Feed Baby:

  • Breast milk  or formula  AND
  • Foods in this chart for solids OK to give baby 6-8 months, 3 “meals” a day

Click here to lean what solid foods you can introduce to a 10 to 12 month baby

Here are a few things to watch for to ensure that you are not over or under feeding your baby:

Signs that baby may want to continue to eat

  • Leaning in for the spoon
  • Opening the mouth
  • Grabbing for food and trying to put it in the mouth

Signs that your baby may be full

  • Closing of the mouth as the spoon comes close
  • Spitting out the food that is being fed
  • Turning the head away as the spoon comes closer

A healthy well-fed baby should be producing wet diapers regularly as well as producing a bowel movement or two during the day.

Ensure that you take your baby to the well-child visits as scheduled so that your pediatrician may weigh and measure baby to ensure that your baby has good sustained growth.

If you are ever uncertain about the foods and the amount of solid foods you are feeding your baby, always consult your baby’s pediatrician.  Your pediatrician should be able to assist you in validating your feeding routines and also help allay your fears.

stop3 Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.


No two babies will eat the exact same amounts (or foods!) The amount that each eats is just right for that baby!

Suggested Daily “Milk” Intakes for Babies age 0 to 12 months

  • 0-3 Months of age:
    Breastfeed every 1-3 hours or Formula 18-40 ounces
  • 4-5 Months of age:
    Breastfeed every 2-4 hours or Formula 24-45 ounces
  • 6-8 Months of age:
    Breastfeed every 3-4 hours or Formula 24-37 ounces
  • 9-12 Months of age:
    Breastfeed every 4-5 hours or Formula 24-31 ounces

Whole Cow Milk, as a drink, should not be introduced until 12 months of age. Learn about Introducing Yogurt and Feeding Cheese to your baby.

Table compiled from Merck Source


Follow Your Baby’s Cues When Feeding Your Baby Solid Foods

Following your baby’s cues during feeding time will ensure that your baby is eating the proper amounts of food for him or her.

There is no “set-in-stone” guideline or chart of exactly how many jars of baby food or how many 8 ounce bottles of formula each baby should be receiving. This is simply because each and every baby is different. Babies will eat as much food and drink as much breast milk and/or formula as they need.

For example: You may wonder how it is possible that your friend’s 7 month old baby is eating 2 whole jars of baby food (8-9 oz) in one day while your 7 month old baby barely manages to eat 3 or 4 baby food cubes (3-4 oz) of food per day.  You may also wonder why your baby nurses every 2 hours at 7 months old while your friend’s baby may only nurse every 3 or 4 hours.  Again, each baby has different food and milk needs and these needs are just right for the individual baby.

Read More About Solid Foods for Baby Food

Ask the vast majority of pediatricians and they will all say, “Feed your baby as much as your baby will eat”.

 

stop3 Remember, always consult with your pediatrician regarding introducing solid foods to your baby and specifically discuss any foods that may pose allergy risks for your baby.

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