Feeding Your Baby:
Feeding Tips for the First Year
Your baby will let you know when he or she is hungry. Breast-fed infants should eat eight to 12 times in a 24-hour period, and formula-fed infants should be fed six to 10 times in a 24-hour period. Don’t be tempted to add cereal to your baby’s bottle. It will not help them sleep through the night and may even be a choking hazard. When your baby starts eating solid foods, offer it in a spoon, not in a bottle.
Typical Portion Sizes for an Infant
0 to 4 months
Breast milk or infant formula (2 to 4 ounces); Feedings per day: eight to 12.
NOTE: Do not warm your baby’s bottle in the microwave because it can burn the baby’s mouth and throat. Warm in a pan of warm water. Shake the bottle for even heat distribution and test by putting a drop on your skin to make sure it’s not too hot.
Hold your baby during feeding. Do not let your baby fall asleep with a bottle. It can cause tooth decay and choking.
4 to 6 months
- Breast milk or infant formula (6 to 8 ounces); Feedings per day: four to six.
- Infant cereal (1 to 2 tablespoons).
6 to 8 months
- Breast milk or infant formula (6 to 8 ounces); Feedings per day: three to five.
- Infant cereal (2 to 4 tablespoons).
- Crackers (2); bread (1/2 slice).
- Juice or water (0 to 3 ounces).
- Fruit or vegetable (2 to 3 tablespoons).
- Meat or beans (1 to 2 tablespoons).
8 to 12 months
- Breast milk or infant formula (6 to 8 ounces); Feedings per day: three to four.
- Cheese (1/2 ounce) or yogurt (1/2 cup).
- Infant cereal (2-4 tablespoons); bread (1/2 slice); crackers (2); or pasta (3 to 4 tablespoons).
- Juice or water (3 ounces).
- Fruit or vegetable (3 to 4 tablespoons).
- Meat or beans (3 to 4 tablespoons).
When you start feeding solid foods, start slowly with a small amount of food – just a teaspoon at first – until you are feeding the equivalent of a small 4-oz. jar or cup of baby food per meal. Talk to your baby’s pediatrician about which foods to start with. Usually, begin with cereal. Introduce one food at a time and note possible allergic reactions.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not giving fruit juices to infants younger than 1 year old.
Feed your baby healthy foods such as meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and fruits. Avoid added salt and sugars.
While babies do not need additional water or juice for hydration, you may provide water or diluted juice in a cup to help with transition off the bottle, which is recommended at 12 months. If you have any questions about your baby’s diet and nutrition, talk to your pediatrician or a dietitian.
Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics and the Cleveland Clinic