Help! What Do I Feed My Baby? -The What ,When, and How Much of Solids

Solids. This can be a scary word for a first-time parent. When do you start them? How much do you feed? What should you give your baby first? These questions plague new parents, who want desperately to make sure their precious baby is eating the right foods and enough of them.

Your baby’s doctor or pediatrician will likely provide you with information regarding feeding your baby solids. Typically, a baby begins eating solid foods between four and six months of age. Prior to this time, breast milk or formulas is the sole source of nutrition for babies. A juice cup may be introduced around 6 months of age, but many pediatricians are now shying away from this recommendation, and suggesting water instead. And contrary to what family members may have told you, it’s no longer recommended that you give a baby who has not yet started solids, water.

Here are the guidelines my doctor provided me with my children. Hopefully they can be of some help to you if you’re confused about the what, the when, and the how much of feeding. Please remember that these are only guidelines—you should consult your own doctor to find out what is right for your baby. And one of the best pieces of advice I received was that it’s more important for a baby to have a good eating week than a good eating day. Some days babies just won’t eat enough, or they’ll only want certain food groups. That’s okay.

Guide to Feeding, Birth to 12 Months:

1 Month:
Breast milk on demand. Nurse for 10-20 minutes on each breast. If problems arise, consult physician.
Formula: 1 ½ – 3 ounces ever 3-4 hours initially. (16 to 20 ounces per day)

2 Months:
Breast milk on demand.
Formula: 24-28 ounces per day.

3 Months:
Breast milk on demand.
Formula: 30-32 ounces per day.

4-6 Months:
Breast milk on demand.
Formula: 30-32 ounces per day.
Rice cereal with a spoon. Start rice cereal following the instructions on the box. Start with one feeding per night, then after several weeks, give morning and night.

5-7 Months:
Breast milk or 30-32 ounces of formula.
4-6 Tablespoons rice cereal morning and evening.
4-6 Tablespoons vegetables mid-day. Begin with yellow vegetables (carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes) then green vegetables.
One new food per week.

6-8 Months:
Breast milk or 24-32 ounces of formula per day.
6-8 Tablespoons cereal morning and evening.
2-4 Tablespoons fruit.
6-8 Tablespoons vegetables.
Can give 2 ounces diluted juice in a cup per day.

8-10 Months:
Breast milk or 24-32 ounces of formula per day.
3-10 Tablespoons vegetables.
6-8 Tablespoons cereal.
6 Tablespoons fruit.
1-2 Tablespoons meat.
4 ounces juice in a cup.
Some table foods. Stage 2 foods.

10-12 Months:
Breast milk or 16-32 ounces of formula.
12-14 Tablespoons vegetables.
8 Tablespoons fruit.
3 Tablespoons cereal.
4 ounces juice.
½ cup potatoes, rice, noodles, or spaghetti.
At one year, one whole egg 3 times per week.

**At 8 months, milk intake decreases as solid intake increases. 1 jar of baby food equals approx. 6 Tablespoons. Babies should be off the bottle by 12-15 months.