Infant Feeding Guide

It's not always easy to know what to feed a growing infant. Here are some guidelines to help you month by month. Each stage builds upon the last. The amounts listed here are averages. Don't worry if your baby is eating more or less than the suggested amounts as long as your pediatrician says he is growing properly.

Note: If allergies run in your family, you must delay the introduction of certain foods to baby. Read Food Allergy and Intolerance, for more information before you begin feeding baby solid foods.

Age: 4-6 Months

  • Breast milk: Feed on demand, usually about 4-7 times daily, or
  • Iron-fortified infant formula: 24-40 ounces daily, or more as needed
  • Iron-fortified infant cereal: Mix 2-3 teaspoons rice cereal (to begin with) or barley cereal with formula, water, or breast milk to create a semisolid consistency. Offer twice a day. Don't expect baby to eat much at first.
  • Fruit and fruit juices: None needed, but you may mix 100 percent fruit juice with infant cereal in place of formula or breast milk. Avoid citrus and tomato juices for now. It's OK to offer small amounts of pureed fruits to baby now, too.
Age: 6-8 Months
  • Breast milk: Feed on demand, usually about 4-5 times daily, or
  • Iron-fortified infant formula: 24-32 ounces daily
  • Iron-fortified infant cereals: Mix 3-9 tablespoons infant cereal with formula, water, or breast milk in two or more feedings daily
  • Fruit and fruit juices: Pureed, strained, or mashed fruits, such as bananas and applesauce: 1 jar or ½ cup a day, split into 2-3 feedings. Offer fruit instead of fruit juice.
  • Vegetables: Strained or mashed, cooked vegetables. Dark yellow, dark green, or orange, but no corn. Start with mild-tasting vegetables such as green beans, peas, or squash. Give ½ to 1 jar baby food vegetables, or ¼ to ½ cup per day.
Age: 8-10 Months
  • Breast milk: Feed on demand, usually about 3-4 feedings daily, or
  • Iron-fortified infant formula: 16-32 ounces daily
  • Iron-fortified infant cereals, or plain hot cereals: About ¼ to ½ cup a day, but this will vary. Breads: Toast, bagel, or crackers for teething, if desired. Always supervise baby.
  • Fruit and fruit juices: OK to serve citrus and tomato juice now, but don't let juice replace fruit. Baby can have 1-2 jars of pureed fruit a day, or finely chopped, peeled soft fruit wedges, including bananas, peaches, pears, and apples.
  • Vegetables: 1-2 jars of pureed vegetables or ½ to 1 cup daily.
  • Protein foods: Begin offering fresh ground or finely chopped chicken or lean meats with all the bones, fat, and skin removed; full-fat yogurt; hard cheeses such as cheddar; mashed cooked dried beans; cooked egg yolks; and peanut butter thinned with applesauce or full-fat yogurt.
Age: 10-12 Months
  • Breast milk: Feed on demand, usually 3-4 feedings daily, or
  • Iron-fortified infant formula: 16-24 ounces daily
  • Milk: Full-fat milk can be offered, beginning at one year. Make the transition by mixing formula with some milk and gradually increasing the amount of milk, until milk completely replaces formula.
  • Cereals and breads: Infant or cooked cereals, bread, mashed potatoes, rice, and pasta, a tablespoon or so at a time. Intake will vary.
  • Vegetables: Cooked vegetables. Some raw vegetables as tolerated by child.
  • Fruit and fruit juices: All fresh fruits, peeled and seeded, or canned fruits are OK for baby now. Just make sure they are soft and cut into small pieces.
  • Protein foods: Small pieces of fresh chopped chicken, lean meat, or fish with all the bones, fat, and skin removed; full-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese; mashed cooked dried beans; cooked whole, eggs beginning at twelve months; and peanut butter thinned with applesauce or full-fat yogurt.
Important First-Year Feeding Tips
  • Use baby spoon to feed baby solid foods. Do not put infant cereal in bottles filled with formula or breast milk. This practice encourages overfeeding,
  • Do not give cow's milk or fortified soy milk to baby until her first birthday. Provide full-fat milk until she reaches her second birthday.
  • Introduce one food at a time. Wait five days between new foods.
  • Never put your baby to bed with a bottle because it increases the risk of tooth decay.

Copyright © 2002 by Elizabeth M. Ward. Excerpted from Healthy Foods, Healthy Kids with permission of its publisher, Adams Media Corporation.

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