Feeding Guide for the First Year

Feeding Guide for the First Year

Making appropriate food choices for
your baby during the first year of life is very important. More growth occurs during the
first year than at any other time in your child’s life. It’s important to feed your baby a
variety of healthy foods at the proper time. Starting good eating habits at this early
stage will help set healthy eating patterns for life.

Recommended feeding guide for the first
year

Don’t give solid foods unless your
child’s healthcare provider advises you to do so. Solid foods should not be started
before age 4 months because:

  • Breast milk or formula
    provides your baby all the nutrients that are needed for growth.

  • Your baby isn’t physically
    developed enough to eat solid food from a spoon.

  • Feeding your baby solid food
    too early may lead to overfeeding and being overweight.

The American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) recommends that all infants, children, and adolescents take in enough vitamin D
through supplements, formula, or cow’s milk to prevent complications from deficiency of
this vitamin. In November 2008, the AAP updated its recommendations for daily intake of
vitamin D for healthy infants, children, and adolescents. It’s now recommended that the
minimum intake of vitamin D for these groups should be 400 IU per day, starting soon
after birth. Your baby’s healthcare provider can recommend the proper type and amount of
vitamin D supplement for your baby.

Guide for formula feeding (0 to 5
months)

Age Amount of formula per feeding Number of feedings per 24 hours
1 month

2 to 4 ounces

6 to 8 times

2 months

5 to 6 ounces

5 to 6 times

3 to 5 months

6 to 7 ounces

5 to 6 times

Feeding tips for your child

These are some things to consider
when feeding your baby:

  • When starting solid foods,
    give your baby one new food at a time — not mixtures (like cereal and fruit or
    meat dinners). Give the new food for 3 to 5 days before adding another new food.
    This way you can tell what foods your baby may be allergic to or can’t
    tolerate.

  • Start with small amounts of
    new solid foods — a teaspoon at first and slowly increase to a tablespoon.

  • Start with dry infant rice
    cereal first, mixed as directed, followed by vegetables, fruits, and then
    meats.

  • Don’t use salt or sugar when
    making homemade infant foods. Canned foods may contain large amounts of salt and
    sugar and shouldn’t be used for baby food. Always wash and peel fruits and
    vegetables and remove seeds or pits. Take special care with fruits and vegetables
    that come into contact with the ground. They may contain botulism spores that
    cause food poisoning.

  • Infant cereals with iron
    should be given to your infant until your infant is age 18 months.

  • Cow’s milk shouldn’t be added
    to the diet until your baby is age 1. Cow’s milk doesn’t provide the proper
    nutrients for your baby.

  • The AAP recommends not giving
    fruit juices to infants younger than 1 year old. Only pasteurized, 100% fruit
    juices (without added sugar) may be given to older babies and children, but should
    be limited to 4 ounces a day. Dilute the juice with water and offer it in a cup
    with a meal.

  • Feed all food with a spoon.
    Your baby needs to learn to eat from a spoon. Don’t use an infant feeder. Only
    formula and water should go into the bottle.

  • Don’t give your child honey
    in any form for your child’s first year. It can cause infant botulism.

  • Don’t put your baby in bed
    with a bottle propped in his or her mouth. Propping a bottle has been linked to an
    increased risk for ear infections. Once your baby’s teeth are present, propping
    the bottle can also cause tooth decay. There is also a risk of choking.

  • Help your baby to give up the
    bottle by his or her first birthday.

  • Don’t make your child “clean
    the plate.” Forcing your child to eat all the food on his or her plate even when
    he or she isn’t hungry isn’t a good habit. It teaches your child to eat just
    because the food is there, not because he or she is hungry. Expect a smaller and
    pickier appetite as the baby’s growth rate slows around age 1.

  • Babies and young children
    shouldn’t eat hot dogs, nuts, seeds, round candies, popcorn, hard, raw fruits and
    vegetables, grapes, or peanut butter. These foods aren’t safe and may cause your
    child to choke. Many healthcare providers suggest these foods be saved until after
    your child is age 3 or 4. Always watch a young child while he or she is eating.
    Insist that the child sit down to eat or drink.

  • Healthy babies usually
    require little or no extra water, except in very hot weather. When solid food is
    first fed to your baby, extra water is often needed.

  • Don’t limit your baby’s food
    choices to the ones you like. Offering a wide variety of foods early will pave the
    way for good eating habits later.

  • Don’t restrict fat and
    cholesterol in the diets of very young children, unless advised by your child’s
    healthcare provider. Children need calories, fat, and cholesterol for the
    development of their brains and nervous systems, and for general growth.

Feeding guide for the first year (4 to 8
months)

Item 4 to 6 months 7 months 8 months
Breastfeeding or formula

4 to 6 feedings per
day or 28 to 32 ounces per day

3 to 5 feedings per
day or 30 to 32 ounces per day

3 to 5 feedings per
day or 30 to 32 ounces per day

Dry infant cereal with iron

3 to 5 tbs. single
grain iron fortified cereal mixed with formula

3 to 5 tbs. single
grain iron fortified cereal mixed with formula

5 to 8 tbs. single
grain cereal mixed with formula

Fruits

1 to 2 tbs., plain,
strained/1 to 2 times per day

2 to 3 tbs., plain,
strained/2 times per day

2 to 3 tbs.,
strained or soft mashed/2 times per day

Vegetables

1 to 2 tbs., plain,
strained/1 to 2 times per day

2 to 3 tbs., plain,
strained/2 times per day

2 to 3 tbs.,
strained, mashed, soft/2 times per day

Meats and protein foods

1 to 2 tbs.,
strained/2 times per day

1 to 2 tbs.,
strained/2 times per day

Snacks

Arrowroot cookies,
toast, crackers

Arrowroot cookies,
toast, crackers, plain yogurt

Development

Make first cereal
feedings very soupy and thicken slowly.

Start finger foods
and cup.

Formula intake
decreases; solid foods in diet increase.

Feeding guide for the first year (9 to 12
months)

Item 9 months 10 to 12 months
Breastfeeding or formula

3 to 5 feedings per
day or 30 to 32 ounces per day

3 to 4 feedings per
day or 24 to 30 ounces per day

Dry infant cereal with iron

5 to 8tbs. any
variety mixed with formula

5 to 8 tbs. any
variety mixed with formula per day

Fruits

2 to 4 tbs.,
strained or soft mashed/2 times per day

2 to 4 tbs., mashed
or strained, cooked/2 times per day

Vegetables

2 to 4 tbs., mashed,
soft, bite-sized pieces/2 times per day

2 to 4 tbs., mashed,
soft, bite-sized pieces/2 times per day

Meats and protein foods

2 to 3 tbs. of
tender, chopped/2 times per day

2 to 3 tbs., finely
chopped, table meats, fish without bones, mild cheese/2 times per day

Starches

1/4-1/2 cup mashed
potatoes, macaroni, spaghetti, bread/2 times per day

Snacks

Arrowroot cookies,
assorted finger foods, cookies, toast, crackers, plain yogurt, cooked
green beans

Arrowroot cookies,
assorted finger foods, cookies, toast, crackers, plain yogurt, cooked
green beans, cottage cheese, ice cream, pudding, dry cereal

Development

Eating more table
foods. Make sure diet has good variety.

Baby may change to
table food. Baby will feed himself or herself and use a spoon and
cup.