How much and how often should you feed your baby?

Mother feeding baby in high chair
Mother feeding baby in high chair

Starting solids is an exciting milestone for the family but can also bring about a lot of distress and confusion. “How much?” and “how often?” are two of the biggest questions that face new moms on their solids journey.

The truth is that there is no rule: every baby is different. Some bigger babies eat more than smaller babies. You may find your baby is a better breakfast eater than night-time eater, and your baby’s appetite can even change from day to day, so how much and how often to feed a baby is not so straightforward.

In the early days of introducing solids, your baby must first get used to the experience of eating, like practicing and swallowing how to keep solid food in the mouth. Breastmilk or formula milk will continue to provide majority of your baby’s nutritional needs still so do not worry about small amounts eaten. In time, the amount of food your baby eats will gradually increase. Follow your baby’s lead and let your baby tell you when they have had enough.

Keep an eye for these signs to know they are satisfied and have had enough:

  • Happy and content at the start of the meal, baby may start to become fussy and irritable.
  • Baby’s eating pace slows down.
  • Baby closes the mouth when food approaches.
  • Baby pushes food away.
  • Baby spits out food.
  • Baby changes posture from alert to slumped and disinterested and may even fall asleep.

As a general guide, at 6 months baby might eat 1 – 2 teaspoons at a time. This amount could soon increase to 3 – 4 teaspoons and then twice a day, like at breakfast and midday. Once baby eats more than this you could add in more meal and/or snack times. From 9 – 12 months, baby will likely comfortably eat ¼ cup up to ½ cup per meal and 3 – 5 times per day. Milk feeds will continue, though baby may start to drop a feed in the middle of the day at 6 – 9 months and again at around 9 – 12months.

Regularly weighing your baby and plotting the weight on a growth chart will help give you piece of mind if how much you are feeding sufficient. Using growth charts from your hospital, clinic sister, or theDepartment of Health Road to Heath booklet, plot your baby’s weight gain from when you start solids and every 2 weeks thereafter until you are comfortable that baby is gaining enough weight.

Watch the direction of the growth curve, regardless of which percentile on the chart your baby is on. If the curve is increasing, this is a good sign of adequate weight gain from eating enough solids and milk. If the curve starts to flatten, this tells us that baby is not gaining enough weight and will need to be offered either bigger portions, more snacks in the day – try making some delicious Squish snack-time recipes. If you need to sneak in more energy in their meals; drizzle main meals with healthy fats like olive oil or avocado oil, or try one of the Squish 100% fruit and veg purees with yoghurt purees. If the curve drops and your baby is losing weight, please contact your healthcare professional immediately.

For a convenient way to get your baby or child to enjoy fruit and veg, why not try Squish?

Squish offers a range of 100% fruit and veg purees and pressed 100% fruit and veg juices. The convenient pouches are well-loved amongst mommies and are perfect for baby from the first introduction of solids, right through the weaning process - from babies to toddlers and beyond. Squish provides delicious tasting convenience, whether at home or on the go, and is preservative free, colourant free and flavourant free with no added starch.

Squish 100% fruit and veg puree and juice flavours give parents a broader range of taste options for even the fussiest of eaters, right from the first introduction of solids through to a full meal, or tasty snack.

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