According to the World Health Organization (WHO), babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. At six months of age, complimentary foods can be introduced with breast milk providing the bulk of nutrition until one year of age. As the saying goes, “Food before one is just for fun.” Breastfeeding should then continue until two years of age or beyond as mutually desired by both the mother and the baby. However, just how much solid food should a baby be eating at each stage of life?
Six to Eight Months
Beginning at six months of age, babies can be fed two to three meals and up to one or two snacks per day. Foods should be mashed with the texture of thick porridge. (Pureed foods are unnecessary at six months of age, and many babies actually prefer foods with thicker textures.) When solid foods are first introduced, begin with two to three tablespoons per feeding. Gradually increase portion sizes up to about half a cup of food per feeding by the end of eight months. Always offer breast milk before offering complimentary foods. Breastfeeding should continue on demand.
Nine to Eleven Months
By nine months, babies can be fed three to four meals and up to one or two snacks per day. Foods should be finely chopped or mashed depending on the skill level and preferences of the baby. Each feeding should consist of no more than one-half cup of food in total. Continue to breastfeed on demand as well as to offer breast milk before offering solid foods.
Twelve to Twenty-Three Months
After one year of age, babies can continue to be fed three to four meals and up to one or two snacks per day. The foods offered can be the same foods as the rest of the family is eating. Depending on the skill level and preference of the child, the foods can be chopped or mashed. Meals should consist of no more than three-fourths of a cup of food in total. Breastfeeding should continue as mutually desired by the mother and the child. For babies who are no longer breastfeeding, additional milk (cow, goat, soy, almond, hemp) can be given to replace the missing breast milk.
For information about the types of foods to feed a baby, check out Baby Feeding Guide from Birth to Two Years.
Up to what age can a baby stay well nourished by just being breastfed?: http://www.who.int/features/qa/21/en/index.html
Amounts of Foods to Offer: http://www.who.int/features/qa/21/en/index.html