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Baby Feeding Guide from Birth to Two Years

Many parents worry about which foods and the proper amounts to feed their baby. Feeding a baby is demystified with the following baby feeding chart for infants, babies, and toddlers from birth to twenty-four months.

Breast Milk or Formula

Breastfeeding InfantAccording to the World Health Organization, infants under six months old should be fed only breast milk (preferable) or formula. Although breast milk is nutritionally the best food for babies, formula may be used to supplement or in place of breast milk. Avoid feeding your infant any other foods other than breast milk or formula because an infant’s digestive tract is still underdeveloped. Additionally, starting solids too early increases your baby’s chances of developing food allergies or becoming overweight.

  • Birth to 4 Months: From birth to four months, infants need two to four ounces of breast milk or formula per feeding and will need to be fed six to twelve times per day.
  • 4 to 6 Months: From four to six months, infants need twenty-four to thirty-two ounces of breast milk or formula per day spread out into four to six feedings of four to six ounces.
  • 6 to 8 Months: From six to eight months, babies twenty-four to thirty-two ounces of breast milk or formula per day spread out into four to five feedings of five to eight ounces. In addition to breast milk or formula, babies can be introduced to solid foods starting at six months of age.
  • 8 to 10 Months: From eight to ten months, babies need twenty-four to thirty-two ounces of breast milk or formula per day spread out into three to four feedings of six to eight ounces.
  • 10 to 12 Months: From ten to twelve months, babies need twenty to thirty-two ounces of breast milk or formula per day spread out into three to four feedings of five to six ounces.
  • 12 to 24 months: Breastfeeding, but not formula feeding, past twelve months is also recommended. After twelve months, babies need sixteen to twenty-four ounces of breast milk per day spread out into one to four feedings.

Milk and Dairy

Babies who are ten months of age or older can begin drinking milk in addition to breast milk. If formula feeding, switch exclusively from formula to whole milk at around one year.

  • 10 to 12 months: From ten to twelve months, babies can be fed one serving of dairy per day. A serving is equal to half a cup of whole milk yogurt or three-fourth ounces of cheese.
  • 12 to 24 months: Between one and two years, babies can be fed two to three servings of diary per day, which includes half a cup of whole milk.

Cereal and Grains

A teething infant older than six months who can hold his or her head up and can sit up well is ready for the introduction of solids. However, never force your baby to eat. If a child initially refuses solids, try again in a few days.

  • 6 to 8 months: From six to eight months, babies can be fed four or more tablespoons of iron-fortified baby cereal per day.
  • 8 to 12 months: From eight to ten months, babies can be fed four or more tablespoons of iron-fortified baby cereal plus finger foods such as whole grain biscuits, crackers, bread, pasta, and brown rice per day.
  • 12 to 24 months: Between one and two years of age, babies can be fed six or more servings of grains per day. Examples of servings include half a slice of bread, one-fourth cup dry cereal, one-third cup cooked cereal, half a bagel or muffin, and one-third cup of cooked rice or pasta.

Fruits and Vegetables

Also begin introducing fruits and vegetables into the diet at six months of age. Introducing one new fruit or vegetable every couple of days is recommended for the detection of any possible food allergies. Never feed a baby a piece of fruit or vegetable larger than his or her thumbnail to prevent choking.

  • 6 to 8 months: From six to eight months, babies can be fed one teaspoon of strained or pureed vegetables per day working up to four to five tablespoons per day by eight months. Babies can also be fed one teaspoon of strained or pureed fruits per day working up to four to five tablespoons per day by eight months.
  • 8 to 10 months: From eight to ten months, babies can be fed four or more tablespoons of mashed or cooked vegetables and four or more tablespoons of mashed or cooked fruits per day.
  • 10 to 12 months: From ten to twelve months, babies can be fed four to eight tablespoons of vegetables and eight to twelve tablespoons of fruits per day.
  • 12 to 24 months: Between one and two years, babies can be fed three servings of vegetables and two to four servings of fruits per day. A serving equals one-fourth to one-half cup cooked or raw vegetables, one-fourth of a cup of canned fruit, one-half of a cup of fresh fruit, and four ounces of 100% fruit juice.

Meat and Protein

Meats and other protein foods can be introduced at eight months of age. As with fruits and vegetables, introduce each new food one at a time to establish any food allergies.

  • 8 to 10 months: From eight to ten months, babies can be fed one tablespoon of meat or protein such as pureed meats or poultry, cheese cubes, tofu, and egg yolk per day.
  • 10 to 12 months: From ten to twelve months, babies can be fed two to four tablespoons of meat or protein per day.
  • 12 to 24 months: Between one and two years, babies can be fed two to three servings of meat or protein per day. A serving equals two tablespoons of cooked meat, fish, or poultry; one egg; and one-fourth of a cup cooked beans.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not meant to replace the professional medical advice from your pediatrician.

References

Behan, Eileen. 2008. The baby food bible: A complete guide to feeding your child, from infancy on. New York: Ballantine Books.
Shelov, Steven P. 2009. Caring for your baby and young child: Birth to age 5, 5th edn. New York: Bantom Books.
The World Health Organization’s infant feeding recommendation: http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/infantfeeding_recommendation/en/index.html

Images

Breastfeeding an Infant: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Breastfeeding_infant.jpg

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