How Much Should My Baby Eat?

November 30, 2020

measuring baby formula powder with spoon looking from above

Image: How much to feed a baby can vary depending on whether they are breastfeeding or using formula

There’s no doubt, being a first-time parent can be stressful. With so many new things to consider; knowing if your baby is eating enough is just one of the many concerns you might have. You’ll often hear experts (including parents!) say that newborns will typically have feedings every 2-3 hours. But, how much per feeding? And how does this change as they get older? In this month’s blog, our goal is to simplify the guidelines on how much to feed your baby, starting from birth to 12-months-old.

It’s important to maintain the division of responsibility when feeding: the caregiver is responsible for what to eat (offering appropriate variety and textures) and the child is responsible for deciding whether to eat and how much. Introducing a baby to solids too early (younger than 4 months old) risks the baby getting less breast milk/formula; therefore, decreasing receiving optimal benefits such as protection against infection. Starting your baby on solids too early may also result in poor feeding experiences and/or increased weight gain in both infancy and early childhood. For further reading on this topic, see our June 2020 blog on What is Responsive Feeding?


Individual food portion sizes in measuring cups for feeding babyImage: Measuring food portions is an easy way to monitor what you’re feeding your baby and how much

Feeding Guide for Baby’s First Year
The following is a helpful guide to break down feeding amounts and frequency by age. 
Here’s a quick and helpful conversion table:

Cup Ounces Tbsp  tsp
1/4 cup 2 oz 4 Tbsp 12 tsp
1/2 cup 4 oz 8 Tbsp 24 tsp
1 cup 8 oz 16 Tbsp 48 tsp


Newborn
Breastmilk: ~ 2-3 hours, 1-2oz/feeding
Formula: ~ 3-4 hours; 2-3oz/feeding                 

2 Months
Breastmilk: ~3-4 hours; 4-5oz/feeding
Formula: ~3-4 hours; 4-5 oz/feeding

3-5 Months
Breastmilk: ~4-5 hours; 4-7oz/feeding
Formula: ~4-5 hours; 4-7oz/feeding
Note: complementary feeding usually begins around 6 months                                                                

6-8 Months
Breastmilk: ~3-4 hours; 4-8oz/feeding
Formula: 3-4 hours; 4-8oz/feeding
Meals: offer ~2 meals/day
Sample Lunch: 1 tbsp cooked veggies, 1tbsp shredded cheese, ½ piece of sliced toast
Note: roughly 1/5 of daily food intake will come from complementary foods

9-12 months
Breastmilk: ~4-5 hours; 4-6 oz/feeding
Formula: ~4-5 hours; 4-6 oz/feeding
Meals: offer 2-3 meals and 1-2 snacks/day
Sample Lunch: ¼ - ½ cup of fruit; 1 egg cooked and chopped; ¼ cup of rice
Note: roughly ½ of daily food intake will come from complementary foods

12 months
Continue to follow your child’s cues for breastfeeding
Offer: 3 meals and 2 snacks/day
Goal/day: 3 oz grains, 1 cup fruits and veggies, 2 oz proteins
Sample Lunch: ¼ cup fruit; 1 oz thinly sliced meat; ½ slice of toast

[i] [ii] [iii] [iv] [v] [vi]

Have you missed one of our blogs?
For more information on first foods and feeding considerations, we encourage you to explore additional topics in our Hello Mama! blog series:
When Should Babies Start Eating Solids?
Why Does my Baby Need a Vitamin D Supplement?
Pros and Cons of Homemade Baby Food
Eating a Rainbow of Foods: Why this is Important
The Importance of Texture in Your Baby’s Diet

mom and baby biting into the same apple face to faceImage: Encourage healthy food choices by sharing these foods with your children!

Tidbit for Your Tiny One
Research suggests that if you want to encourage healthy eating patterns, it is important to model that behaviour. There is a correlation of parental eating habits and children’s eating behaviours. Children like to imitate their parents so we need to be mindful of what we are eating, especially during the first stages of complementary feeding, as this critical period lays the foundation of lifelong healthy habits. [vii] 

In baby’s first cookbook (age ~6 months), we introduced “Q is for Questions”—first-time parents might wonder about when introducing their baby to possible first foods. Next in the series, Recipes for Growing Me ~9-months introduces food textures, while highlighting food portions and the sources they come from. 

page from Recipes for Growing Me ~9 months, Q is for QuestionsQ is for...questions
Here’s an important question
That so many people wonder
How much complementary food
Is required for my hunger?
From 6 to 8 months old
One-fifth should come from
complementary feedings
Then by 9 to 12 months old
One-half will keep me seeding

We hope we’ve contributed something beneficial to your diet, and remember…don’t hog the blog!
Share it with new moms today!


Have a bloomin’ day,
Sarah & Karen

— 
P.S. Want to learn more from the first cookbook in our series? Order today and save 15% off! Use code: BLOGHOG. Say hello on Facebook or follow us on Instagram. Are you reading our newsletter for the first time? Subscribe and receive a complimentary digital download of our Love Me Forever Digital Print to frame for baby’s room.

Bibliography:  

[i] Parents. (2020). Baby feeding chart for the first year. https://www.parents.com/baby/feeding/solid-foods/feeding-portions-menu/

[ii] Parents (2020). How much and when to feed baby. https://www.parents.com/baby/feeding/how-much-and-when-to-feed-baby/

[iii] Government of Canada, (2015). Nutrition for healthy term infants: Recommendations from 6 to 24 months. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canada-food-guide/resources/infant-feeding/nutrition-healthy-term-infants-recommendations-birth-six-months/6-24-months.html

[iv] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2018). How much and how often to breastfeed. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/InfantandToddlerNutrition/breastfeeding/how-much-and-how-often.html

[v] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2018). How much and how often to feed infant formula. https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/formula-feeding/how-much-how-often.html

[vi] John Hopkins Medicine, (2020). Feeding guide for the first year. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/feeding-guide-for-the-first-year

[vii] Hart, C., Raynor, H.A., Jelallian, E., Drotar, D., (2010). The association of maternal food intake and infants’ and toddlers’ food intake. Child: care, health and development. Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 36, 3, 396-403. 




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