Feeding a baby can be a challenging task, especially for first-time parents. Knowing what and how much to feed your little one can seem overwhelming, but with a little guidance, you can create a feeding schedule and food chart that works best for your baby’s needs.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the first year of feeding, from breastmilk and formula to introducing solids and creating a meal plan that supports your baby’s growth and development.
Breastmilk and Formula Feeding:
Breastmilk or formula provides all the necessary nutrients for your baby's growth and development during their first six months of life. During the first few weeks, your baby will feed often and not a great deal (as their tummies are really small!). Chances are you’ll be feeding your baby every two to three hours, including at night. This can make you feel like there’s not much difference between days and nights.
As your baby grows, they will need less frequent feedings, but they will still require a specific amount of breastmilk or formula to meet their nutritional needs. A general guideline for formula-fed babies is to provide 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight per day.
It is important to realize that babies rely on milk not just for food but also for hydration. So don’t be surprised if on a particularly hot day, babies might want to feed earlier than their usual schedule. Growth spurts also can result in increased demands for milk, as so much energy is going to the baby's system during this period of growth.
At around six months of age, or when your baby is able to sit upright unaided, your baby will be ready to start eating solid foods. It's important to introduce solids gradually and one at a time to monitor for any potential food allergies or intolerances. Generally we would start with fruit and vegetables and stick with one new food over a period of 2-3 days. We also start usually with just the one meal, probably lunch or breakfast.
The recommended portion size for babies starting solids is about one tablespoon per meal, increasing to two to three tablespoons as your baby gets used to eating solids. You can gradually introduce more foods, textures, and tastes, and by nine months, your baby can be eating three meals a day plus snacks.
Creating a Baby Feeding Schedule:
Creating a feeding schedule for your baby can help establish a routine and ensure they're getting the nutrition they need. Here's a sample feeding schedule for babies six to eight months old (we’re assuming a 3h wake window here). The main idea is always to offer milk before solids as up to the age of one, a baby’s main nutrition source is milk.
Wakeup for the AM (6.30am)Feed milk 30mins on waking (7.00am) 8.00am1h from milk feed, feed Breakfast (if not done, feed lunch)9.30amNap 110.30 amWakeup, feed milk 30mins on waking (11.00am)12.00 pm1h from milk feed, feed Lunch (if fed, breakfast, can skip this)1.30 pmNap 22.30pmWakeup, feed milk 30mins on waking (3.00pm)5.50 pmBedtime routine (feed before put down, bath, story, song)6.30 pmBedtime
It's important to note that every baby is different, and your baby's feeding schedule may not look like this one. You may need to adjust the timing and frequency of feedings based on your baby's needs and preferences.
Feeding your baby can be a daunting task, but with a little knowledge and guidance, you can create a feeding schedule and food chart that supports your baby's growth and development.
Be flexible and adjust your baby's feeding schedule as needed, and consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns or questions about your baby's nutrition.