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How Much and How Often To Feed

From 6 to 12 months old, breast milk and/or infant formula is still the main source of nutrition for your child, but solid foods will gradually begin to make up a bigger part of his or her diet. As you begin to give food to your child, it can be hard to know how much to give him or her to eat. Children’s bellies are small and cannot hold a lot of food. Here are things to keep in mind:

  • Start small. Give 1 or 2 tablespoons of food, and watch for signs that he or she is still hungry or full.
  • Balance. Solid foods are introduced over time and will gradually become a bigger part of his or her diet.
  • Feeding. Give your child something to eat or drink about every 2 to 3 hours, or about 5 or 6 times a day. This will give your child about 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks every day.

As your child gets older, he or she may eat different amounts of food each day. This is normal. Beginning around 12 months old, your child grows more slowly than when he or she was younger. Your child may even go a couple of days without eating much at all. Over the course of a week your child should get all of the foods and nutrients he or she needs.

Visit the American Academy of Pediatrics for examples of serving sizes for your child.

If you are worried about how much or how frequently your child is eating, talk to your child’s doctor or nurse.

Did You Know?

A mother interacting with her 6 month old daughter as she feeds her a banana.

Your child needs a feeding routine.

Regular mealtimes and snack times can give your child a routine. Avoid letting your child continuously eat or drink during the day.

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