Many parents wonder just how much and how often they should be feeding their babies during the first year.
While all babies and their needs are unique, most fall into the same eating patterns. Unless your doctor has given you specific instructions, the following guidelines can be used as a reference for how much and how often you should be feeding your baby during the first year.
Breastfeeding During the First Year
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. After that, breastfeeding with the addition of solid food is recommended through the first year. At first, your baby may nurse for 10 minutes or more on each breast per feeding. On average, during the first month, your baby may nurse 8-12 times during a 24 hour period. From 1-2 months, your baby may nurse 7-10 times per 24 hour period. From 2-4 months, 6-9 times and from 4-6 months and on, 6-8 times per 24 hour period.
Formula Feeding During the First Year
On average, babies eat about 2- 2.5 ounces of iron fortified infant formula per pound of weight per day. At 1-2 weeks, most babies drink 2-3 ounces per feeding and eat 6-10 times per 24 hour period. At 2-4 weeks, most babies drink about 3-4 ounces per feeding and eat 6-8 times per 24 hour period. At 1-2 months, most babies drink about 4-5 ounces per feeding and eat 5-6 times per day. At 2-3 months, 5-6 ounces per feeding, 5-6 times per day, at 3-4 months, 6-7 ounces per feeding, 4-5 times per day, at 4-7 months, 7-8 ounces per feeding, 4-5 times per day, at 7-9 months, 7-8 ounces per feeding, 3-4 times per day and 9-12 months, 7-8 ounces per feeding, 3 times per day.
Introducing Solid Foods
Between 4 to 6 months, most babies are ready to eat solid food, however there’s a growing trend among the medical community to wait until 6 months before introducing solid foods. Single grain rice cereal is usually the first food to be introduced, followed by vegetables and fruits. Start off by feeding your baby just a few small spoonfuls twice a day of the same food. Wait a few days before introducing a new food to be sure you detect any allergies or intolerances.
When feeding your baby during the first year, the bottom line is that as long as your baby is gaining weight and is having wet and soiled diapers regularly, your baby is likely eating enough.