Age-by-age guide to feeding your baby

Feed your Baby

Use this guide to find out what and how much to feed your child at every stage of development from birth to 12 months. Don’t worry if your child eats more or less than the amounts listed – they’re only meant as rough guidelines.

You don’t have to introduce foods to your child in any particular order. If you want to give your baby a taste of tofu at age 6 months, go ahead, even though it’s not listed on our chart until age 8 months.

It was once considered important to wait until age 1 or even age 3 before introducing highly allergenic foods like eggs, fish, and peanuts. While experts now believe that postponing these foods doesn’t prevent food allergies, many pediatricians still recommend delaying or waiting to introduce them – especially for children with eczema or with a family history of allergies. However you choose to introduce new foods, discuss your decision with your child’s doctor first.

Age: Birth to 4 months

Feeding behavior

  • Rooting reflex helps your baby turn toward a nipple to find nourishment

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula ONLY

Age: 4 to 6 months

Signs of readiness for solid food

Your baby probably won’t do all these things – they’re just clues to watch for.

  • Can hold head up
  • Sits well in highchair
  • Makes chewing motions
  • Shows significant weight gain (birth weight has doubled)
  • Shows interest in food
  • Can close mouth around a spoon
  • Can move food from front to back of mouth
  • Can move tongue back and forth, but is losing tendency to push food out with tongue
  • Seems hungry after 8 to 10 feedings of breast milk or 40 oz. of formula in a day
  • Is teething

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula, PLUS
  • Pureed food (like sweet potatoes, squash, apples, bananas, peaches, or pears) or semi-liquid iron-fortified cereal

How much per day

  • Begin with about 1 teaspoon pureed food or cereal. Mix cereal with 4 to 5 teaspoons breast milk or formula (it’ll be very runny).
  • Increase to 1 tablespoon of pureed food, or 1 tablespoon of cereal mixed with breast milk or formula, twice a day. If giving cereal, gradually thicken the consistency by using less liquid.

Feeding tips

  • If your baby won’t eat the cereal on the first try, offer it again in a few days.

Age: 6 to 8 months

Signs of readiness for solid food

  • Same as 4 to 6 months

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula, PLUS
  • Iron-fortified cereals (rice, barley, oats)
  • Pureed or strained fruits (banana, pears, applesauce, peaches)
  • Pureed or strained vegetables (avocado, well-cooked carrots, squash, and sweet potato)
  • Pureed meat (chicken, pork, beef)
  • Pureed tofu
  • Pureed legumes (black beans, chickpeas, edamame, fava beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, and kidney beans)

How much per day

  • 3 to 9 tablespoons cereal, in 2 to 3 feedings
  • 1 teaspoon fruit, gradually increased to 1/4 to 1/2 cup in 2 to 3 feedings
  • 1 teaspoon vegetables, gradually increased to 1/4 to 1/2 cup in 2 to 3 feedings

Feeding tips

  • Introduce new foods one at a time, with at least three days in between to make sure your baby’s not allergic.

Age: 8 to 10 months

Signs of readiness for solid and finger foods

  • Same as 6 to 8 months, PLUS
  • Picks up objects with thumb and forefinger (pincer grasp)
  • Can transfer items from one hand to the other
  • Puts everything in his mouth
  • Moves jaw in a chewing motion

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula, PLUS
  • Small amounts of soft pasteurized cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese (but no cows’ milk until age 1)
  • Iron-fortified cereals (rice, barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals)
  • Mashed fruits and vegetables (bananas, peaches, pears, avocados, cooked carrots, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes)
  • Finger foods (lightly toasted bagels, cut up; small pieces of ripe banana; well-cooked spiral pasta; teething crackers; low-sugar O-shaped cereal)
  • Small amounts of protein (egg, pureed meats, poultry, and boneless fish; tofu; well-cooked and mashed beans with soft skins like lentils, split peas, pintos, black beans)

How much per day

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup dairy (or 1/2 oz. cheese)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup iron-fortified cereal
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fruit
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetables
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup protein foods

Feeding tip

  • Introduce new foods one at a time, with at least three days in between to make sure your baby’s not allergic.

Age: 10 to 12 months

Signs of readiness for additional solid food

  • Same as 8 to 10 months, PLUS
  • Swallows food more easily
  • Has more teeth
  • No longer pushes food out with tongue
  • Is trying to use a spoon

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula PLUS
  • Soft pasteurized cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese (but no cows’ milk until age 1)
  • Iron-fortified cereals (rice, barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals)
  • Fruit cut into cubes or strips, or mashed
  • Bite-size, soft-cooked vegetables (peas, carrots)
  • Combo foods (macaroni and cheese, casseroles)
  • Protein (egg; pureed or finely ground meats, poultry, and boneless fish; tofu; well-cooked and mashed beans)
  • Finger foods (lightly toasted bread or bagels, small pieces of ripe banana, spiral pasta, teething crackers, low-sugar O-shaped cereal)

How much per day

  • 1/3 cup dairy (or 1/2 oz. cheese)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup iron-fortified cereal
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fruit
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetables
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup combo foods
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup protein foods

Feeding tip

  • Introduce new foods one at a time, with at least three days in between to make sure your baby’s not allergic.
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