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General feeding schedules

When to feed your baby the first year (breastmilk or iron-fortified formula)

  • 0 to 4 months: 5 to 10 feedings
  • 4 to 6 months: four to seven feedings
  • 6 to 8 months: four to five feedings
  • 8 to 10 months: four to five feedings
  • 10 to 12 months: three to four feedings

When to give your baby solid foods

You can give your baby solid food when he is between 4 to 6 months old after you talk with your health care provider. The schedule is as follows:

  • Start with a one-grain cereal, such as infact rice cereal.
  • Introduce one new food.
  • In three days, introduce another new food.
  • Within two to three months, your baby should get breastmilk or formula, cereal, vegetables and fruits every day.
  • You can introduce meat and other proteins after you talk with your health care provider.

Waiting three days between new foods will let you see if your baby has a food allergy. The new foods will also create different-colored stools. You only need to call your health care provider if you see blood in the diaper or if your baby is in pain while having a bowel movement.

When to give your baby cereals and bread

  • 0 to 4 months: none
  • 4 to 6 months: 2 to 3 tablespoons of iron-fortified boxed cereal (oatmeal, rice or barley) mixed with formula, water or breast milk (for spoon feeding)
  • 6 to 8 months: 4 to 6 tablespoons of all types of boxed infant cereal except cereal with honey
  • 8 to 10 months: 6 to 8 tablespoons of infant cereals, toast, bagel or crackers
  • 10 to 12 months: 6 to 8 tablespoons of infant or cooked cereal or unsweetened dry cereal, bread, rice noodles or crackers

Tip

Research shows that babies who drink large quantities of juice often are overweight as toddlers.

When to give your baby fruit juices

Your baby does not need juice. Real fruit is better when your baby is at least 6 months old.

  • Do not give juice to your baby before 6 months old.
  • If you choose to give your baby juice after 6 months, do not give more than 2 to 4 ounces each day.

When to give your baby vegetables

  • 0 to 4 months: none
  • 4 to 6 months: talk with your health care provider
  • 6 to 8 months: up to 3 to 4 tablespoons of strained or mashed vegetables that are dark yellow, orange or green. Don't give your baby tomatoes.
  • 8 to 10 months: 4 to 7 tablespoons of cooked, mashed vegetables. You can give tomatoes at this age.
  • 10 to 12 months: 6 to 8 tablespoons of cooked vegetable pieces and some soft vegetables. Be sure to cut up all vegetables into small pieces due to choking risk.

When to give your baby fruits

  • 0 to 4 months: none
  • 4 to 6 months: talk with your health care provider
  • 6 to 8 months: up to 3 to 4 tablespoons of fresh or cooked fruits such as banana, applesauce or strained fruits. Don't give your baby oranges.
  • 8 to 10 months: 5 to 7 tablespoons of strained or peeled soft fruit pieces such as bananas, peaches, pears, apples or oranges. Be sure to cut up all fruits into small pieces due to choking risk.
  • 10 to 12 months: 9 to 12 tablespoons of all fresh fruits (peeled and seeded) and canned fruits packed in water. Don't give your child grapes due to choking risk.

Tip

Fish (including tuna) contains heavy metals. Don't give fish to your baby more than two times a month.

When to give your baby meats and protein

  • 0 to 4 months: none
  • 4 to 6 months: none
  • 6 to 8 months: talk with your health care provider
  • 8 to 10 months: up to 4 to 6 tablespoons of strained, chopped or small pieces of lean meat, chicken and fish, egg yolk, mild cheeses (cut into small pieces), yogurt and cooked dried beans. Do not give your baby whole nuts due to choking risk.
  • 10 to 12 months: 4 to 6 tablespoons of small, tender pieces of chicken, fish, cheese, yogurt or dried beans.

Notes

  • Give your baby only one new food at a time, about two to five days apart.
  • Start with one teaspoon and slowly increase to the amount listed.
  • Talk with your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about feeding your baby.
  • Avoid honey until your child is one year old.
  • Most health care providers recommend avoiding giving children nut products (like peanut butter) until one year old. If your child has a parent or sibling with food allergies, talk with your health care provider whether other foods should be avoided as well.

 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition

To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or she" and "him" or "her."

First published: 02/01/2010
Last updated: 01/01/2014

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic