6 Month Food Schedule For Baby

Over the course of 24 hours, your baby will consume 24 to 36 ounces of breast milk or formula (now that your baby is a more effective nurser, you’ll probably breastfeed her four to six times a day). A daily total of four to nine tablespoons of cereal, fruit, and vegetables, is to be divided evenly among two to three meals.

If you’re like the majority of other parents, you’re probably thrilled that your child has reached the age range of 6 to 9 months old. Not only are they probably sleeping through the night, allowing you to get some much-needed rest, but they also probably have a more predictable nap schedule. This will give you some much-needed rest. In addition, infants of this age are starting to figure out how to sit up on their own and are becoming significantly more receptive to the guidance of the adults in their lives.

In addition to that, their diets go through some interesting transitions at this age as well, which can be very exciting to watch. Around the age of six months, infants can begin to transition to eating solid foods, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Even though this age is just a general guideline, there are certain developmental milestones, such as being able to sit up well without support, that need to be accomplished before starting solid foods.

When giving your child their first taste of solid food, it is important to start off slowly and pay attention to what they are telling you. It is essential that you make space for your baby to practice self-feeding, which entails letting them experiment with picking up the spoon and feeding themselves. It is important to allow for self-feeding as part of the process of developing eating autonomy; however, if the individual does not yet have the necessary coordination skills, you may need to assist them. At this point in their development, your child will benefit from the following additional guidelines regarding how they should be fed.

Feeding schedule at 6 months by food source

A parent feeds a puree to a six-month old baby in accordance with a 6 month old feeding schedule.
When a baby reaches 6 months of age, purees and other solid foods can usually become part of their diet.

Babies typically need to eat every 2–3 hours, five to six times during the dayTrusted Source.

It is normal for a baby’s schedule to change from day to day, or for babies to eat different amounts of food each day.

Caregivers can follow a baby’s cues, even if they have established a schedule already. A parent or caregiver does not need to deny food to a baby just because it has already eaten.

Introducing solids

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advise that parents exclusively breastfeed infants for about 6 months if possible. By the time a baby hits their half birthday, they may be ready to try solids.

A baby may be ready for solids at 6 months if:

  • they have good head control
  • they can hold their head up for extended periods
  • they can sit up with no or very little assistance
  • they no longer have the tongue thrust reflect to push food out of the mouth with the tongue
  • they show interest at mealtime and lean toward food if a caregiver offers it

At this age, breast milk or formula is still a baby’s most important form of nutrition and solids are an addition.

Not all 6-month-olds are ready for solids. If a baby shows no interest, a caregiver can wait a few weeks and try again.

Giving a baby 1–2 tablespoons of iron fortified cereal or fruit or vegetable purees per feeding can be a good place to start.

Gradually increasing this as the baby’s interest and appetite increase can follow.

To ensure a baby eats sufficient food, the adult can breastfeed or give a bottle before offering solids.

Caregivers can give solid food as a supplement each time they nurse the baby or give a bottle. Or, they can include the baby in family meals by giving solids at mealtime.

At 6 months of age, when an infant may begin to want solids, a caregiver can offer these just once per day.

Choosing a time of day when the caregiver is relaxed and not pressed for time, and the baby is not overly hungry, fussy, or tired often works best.

Once a baby is enjoying their once-a-day solids, the frequency can increase to two and then three times a day.

There is no “right” schedule, but caregivers should plan to increase the number of solids babies get gradually.

At 6 months, the goal is not to introduce new foods and eating habits. Similarly, there is no need to force a baby to eat solids or restrict new food if a baby indicates they want more.

Regardless of their size and eating habits, babies need access to an expanding variety of solid foods.

Most babies will need to try new foods several times before they feel comfortable eating them. It is fine to let a child eat at their own pace, in the way that feels right to them.

It is acceptable at this age for a baby to play with their food since this is a way of exploring new things.

Breast milk and formula

Breast milk or formula remains the most important food at 6 months of age. The easiest way to ensure a baby eats enough is to nurse or formula feed them on demand when they show signs of hunger.

Research supports the value of feeding on demand.

A longitudinal studyTrusted Source of 10,419 children found better academic achievement and a four-point Intelligent Quotient (IQ) advantage at 8 years old among children whose caregivers fed them on demand.

However, the caregivers of these children got less sleep and had lower overall well-being.

These results may point to adults finding a happy medium, such as steadily shaping the baby’s preferred schedule into one that works for them.

In general, caregivers should plan to breastfeed babies 3 to 5 times per day, and sometimes more. However, babies vary greatly and every 3–4 hours is common, which can amount to up to eight times in 24 hours.

Some babies prefer cluster feedings, during which they nurse several times in a short period. Growing or sick babies may also nurse more frequently.

If a baby has formula, giving 24–32 ounces of iron fortified formula spread over five or six feeds per day is typical. While some babies sleep through the night at 6 months, others will still wake or want to feed.

A nighttime “dream feed” around the time caregivers retire for the evening may help babies sleep longer.

Other liquids

Babies do not need juice at 6 months. The extra calories can decrease a baby’s appetite, and the sugar may damage a child’s developing teeth. Soda and other drinks are not healthful for babies.

Babies can have water beginning at 6 months, or when caregivers introduce solids, whichever is later. Introducing a cup of water along with solid meals may be helpful.

Working a feeding schedule around naps

Around 6 months old, some babies begin transitioning from three or four daily naps to two. The baby might take a midmorning nap and a midafternoon nap. At this age, most babies need 12–15 hours of sleep per day, and naps usually last 1–3 hours.

Caregivers are best finding a schedule that works for them and the child. Some children are used to falling asleep by nursing or with a bottle. Others happily doze off on their own.

A caregiver can follow the baby’s cues and work to adapt their needs to the family’s schedule slowly.

These feeding tips may help:

  • Babies may be hungrier after waking from a long nap. This can be a good time to try solids after offering formula or breast milk to ease their initial hunger.
  • There is no evidenceTrusted Source that adding cereal to a bottle helps babies sleep longer. Doing so can increase their risk of choking.
  • Babies must never have food without close supervision. nor have solids, even very thin purees, in bed.

Summary

Deciding what, when, and how to feed a baby can be challenging, especially during the transition to solids. As long as babies get regular breast milk or formula, caregivers do not need to rush the transition to solids or worry that babies are not eating enough.

Some babies take longer than others to embrace solids, while some will eagerly eat anything. The right schedule is one that works for the baby and family. This schedule may change over time which is also fine.

How Many Times A Day Should I Feed Solids To My 6 Month Old?

The sixth month of a baby’s life marks an important transition, as this is the age at which many infants are ready to begin trying solid foods for the first time.

Even though breast milk or formula should still make up the bulk of a 6-month-diet, old’s some caregivers find that a child’s feeding schedule shifts once they start consuming solid foods like purees and other foods. Breast milk or formula should still make up the bulk of a child’s diet.

What Does Baby Need When They Are 6-9 Months Old

At the 6 month mark, your baby has likely developed the ability to hold their head up, sit up unassisted, has lost the tongue thrust reflex, and can grasp items and bring them to their mouth and can begin eating solid foods. Keep in mind, though, that breast milk or formula is still their primary source of nutrition. Even if you notice your baby seems less interested in nursing or taking a bottle, you should not cut back on their feeding sessions at this age.

Babies this age should be taking about 6 to 8 ounces of formula or expressed milk around 5 to 7 times a day or nursing about every 3 to 4 hours during the day. All in all, they should still be consuming around 24 to 36 ounces of breastmilk or formula daily.

You also may notice that as your baby becomes more mobile that they may seem to want to eat more frequently. This is completely normal and may mean your baby will be eager for solid foods when you offer them, but remember that every baby is different.

As your baby becomes more proficient at feeding themselves solids, their relationship with nursing or bottle feeding may begin to change. But, it is important to remember that they should still be offered breastmilk on demand or offered formula on their same schedule. While solid foods are important to providing vital sensory experiences in these earlier months, your baby’s primary nutrient source is still either human milk or formula.

How Much Food Does a Baby at 6-9 Months Old Need

When you start introducing solids, it’s best to start out slow and follow your baby’s lead. Offering a large bowl of puree can feel overwhelming to a new eater. For instance, you may want to start with just a tablespoon or two of puree or cereal mixed with breast milk or formula preloaded into two to three spoons and work your way up from there.

Much of your baby’s first food exposures will be about touching the food, smelling it, and maybe even getting some into their mouth. Exposure to the texture, smell, and experience of eating are very important.

At this age, there is a lot of variation on how much solid food your baby will eat, says Danielle Roberts, MD, a pediatrician in Zanesville, Ohio. You also don’t need to worry about offering water from a hydration standpoint because the formula or breast milk they are drinking will keep them hydrated.

However, offering 1 to 2 ounces of water in a small, open cup along with meals is a great way to allow baby to practice hand to mouth coordination. They also get to practice the skill of drinking out of an open cup, which they will need to be able to do much more of after the age of 1.

How Much a 6 to 9-Month-Old Eats

  • 24 to 36 ounces of formula or breast milk; now that your baby’s a more efficient nurser, you’ll probably breastfeed 4 to 6 times a day
  • 4 to 9 tablespoons of cereal, fruit, and vegetables a day, spread out over two to three meals
  • 1 to 6 tablespoons of meat or another protein (like pureed meat or tofu or a scrambled egg) a day

Remember that these amounts are general guidelines. Be careful not to force your baby to eat but instead follow their cues.

Baby Feeding Goals for 6-9 Month Olds

When it comes to introducing your baby’s first solid foods, make sure you allow your baby to do their own feeding. While this is messier in the beginning it can provide your baby with a connection to their body and a sense of having that connection respected can last them into adulthood.

Adding solids is more of a developmental milestone that allows your baby to use their oral skills to take food off the spoon and learn to swallow foods with a thicker consistency. Make sure to talk with your child’s doctor to ensure your baby is ready for this next step.

— DANIELLE ROBERTS, MD

If your child’s doctor gives the green light for introducing solids, those first foods are often left up to you, as long as they are developmentally appropriate. Some parents choose to buy pre-made baby food while others choose to make their own baby food. Others opt to serve their baby an unsalted (and well cooked) version of whatever they are eating.

Regardless of your decision, make sure you choose foods that are extremely soft or pureed to prevent choking. You also should never leave an infant unattended while eating.

In the past, healthcare professionals advised parents to introduce one “single-ingredient” food at a time every 3 to 5 days and watch for reactions. However, this is no longer the most widespread advice as it very much limits the foods a baby can be exposed to.

During this 6 to 12 month period, they may be more open to trying a variety of foods. Feel free to offer dairy, soy, egg, peanut butter, and other high-allergen foods because there’s no evidence that waiting will prevent food allergies.1If you child is at high risk for food allergies due to a family history or has eczema, then talk to a healthcare professional first.

You also can offer fruit or vegetables in any order because there is no evidence that babies will dislike vegetables if the fruit is given first. And, include foods that have protein, iron, and zinc such as beef, lamb, liver, lentils, and beans .1

“When parents ask me what their infants can eat, I like to tell them that anything they [the parents] can put in their own mouths and use their tongues without their teeth is safe for their infant to eat,” Dr. Roberts says.

A common test to see if the texture of a food is safe is to very gently press the food between your thumb and pointer finger. If you can easily smash the food, it is the right texture.

How Much a Baby 6 to 9 Months Needs Per Day
AgeFormulaExpressed Milk Breastfeeding Cereals/Fruits/VeggiesProteins
6 mos24 to 36 oz24 to 36 oz Nurse 6 times a day2 to 4 Tablespoons1 to 2 Tablespoons
7  24 to 3624 to 36 Nurse 6 times a day 3 to 5  1 to 3
8  24 to 36  24 to 36 Nurse 6 times a day 4 to 71 to 4
924 to 3624 to 36  Nurse 6 times a day 4 to 91 to 6

Sample Baby Feeding Schedules

Although every baby is different, it can be helpful to have a sample feeding schedule as a guide for how much and how often a typical 6 to 9 month old will eat. Remember that a baby’s flavor preferences and appetite may go through changes that deviate from this schedule.

In addition, you can combine fruits and vegetables in a single meal or deviate from the suggested offerings to meet your baby’s preferences. If you want support in introducing foods, consider working with a dietitian that specializes in feeding infants and toddlers.

9 Month Old Breastfed Baby

  • 7 a.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts
  • 7:30 a.m. — 2 to 4 tablespoons of cereal mixed with breast milk or formula
  • 9:30 a.m. — Morning nap (baby may nurse before nap)
  • 11:30 a.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts
  • 12 p.m. — Offer a vegetable or fruit option
  • 2 p.m. — Afternoon nap (baby may nurse before nap)
  • 4 p.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts
  • 5:30 p.m. — Offer a protein option
  • 7 p.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts

9 Month Old Formula-Fed Baby

  • 7 a.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of formula
  • 7:30 a.m. — 2 to 4 tablespoons of cereal mixed with formula
  • 9:30 a.m. — Morning nap (baby may take 2 to 4 ounces of formula before nap)
  • 11:30 a.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of formula
  • 12 p.m. — Offer a vegetable or fruit option
  • 2 p.m. — Afternoon nap (baby may take 2 to 4 ounces of formula before nap)
  • 4 p.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of formula
  • 5:30 p.m. — Offer a protein option
  • 7 p.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of formula

9 Month Old Combination-Fed Baby

  • 7 a.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts
  • 7:30 a.m. — 2 to 4 tablespoons of cereal mixed with breast milk or formula
  • 9:30 a.m. — Morning nap (baby may take 2 to 4 ounces of formula or expressed milk)
  • 11:30 a.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of expressed milk or formula
  • 12 p.m. — Offer a vegetable or fruit option
  • 2 p.m. — Afternoon nap (baby may take 2 to 4 ounces of formula or expressed milk)
  • 4 p.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of breast milk or formula
  • 5:30 p.m. — Offer a protein option
  • 7 p.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts

How to Know if Your Baby Is Getting Enough to Eat

At this age, your baby is pretty good about letting you know when they have had enough to eat. However, make sure you continue to follow through with your well-visits. Your pediatrician will continue to monitor your baby’s weight and growth and can alert you to any issues. You also should ensure that you continue to breastfeed or give your baby a bottle on a consistent basis.

“Keep in mind that babies this age need about 80kcal/kg/day or or 36 kilocalories per pound of weight per day,” Dr. Roberts says. “At this age, some infants won’t increase their milk intake but rather eat more when cereal and soft or pureed table foods are added to their diet.”

Feeding your baby solid foods can be a fun experience especially because you get to see which foods your baby likes and which foods they don’t care for. And, the faces they make during the process are to die for.

Because babies this age cannot let you know if they are hungry or if they have had enough, some parents teach them how to use sign language. For instance, they might teach them how to signal “more,” “finished,” and “milk.”

This way, your baby can let you know when they have had enough or if they would like to have more. This is also why it is important to let your baby hold the spoon or feed themself with their hands.

There also are some cues you can watch for while feeding them as well. According to the AAP, your baby will open their mouth and lean toward the food. They also will get excited when they see food as well as focus on and follow the food with their eyes.2

If you do choose to spoon food into your baby’s mouth, it is extremely important that you pay close attention to their feeding cues to know when they have had enough. When they are full, you may notice that your baby spits out the food or pushes it away.

Babies who have had enough also will fidget in their seats and look away while you’re trying to feed them. Other telltale signs your baby has had enough include closing their mouth when you offer food, turning their head away from the food, and playing with their food.2 Do not force your baby to eat more food after you have seen these cues.

A Word From Verywell

As you begin introducing solids into your baby’s diet, try to relax and have fun with it as much as possible. The tone around food and eating should be one of less stress so that your baby does not associate stress with eating and meals.

There is no right or wrong way to feed your baby their first solid foods as long as you’re going slow and being mindful of your baby’s autonomy, and hunger and fullness cues. You also should be aware of choking hazards.

Your primary goal is to ensure that your baby is still nursing on a regular basis or drinking plenty of expressed breast milk or formula. After that, it’s all up to you. Work with your child’s pediatrician and continue with your well-visits to ensure your baby’s growth is on track.

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