How much should a 6 month old baby eat?
If your baby has reached the six month milestone he or she may be ready to start solid food. Babies begin eating small amounts of rice or oatmeal baby cereal in addition to the regular amount of formula or breastfeeding sessions. Offer solids after formula or breast milk because fruits and vegetables do not contain enough calories and fat to replace milk feedings.
Formula or Breast Milk
Breast milk or formula will still be the main source of a baby’s nutrition until the end of the first year. A 6 month old baby needs approximately 24 to 32 ounces of formula or 8 to 10 feedings per day. Milk should be the main course with small amounts of fruits, vegetables and cereals added for flavor and texture.
Rice or Grain Cereal
Iron-fortified cereals are introduced at six months because a baby’s natural iron reserves begin depleting at this age. Offer cereals at the morning feeding to see how your baby takes to it. When he seems ready, add an additional cereal feeding in the afternoon or evening. A serving size is two tablespoons mixed with five tablespoons formula, breast milk or water. These amounts are adjusted over time according to your baby’s appetite. Contrary to popular belief, feeding a baby cereal before six months of age does not make them sleep through the night. A baby’s sleeping pattern will adjust over time and cannot be rushed.
Fruits and vegetables are introduced one at a time to monitor the baby for food allergies. You should wait two to three days when offering a new food. Fruits like bananas, apples and peaches should be introduced after vegetables to avoid the baby developing a preference for sweet foods. A serving of fruit or vegetables is two to three tablespoons. This amount is increased as the baby’s appetite increases.
Vegetables such as peas, green beans and sweet potatoes are the least likely foods to cause allergic reactions. Corn and mixed vegetables should be reserved for a later time. Single fruits, vegetables and cereals should be offered first to make sure that baby has no allergic reactions. Mixed fruits and vegetables make it difficult to determine which one is causing the problem.
A 6 month old baby will eat more or less than the amounts indicated here. Do not worry about following these guidelines exactly as every baby is different and will develop his or her own patterns of eating. As long as the baby is healthy and is going through 6 to 8 wet or soiled diapers per day there is nothing to worry about.
An example of a typical first feeding:
4 to 6 ounces of formula
2 to 3 tablespoons of fruit or a vegetable
Or 2 to 3 tablespoons of oatmeal or rice cereal
These amounts are approximate based on the recommendations of the American Pediatrics Association. Consult your pediatrician if there are any concerns about your baby’s eating habits.