How much should I be feeding my baby?
Goldie Laporte is the manager of the Child Development Center at Cardon Children’s Medical Center
Question: How much should I be feeding my baby?
Answer: The following sentence may just blow your mind. Babies have small tummies. I’ll give you a minute to recover.
OK, most people probably know that. But a lot of parents have questions when it comes to feeding their babies, and rightly so.
Once babies hit six months, they usually start to eat solids, and it’s hard to know how much is too much. Luckily, there are a lot of resources to help guide parents as their child grows.
For instance, The National Dairy Council published a guide for the first two years of life called, “Airplane, Choo-Choo and other games parents play.” The guide spells out how much children should be eating at various stages in life, from 0-4 months, 4-6 months, 6-8 months, 8-12 months and 12-24 months. Your pediatrician should also have specific milestones for eating and development in your child.
Some highlights from the guide include:
- How to know when your baby is ready for solid food. It’s not just their age. You should also look for whether he can hold his head up, sit up without support, he acts hungry between feedings and shows interest in food when you eat.
- How to add baby cereal. Start with rice cereal to avoid most allergy problems. Start with small portions to one meal then add to other meals throughout the day.
- Let your baby drink water when he starts to eat solid foods.
- Wait to feed your baby honey until he turns one year old. Babies can get very sick from bacteria that may be in honey.
Remember, babies will naturally stop eating when they feel full. If you insist on forcing them to eat more, they will overeat to please you.
Pay attention to your baby’s signals and let him dictate how much to eat. You can be in charge of what he eats: children will eat what you give them and follow your example.
If you’re buying chips and soda, your children will likely choose that over healthier options. If you’re looking for a fun way to incorporate nutrition and fitness into your kids’ routine this summer, check out the Cardon Children’s Medical Center Fit Kid Challenge – a free program that rewards kids for making healthy choices.
And yes, babies’ tummies are small! They are about the size of their fists. They get full quickly, and require small, frequent meals throughout the day. Sometimes portions are as small as half an ounce or even a tablespoon, depending on the food. Use a reliable guide or advice from your health professional if you have questions.
Cardon Children’s Medical Center offers the “Pregnancy, Parenting and Play” program for new and expecting parents. To learn more about this program, call (480) 412-3410