Baby feeding: 0 to 12 months

Baby feeding starts with breast milk or bottle until 4-6 months and then more solid foods are introduced, such as porridges, purees and semi-solid foods. From 8 months of age, most babies are able to grab food in their hands and put it in their mouths. Finally, after the age of 12 months, they are usually able to consume the same foods as the rest of the family, which can be included in the family meal table.

The baby needs 6 daily meals: breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and supper. In addition, some babies still feel the need to breastfeed at night, eating another meal. When the baby reaches 1 year of age, only breakfast and supper should contain milk and all other meals should be taken with solid foods, eaten with a spoon.

Order of introduction of foods

The following are indications for a standard diet for babies 0-12 months of age:

Age in months What you can eat Comments
0-6 Breast milk or bottle, 7 times a day, or when the baby wants. A baby who suckles at the breast does not need water, but whoever takes a bottle does.
4-6 Pureed vegetables and tubers. Mixed fruits, crushed or in natural juices without sugar, jam or gelatin. A dessert spoon of olive oil can be included in the soup or puree.It is also possible to expose the baby to allergenic foods to reduce the risk of suffering from food allergies, such as eggs, peanuts or fish. *** It is important to check that there are no pieces of food that can cause choking.
6-7 Unsweetened natural yogurt and grated cheese. Maria-type cookies, for the baby to hold with their own hands. Porridge may be included: rice, corn, oats, barley, wheat and rye. Porridge can be prepared with breast milk or adapted milk.
7-8 Start offering boneless chicken meat. Avoid giving red meats. Food should have a soft or semi-solid consistency.
9-12 Start offering fish and the whole egg. From here you can already eat rice with beans and red meat in small boneless pieces. Follow a healthy and balanced diet, with few fats and sugars

This is just a general scheme of infant feeding, and the pediatrician can adapt it according to the needs of each child.

*** The introduction of allergenic foods such as eggs, peanuts or fish should happen between 4 and 6 months of age, according to the American Society of Pediatrics, as some suggest that it may decrease the baby’s risk of developing food allergies. This guidance can also be followed for babies with a family history of allergy and / or with severe eczema, however, it should be done under the supervision of a pediatrician.

It is important to avoid certain foods during the first year of life that may cause choking risk such as popcorn, raisins, grapes, hard meat, gum, candies, sausages, peanuts or nuts, for example.

When to start food introduction

Usually, between 4 and 6 months of age, the baby shows the first signs of being ready to start eating, such as observing and taking an interest in food, trying to grab food or even taking it to the mouth. In addition, it is important to start feeding only when the baby is able to sit alone, so that there is no risk of choking.

To introduce food, one food should be given at a time, with an interval of a few days, so that tolerance and acceptance can be observed, checking if any allergies, vomiting or diarrhea have arisen.

In the first few weeks, it is recommended that the food is well crushed and strained, and the consistency of the food should progress gradually, when the baby is able to eat the current consistency without choking. 

How much should the baby eat

The introduction of food should start with 2 tablespoons of the food and, after getting used to it, the baby can eat 3 tablespoons. If you accept the 3 spoons, you can slowly increase the amount, if you do not accept, that amount must be divided throughout the day. From 6 to 8 months, you should offer 2 to 3 meals a day, as well as 1 to 2 snacks. From 8 months onwards, you should have 2 to 3 meals and 2 to 3 snacks.

The amount of food and the number of times the baby will depend on the amount of calories from each food, so it is best to receive guidance from a pediatrician or nutritionist.

To find out if the amount of food was sufficient, it is very important that parents know how to identify signs of hunger, tiredness, satiety or discomfort, as they influence the process of introducing food. The main signs are:

  • Hunger: try to put food in your mouth with your bare hands or be angry if there is no more food;
  • Satiety: start playing with food or with a spoon;
  • Tiredness or discomfort: decrease the rate at which you chew your food or try to keep food away.

The baby does not have a very large stomach and it is true that solid foods take up more space than the same liquid version. Therefore, parents need not despair if the baby seems to eat little at a time. The important thing is not to give up too quickly, and also not to force the baby to eat if he shows resistance. The variation of flavors is very important for the baby to learn to eat everything.

How to prepare meals

It is recommended to prepare the baby’s meals separately from the family. The ideal is to sauté the onion with a little extra virgin olive oil and then add the water and vegetables (2 or 3 different for each soup or puree). Then you should knead everything with a fork and leave it in a not too liquid consistency, to prevent the baby from choking. This can be an example of lunch and dinner.

For snacks you can offer natural yogurt, without sugar, and complement it with mashed fruit, such as banana or shaved apple. The porridge or porridge must be prepared according to the instructions on the package because some must be prepared with water, and others with milk, which can be breast milk or adapted milk, according to the baby’s age.

Discover the BLW method to let your baby eat alone

What to do when the baby does not want to eat

Sometimes the baby does not want to eat, bringing anguish and concern to parents and caregivers, but there are some strategies that can help maintain a healthy and diverse diet since childhood

What baby should not eat

The baby should not eat sweets, sugary foods, fried foods, soda, and very spicy sauces before 1 year of age, as they can be harmful to his development. Thus, some examples of foods that the child should not eat are chocolate milk, chocolate, brigadeiro, coxinha, cake with icing or filling, soft drink and industrialized or powdered juice. See more examples of foods that the baby cannot eat until 3 years of age.

Learn more:

Leave a Comment