Baby food drink

When, What, and How to Introduce Solid Foods | Nutrition

For more information about how to know if your baby is ready to starting eating foods, what first foods to offer, and what to expect, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend children be introduced to foods other than breast milk or infant formula when they are about 6 months old.  Introducing foods before 4 months old is not recommended. Every child is different. How do you know if your child is ready for foods other than breast milk or infant formula? You can look for these signs that your child is developmentally ready.

Your child:

  • Sits up alone or with support.
  • Is able to control head and neck.
  • Opens the mouth when food is offered.
  • Swallows food rather than pushes it back out onto the chin.
  • Brings objects to the mouth.
  • Tries to grasp small objects, such as toys or food.
  • Transfers food from the front to the back of the tongue to swallow.

What Foods Should I Introduce to My Child First?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that for most children, you do not need to give foods in a certain order. Your child can begin eating solid foods at about 6 months old. By the time he or she is 7 or 8 months old, your child can eat a variety of foods from different food groups. These foods include infant cereals, meat or other proteins, fruits, vegetables, grains, yogurts and cheeses, and more.

If your child is eating infant cereals, it is important to offer a variety of fortifiedalert icon infant cereals such as oat, barley, and multi-grain instead of only rice cereal. Only providing infant rice cereal is not recommended by the Food and Drug Administration because there is a risk for children to be exposed to arsenic. Visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administrationexternal icon to learn more.

How Should I Introduce My Child to Foods?

Your child needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow healthy and strong.

Now that your child is starting to eat food, be sure to choose foods that give your child all the vitamins and minerals they need.

Click here to learn more about some of these vitamins & minerals.

Let your child try one single-ingredient food at a time at first. This helps you see if your child has any problems with that food, such as food allergies. Wait 3 to 5 days between each new food. Before you know it, your child will be on his or her way to eating and enjoying lots of new foods.

Introduce potentially allergenic foods when other foods are introduced.

Potentially allergenic foods include cow’s milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. Drinking cow’s milk or fortified soy beverages is not recommended until your child is older than 12 months, but other cow’s milk products, such as yogurt, can be introduced before 12 months. If your child has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse about when and how to safely introduce foods with peanuts.

How Should I Prepare Food for My Child to Eat?

At first, it’s easier for your child to eat foods that are mashed, pureed, or strained and very smooth in texture. It can take time for your child to adjust to new food textures. Your child might cough, gag, or spit up. As your baby’s oral skills develop, thicker and lumpier foods can be introduced.

Some foods are potential choking hazards, so it is important to feed your child foods that are the right texture for his or her development. To help prevent choking, prepare foods that can be easily dissolved with saliva and do not require chewing. Feed small portions and encourage your baby to eat slowly. Always watch your child while he or she is eating.

Here are some tips for preparing foods:

  • Mix cereals and mashed cooked grains with breast milk, formula, or water to make it smooth and easy for your baby to swallow.
  • Mash or puree vegetables, fruits and other foods until they are smooth.
  • Hard fruits and vegetables, like apples and carrots, usually need to be cooked so they can be easily mashed or pureed.
  • Cook food until it is soft enough to easily mash with a fork.
  • Remove all fat, skin, and bones from poultry, meat, and fish, before cooking.
  • Remove seeds and hard pits from fruit, and then cut the fruit into small pieces.
  • Cut soft food into small pieces or thin slices.
  • Cut cylindrical foods like hot dogs, sausage and string cheese into short thin strips instead of round pieces that could get stuck in the airway.
  • Cut small spherical foods like grapes, cherries, berries and tomatoes into small pieces.
  • Cook and finely grind or mash whole-grain kernels of wheat, barley, rice, and other grains.

Learn more about potential choking hazards and how to prevent your child from choking.

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Baby formula feeding chart: How much formula by weight and age

Is your baby getting too much or too little formula? It's an important question that worries many new parents, especially those with newborns. When deciding how much formula to give your baby, it's important to watch their hunger cues as well as looking at guidelines based on age and weight. In general, before they're eating solids, babies need 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight each day.

These guidelines are for babies who are exclusively formula-fed for the first 4 to 6 months, and then fed a combination of formula and solids up to age 1. If your baby is getting a combination of breast milk and formula, talk to their doctor for separate advice.

Your pediatrician can tell you where your baby falls on the growth charts, make sure they're growing steadily on their own growth curve, and help you ensure that they're getting a healthy amount of formula. If you're ever worried about your baby's growth, behavior, or development, talk with their doctor.

How much formula for a newborn

For the first few days, offer your newborn 1 to 2 ounces of formula every 2 or 3 hours. (At first, newborns may only take a half ounce of formula at a time. )

After the first few days, give your newborn 2 to 3 ounces of formula every 3 to 4 hours.

Initially it's best to feed your formula-fed newborn on demand, whenever they show signs that they're hungry. Because your little one can't tell you when they want a bottle, you'll need to learn to read their hunger cues. Crying is often a late sign of hunger, so if you can, try to catch the earlier signs that it's time for a feeding.

Here are some hunger cues to watch for:

  • Smacking or licking their lips
  • Rooting (moving their jaw, mouth, or head in search of food)
  • Putting their hands to their mouth
  • Opening their mouth
  • Fussiness
  • Sucking on things
  • Becoming more alert
  • Crying

As time passes, your newborn will begin to develop a fairly regular feeding schedule. You'll become familiar with their cues and needs, and knowing when and how much to feed them will be much easier.

Formula feeding chart by weight

During the first 4 to 6 months, when your baby isn't eating solid foods, here's a simple rule of thumb: Offer 2. 5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight every 24 hours, with a maximum of about 32 ounces.

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WeightOunces of formula
6 pounds15 fl oz every 24 hours
7 pounds17.5 fl oz every 24 hours
8 pounds20 fl oz every 24 hours
9 pounds22.5 fl oz every 24 hours
10 pounds25 fl oz every 24 hours
11 pounds27.5 fl oz every 24 hours
12 pounds30 fl oz every 24 hours

These numbers aren't rigid rules. They offer a rough estimate for what your baby may need. Some babies will grow well while taking less than the recommended amount, while others consistently need more. Your baby's daily feedings will also vary according to their individual needs – in other words, they may want a bit more on some days and a bit less on others.

Formula feeding chart by age

Here are typical amounts per day based on age:

AgeOunces of formula
Full-term newborn2 ounces per bottle every 3 to 4 hours
1 month old3 to 4 ounces per bottle every 3 to 4 hours
2 month old4 to 5 ounces per bottle every 3 to 4 hours
3 month old4 to 6 ounces per bottle every 3 to 4 hours
4 month old4 to 6 ounces per bottle, 4 to 6 times a day
5 month old4 to 6 ounces per bottle, 4 to 6 times a day
6 month old6 to 8 ounces per bottle, 4 to 5 times a day
7 month old6 to 8 ounces per bottle, 3 to 5 times a day

From 8 months old until their first birthday, you can expect your baby to have 7 to 8 ounces per bottle, 3 to 4 times a day.

As your baby gets older – and their tummy gets bigger – they'll drink fewer bottles a day with more formula in each. It's important not to overfeed your baby so they'll stay at a healthy weight. Your baby shouldn't have more than 32 ounces of formula in 24 hours.

When they reach their first birthday, they can stop drinking formula and transition to cow's milk in a bottle, sippy cup, straw cup, or open cup. Limit your toddler to 16 to 24 ounces (2 to 2.5 cups) a day of whole milk, so they have room for other healthy foods.

Here are signs that your baby's getting all the formula they need:

  • Steady weight gain. They continue to gain weight after their first 10 days and follow a healthy growth curve during their first year. (Most babies lose up to 7 to 10 percent of their birth weight in the first few days and then regain it by the time they're about 2 weeks old.)
  • Happy baby. They seem relaxed and satisfied after a feeding.
  • Wet diapers. They wet two to three diapers a day in the first few days after birth. Over the next few days, the amount should increase to at least five to six wet diapers a day.

Babies are usually good at eating the amount they need, but bottle-fed babies can drink too much at times. Here are the signs that they're getting too much formula:

  • Vomiting after a feeding may be a sign that your baby had too much. (Spitting up is normal, vomiting isn't.)
  • Tummy pain after a feeding can also be a sign of overfeeding. If your baby draws up their legs or their tummy seems tense, they may be in pain. (See other possible reasons for stomach pain in babies.)

If your baby seems to want to eat all the time, even after finishing a bottle, talk to your pediatrician. Using a pacifier may help soothe their need to suck.

Formula-feeding tips

  • In general, babies eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full, so resist the temptation to encourage your baby to finish each bottle. Overfeeding during infancy can contribute to obesity later in life.
  • Don't respond to your baby's every cry with a bottle. They may be crying because their diaper is wet, they're cold or hot, they need to be burped, or they want to be close to you. (Learn more about why babies cry, and how to soothe them.)
  • Your baby may be hungrier than usual during growth spurts. These typically occur 10 to 14 days after birth and around 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months of age.

Read more:

  • Formula Feeding Problem Solver
  • How to safely store and use formula

Peculiarities of using juices in children's diet

Fruit and vegetable juices are valuable sources of vitamins, minerals, organic acids, fiber, pectins and other important elements for our body. They are well absorbed by the body, so they are suitable for baby food. Today we will talk about what juices and at what age should be given to the baby so that he grows up healthy and active.

Juice, nectar and fruit drink - what's the difference?

On the shelves of stores you can find various fruit and vegetable drinks for baby food: juices, nectars and fruit drinks. They differ in composition and, accordingly, health benefits. nine0005


The basis for such drinks is fruit, vegetable or berry raw materials, which account for at least 85%. Other juice ingredients: water, sugar or acidifier. Juices are available:

Freshly squeezed - such drinks get on the table immediately after preparation. In their manufacture, only natural raw materials are used. They are considered the most useful, because they are the leaders in the content of the most important biologically active substances. It is recommended to consume them immediately, because after a few hours, freshly squeezed juice loses most of the nutrients. Also, freshly squeezed juices aggressively affect the mucous membrane of the digestive tract due to the high content of acids. Therefore, children and people with gastrointestinal diseases should use them with caution. nine0005

Straight juices - prepared in the same way as fresh juices, but then pasteurized to keep them longer. In industrial production, sugar, water, preservatives and dyes can be added to them. Less aggressive towards the mucous membrane, but at the same time contain many useful substances.

Reconstituted juices - prepared from fruit, berry or vegetable concentrate, which is diluted with water. Also, drinks are sometimes supplemented with sugar, dyes and preservatives. They are inferior to freshly squeezed juices and direct-pressed drinks in terms of the content of nutrients. nine0005

Information about what kind of juice you have in front of you can always be found on the packaging of the drink. The composition of the product is also indicated there. Pay attention to the content of sugar and other chemicals.


These are drinks with natural juice (up to 50%). They also include water, sugar or sweeteners, fruit, berry or vegetable puree, preservatives. Most often, nectars are prepared from concentrates, which are then diluted with water.
In the vast majority of cases, nectar is inferior to natural juice in terms of the content of all biologically active substances. But there are vegetables and fruits from which it is impossible to squeeze ordinary juice: for example, bananas, papaya, passion fruit and others. nine0005

Fruit drinks

Morse is a drink made from frozen berries. According to production standards, it must contain at least 15% berry juice or puree. Morse can also be prepared at home: you need to chop the berries, add water and sugar to taste. Due to the low content of berry raw materials, fruit drink is inferior in useful properties to many juices. But it is superior to nectars, because freezing, unlike other methods of processing raw materials, retains most of the biologically active substances. nine0005

What are the benefits of different juices?

Each drink made from fresh fruits, vegetables or berries is rich in nutrients. We will consider only the most popular options.

Orange juice is rich in ascorbic acid, which increases immunity and strengthens blood vessels. In addition, the drink contains other vitamins: A, E, K, representatives of group B. All of them are necessary for our health.
The drink also contains a lot of minerals (copper, iron, phosphorus, zinc and others), dietary fiber, pectins. nine0005

Regular consumption of orange juice strengthens the body, helps to cope with acute and chronic stress, improves immunity, stimulates digestion, and accelerates the elimination of toxins.

This drink also has some contraindications. It is not recommended to use it with increased acidity of gastric juice, gastritis and diabetes.

Apple juice is an affordable fruit drink in our region. It is distinguished from other drinks by its high content of vitamins A, B and C, as well as iron, magnesium and phosphorus. In addition, apple juice contains biotin and pantothenic acid. nine0035 With the regular use of freshly squeezed juice, the immune status, memory and concentration of attention improve, the work of the cardiovascular system normalizes. Apple juice is recommended to be included in the diet for anemia, low acidity of gastric juice, frequent colds.

In addition, this drink is known to help recover from illnesses and improve digestion.
It is recommended to limit the use of apple juice for gastrointestinal pathologies, since the drink has an irritating effect on the mucous membrane. nine0005

Peach juice contains vitamins A, B, C, malic, tartaric and citric acids, pectins, dietary fiber. It is also rich in potassium and iron.

Peach juice enhances the secretory activity of the digestive tract, stimulates the functioning of the liver and biliary tract, and has an antiemetic effect. It is recommended to use it for various vascular diseases, anemia, heart rhythm disturbances, as well as frequent colds.
Peach juice is not recommended for acute and chronic diseases of the digestive system, a tendency to gain weight, diabetes. nine0005

Carrot juice is the leader in vitamin A content among all vegetable and fruit juices. Thanks to this, it improves eyesight, improves immunity, strengthens bones and teeth, and normalizes the functioning of the thyroid gland.

In addition, carrot juice contains other vitamins (B, C, D, E and K), minerals (magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, copper and calcium), organic acids and fiber.

Regular consumption of the drink improves the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular system, has a calming effect, and normalizes sleep. nine0035 Due to the high content of organic acids, freshly squeezed carrot juice is contraindicated in diseases of the digestive system. Also, due to the high content of carbohydrates, it is not recommended to drink it with diabetes.

Tomato is the only vegetable and fruit juice drink that contains lycopene. This substance from the harmful effects of free radicals. The drink also contains vitamins A, B, C and K, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber.

With regular use, tomato juice strengthens the musculoskeletal system, prevents the development of osteoporosis, strengthens the walls of blood vessels and the heart muscle, thins the blood, improves intestinal motility, reduces flatulence, stimulates the production of bile.
Tomato juice is not recommended for gastritis with high acidity, ulcers.

How and when to give juice to children?

Children can be given fruit and vegetable juices. It is best to use direct-pressed drinks, as well as berry fruit drinks or nectars with a high content of natural raw materials. It is better if the drinks do not contain sugar, salt, preservatives and dyes. nine0005

As complementary foods, fruit and vegetable juices are introduced into the diet of a child at 7 months of life - if he is breastfed, and at 4 - if he is artificially fed. During this period, it is enough to give the baby 0.5-1 tsp. juice at every feeding.

After 1 year, a child can drink up to 120-150 ml of juice per day, but this amount is best divided into several doses. And children over six years old can drink 200 ml per day, also in divided doses.

Do not forget that juice is not a drink to quench your thirst, but a full snack. It can replace a second breakfast or afternoon snack. At the same time, it is better to give preference to fruit or berry drinks before lunch, and vegetable drinks after lunch. nine0005

Freshly squeezed juices should not be introduced into the diet of children under 12-14 years old, their digestive tract may not be able to cope with an aggressive drink. Therefore, the benefit from it will be much less than the harm.

Don't stop at just one juice. In order for the child's body to get the maximum benefit, drinks should be alternated. Fruit and vegetable juices from several products are also suitable. For example, apple-peach or cucumber-tomato.

When you first introduce this or that juice to the children's menu, be sure to monitor the child's condition. Juices are strong allergens, so check your baby's skin for rashes, redness, and scratching. If these symptoms appear, try a different type of juice or fruit drink. nine0005

Also watch your digestive system. Accelerated peristalsis, increased gas formation, loose or frequent stools are signs that you have given your baby too much juice. Also, symptoms can occur if the body does not absorb the vegetable or fruit from which the juice is made. If the symptoms persist for several days, it is better to contact the pediatrician and review the baby's diet.

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