Baby food servings

How much should my baby eat? A guide to baby food portions

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Wondering how much to feed your baby? This can be hard to figure out, especially when you're starting solids and most of your baby's food ends up on your little one or the floor. It's also difficult to determine how much an 8-month-old (or older baby) should eat – babies this age are more interested in solid foods but still get most of their nutrition from breast milk or formula. This visual guide to baby food portions can help you figure out how much your baby should eat at every stage.

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

How much should my baby eat?

Do you worry that your baby is eating too little or too much? Your baby will self-regulate her food intake based on what their body needs, so let their appetite be your guide.

It's helpful to have a reference point, however. Here are photos of how much solid food a baby typically eats in a day. You can also ask your baby's doctor for feeding advice.

This visual guide shows:

  • Portions for infants who are new to solids (typically 4 to 6 months)
  • Two sample meals for a younger baby (6 to 8 months)
  • Three sample meals and two snacks for an older baby (8 to 12 months) from a menu developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

Your little one may eat less or more than what's shown here. Your job is to provide a variety of healthy foods at regular intervals without pressure, and their job is to decide what and how much to eat.

Photo credit: / UntitledImages

Watch for signs your baby is full

Lots of factors – including activity level, growth spurts or plateaus, illness, and teething – will affect your baby's appetite, which can vary daily.

End feeding when they signal that they're done. Signs of being full include:

  • Turning their head away
  • Refusing to open their mouth for another bite after they've swallowed (resist the urge to encourage your baby to have one last spoonful)
  • Leaning back in their chair
  • Playing with the spoon or food rather than eating

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

How much a 4- to 6-month-old should eat

When your baby is developmentally ready for solids, typically around 4 to 6 months, talk to their doctor about introducing solid foods. The first bites are mostly about them getting used to the idea of having something different in their mouth.

  • Start with a very small amount, 1 to 2 teaspoons, of a single-ingredient puree.
  • Gradually increase to 1 to 2 tablespoons of food once a day.
  • Follow your baby's fullness cues.

Popular first foods include pureed mango, banana, chicken, turkey, beef, peas, sweet potatoes, and infant cereal. It's up to you what food to start with, but wait 3 to 5 days between introducing each new food to make sure your baby doesn't have an allergic reaction or food intolerance. (And remember, no cow's milk or honey until age 1.)

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

How much a 6- to 8-month-old should eat

As your little one gets more comfortable with solids, you can increase the frequency of meals and variety of food.

  • Transition from one to two meals a day, typically by 8 months.
  • Over time, add a second food to each meal. The photo above is an example of a meal with two foods.
  • Once you've worked up to two meals with two foods each, aim for a balance of proteins, vegetables, fruits, and grains in their daily diet.
  • Whenever you introduce a new food, start with a very small amount, a teaspoon or two, to allow your baby to get used to its flavor and texture.
  • Start with a soupy consistency. Gradually add more texture as their eating skills improve.

Expect their intake of breast milk or formula to go down. They'll start drinking less of it as they eat more solid foods. Provide healthy options at mealtimes, and let them choose how much to eat.

Note: The jars in all photos are standard 4-ounce baby food jars.

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

Breakfast for a younger baby (6 to 8 months)

Cereal and fruit make an easy combination for a morning meal.

Grain: Iron-fortified, whole-grain infant cereal is a popular first grain. At 6 months, a typical daily portion of infant cereal mixed with breast milk or formula might be 2 to 3 tablespoons, increasing to 4 to 8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2 cup) by 8 months. (It's best to avoid rice cereal, though.)

Fruit: Babies love the natural sweetness of fruits like pears, apples, berries, prunes, and stone fruits. Between 6 and 8 months, a baby will typically transition from about 2 to 3 tablespoons of fruit puree a day to 4 to 8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2 cup) of mashed or minced fruit.

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

Dinner for a younger baby (6 to 8 months)

If you serve a grain and fruit in the morning, consider offering a protein-rich food and vegetable later in the day. Your child may eat more or less than the amounts shown.

Protein: A baby might transition from eating 1 to 2 tablespoons of meat puree at 6 months to 2 to 4 tablespoons at 8 months, for example. Other good protein sources include cheese, unsweetened plain whole-milk yogurt, tofu, beans, and lentils.

Vegetables: Between 6 and 8 months, a baby will typically transition from about 2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable puree a day to 4 to 8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2 cup). Try classic favorites like carrots, spinach, or butternut squash, as well as less traditional first foods such as parsnips, beets, or asparagus.

As your child's eating skills improve, gradually add more texture by dicing or mincing foods.

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

How much an 8- to 12-month-old should eat

By 8 months or so, your baby is likely getting the hang of eating and needs to eat more calories to support their growing body. But since their little belly can't hold a lot of food, they'll need to eat more often. Every baby is different, but this may be a good time to try offering a third solid food meal.

During this period:

  • Continue to give your baby breast milk or formula.
  • Add morning and afternoon snacks. (Some babies this age are happy with breast milk or formula as their snack, while others gravitate toward solid foods.) Once you've added a third meal and snacks, your baby will be eating or drinking something about every two to three hours.
  • Continue to aim for a mix of proteins, vegetables, fruits, and grains.
  • Introduce coarser and chunkier textures, for example, by dicing or mincing food instead of pureeing it, and graduate to soft finger foods as your baby's eating skills improve.
  • Avoid foods with added sugars. Check the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods, and try to steer clear of foods that list 1 gram or more of "Added Sugars. "
  • Provide healthy options, and let your baby choose how much to eat.

To visualize daily portions for an 8- to 12-month-old, check out the following photos of a typical day's menu for a baby this age, developed by the AAP.

Your child may eat more or less than these amounts. If you're concerned about how much your baby is eating, talk to their doctor for advice.

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

Breakfast for an older baby (8 to 12 months)

The AAP sample menu for a baby 8 to 12 months features a breakfast consisting of:

  • 4 to 8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2 cup) whole-grain infant cereal mixed with formula or breast milk
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2 cup) diced fruit

Note: This is an example. Your baby may eat different foods and amounts.

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

Morning snack for an older baby (8 to 12 months)

The AAP sample menu for a baby 8 to 12 months features a morning snack consisting of:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) diced cheese or cooked vegetables

Note: This is an example of a morning snack, which babies typically add sometime between 8 and 12 months. Your baby may eat different foods and amounts.

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

Lunch for an older baby (8 to 12 months)

The AAP sample menu for a baby 8 to 12 months features a lunch consisting of:

  • 4 to 8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2 cup) unsweetened plain whole-milk yogurt or cottage cheese, or minced meat
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2 cup) diced or mashed yellow or orange vegetable

Note: This is an example. Your baby may eat different foods and amounts.

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

Afternoon snack for an older baby (8 to 12 months)

The AAP sample menu for a baby 8 to 12 months features an afternoon snack consisting of:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) diced fruit or unsweetened plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 whole-grain teething biscuit or cracker

Note: This is an example of an afternoon snack, which babies typically add sometime between 8 and 12 months. Your baby may eat different foods and amounts.

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

Dinner for older baby (8 to 12 months)

The AAP sample menu for a baby 8 to 12 months features a dinner consisting of:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) minced or ground poultry or meat, or diced tofu
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons (1/4 to 1/2) cup diced, cooked green vegetable
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) noodles, pasta, rice, or potato
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) diced fruit

Note: This is an example. Your baby may eat different foods and amounts.

Photo credit: Karla Martin for BabyCenter

How much should my baby drink once they start eating solids?

Breast milk or formula will fully meet your child's hydration needs until they're about 6 months old. They may start drinking less as solid foods become a bigger part of their diet. Here are typical daily amounts by age – your baby's intake may be different, however.

6 to 8 months: 24 to 32 ounces of formula, or continued breastfeeding on demand

8 to 12 months: 24 ounces of formula, or continued breastfeeding on demand

Water: You can offer your baby water once they start eating solids, but let them self-regulate how much they drink. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends giving babies who are 6 to 12 months old 4 to 6 ounces of water a day, but what your baby decides to drink may vary. They may drink more on a hot day, for example.

Avoid juice: Juice isn't recommended for babies younger than 12 months.

Photo credit: / SDI Productions

Your baby has the final say

Keep in mind that these portions are an estimate. The truth is, every baby is different, and there's no set amount of food that's appropriate for every baby at every stage.

If you're worried about whether your baby is eating enough – or too much – the best advice is to look for and respond to signs that your baby is full.

Your baby's doctor will chart their weight gain at regular intervals. If the doctor sees a consistent growth curve and doesn't have other concerns, your baby is most likely eating the right amount of food.

Hungry for more?

Age-by-age guide to feeding your baby

The 10 best foods for babies

The worst foods for babies

Using spices and seasoning in baby food

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Elizabeth Dougherty

Elizabeth Dougherty is a veteran parenting writer and editor who's been contributing to BabyCenter since 2015. She's an intrepid traveler, devoted yogi, and longtime resident of Silicon Valley, where she lives with her husband and son.

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Sample Menu for a Baby 8 to 12 Months Old

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Ages & Stages

Ages & Stages

Now that your baby is eating solid foods, planning meals can be more challenging. At this age, your baby needs between 750 and 900 calories each day, of which about 400 to 500 should come from breast milk or formula (if you are not breastfeeding)—roughly 24 ounces (720 mL) a day. Breast milk and formula contain vitamins, minerals, and other important components for brain growth.

At about eight months, you may want to introduce foods that are slightly coarser than strained pureed foods. They require more chewing than baby foods. You can expand your baby's diet to include soft foods such as yogurt, oatmeal, mashed banana, mashed potatoes, or even thicker or lumpy pureed vegetables. Eggs (including scrambled) are an excellent source of protein, as are cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and avocado.

Sample menu ideas for an 8- to 12-month-old baby:

1 cup = 8 ounces = 240 ml
¾ cup = 6 ounces = 180 ml
½ cup = 4 ounces = 120 ml
¼ cup = 2 ounces = 60 ml


  • 2 to 4 ounces cereal, or 1 mashed or scrambled egg

  • 2 to 4 ounces mashed or diced fruit

  • Breastmilk or 4 to 6 ounces formula



  • 2 to 4 ounces yogurt or cottage cheese, or pureed or diced beans or meat

  • 2 to 4 ounces cooked pureed or diced yellow or orange vegetables

  • Breastmilk or 4 to 6 ounces formula



  • 2 to 4 ounces diced diced poultry, meat, or tofu

  • 2 to 4 ounces cooked green vegetables

  • 2 to 4 ounces cooked soft-whole grain pasta or potato

  • 2 to 4 ounces diced or mashed fruit

  • Breastmilk or 4 to 6 ounces formula

Before bedtime

Breastmilk or 6 to 8 ounces formula, or water. (If breastmilk or formula, follow with water or brush teeth afterward).

More information

  • Sample Menu for a One-Year-Old
  • Starting Solid Foods
  • Breastfeeding Mealtime Milestones
  • Ask the Pediatrician: Is it OK to make my own baby food?
Last Updated
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 7th Edition (Copyright © 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Union of Pediatricians of Russia

Nutrition for children from 1 to 3 years of age

The period from 1 to 3 years of life is a crucial stage in the transition to an adult type of nutrition, which has certain features. In order to ensure that the child's body receives all the necessary nutrients and at the same time prevent an excess of individual nutrients, nutrition should be balanced and varied. nine0003

The daily amount of food for children aged 1 to 1.5 years should be 1000-1200 g, from 1.5 to 3 years - 1200-1500 g, the amount of food in one feeding should not exceed 300-350 ml. The diet consists of three main meals per day and two snacks. It is considered optimal when breakfast is 25% of the total energy density of the diet, lunch is 30–35%, dinner is 20%, and additional meals are about 10%. In general, the child can eat the same food as the rest of the family. nine0003

In the diet of a child of 1–3 years of age , must be present daily: meat of animals or poultry, dairy and sour-milk products, vegetables, fruits, bread, cereals, vegetable and butter; fish and eggs are included in the diet 2-3 times a week.

Cereal products: bread - 2-3 servings per day, cereals and side dishes - 1 time per day
Fruit and/or vegetables: at least 5 times a day
Dairy products: at least 3 servings per day (including those used to make cereals, yoghurts, fermented milk drinks, cottage cheese, infant formula or breast milk). nine0003

Domestic pediatricians recommend, when compiling a diet for children aged 1–3 years, preference should be given to specialized children's dairy products of industrial production that meet high quality requirements and safety indicators for this age. Most children's dairy products are additionally enriched with vitamins and/or minerals and other biologically active components, taking into account the physiological needs of children of this age. At the same time, in foreign recommendations, children over 1 year old are offered the gradual introduction of whole cow's milk, which is rich in fats necessary for proper growth and development, the absorption of vitamins A and D, the development of the child's brain and nervous system. nine0003

Meat dishes: 2-3 times a day
Fish dishes: 2-3 servings per week
Eggs: 2-3 per week
Dietary fats: 3-4 teaspoons of butter and/or vegetable oils per day

When cooking, use the minimum amount of salt and sugar, and do not add them to industrial products.

Offer your child a variety of foods and let them choose for themselves. Children love to eat on their own, so if possible, offer food that the child can eat with their hands. nine0003

It is important to remember that a baby can choke on pieces of food, so whatever you give your baby should be crushed or cut into small pieces that can be easily chewed.

Do not give to a small child: nuts, whole grapes, cherry tomatoes (unless quartered), whole carrots, seeds (such as pumpkin or sunflower seeds), round candies, legumes, raisins, because a child can eat them choke.

Also in the diet of children of the first 3 years of life should not be present:

Mushrooms; canned snacks, pickled vegetables and fruits
Home canned food
Dry concentrates for side dishes
Hot sauces, mustard, horseradish, pepper, vinegar, mayonnaise
Natural coffee
Juices and drinks in the form of dry concentrates; sweet carbonated drinks
Products containing food additives (flavorings, dyes of artificial origin, including chewing gum), popcorn
Combined fats; cakes and pastries

It is important to remember that children of this age should not be given too spicy and spicy foods.

What portions of food should be given to a child under 1 year old

Kizino Polina Aleksandrovna

pediatrician, perinatal psychologist

The nutrition plan for babies at 6 months and at 8 months is different. What a child should eat at every age, how large portions of food for a child can be, what foods should not be given to children under one year old, says pediatrician Polina Aleksandrovna Kizino. nine0003

- Polina Alexandrovna, please tell us what foods are present in the diet of a child in the first year of life.

- It depends on the age.

  1. First half of the year — the child's diet includes milk nutrition: breast milk, milk formula or mixed feeding.
  2. Approximately from five months - the child's diet is optimized for the content of minerals, trace elements and vitamins, the lack of which may occur in the second half of the year. For this, complementary foods are introduced to the baby - vegetables, cereals, fruits appear in his diet. nine0072
  3. By the age of 1 year - the child is already familiar with all the main products (dairy and sour-milk products, meat, fish, flour products).

I draw the attention of parents: All these products should be adapted according to the age of the child, they should not contain crystalline sugar, salt, spices. Children's food should not be fried, it is prepared in a gentle way - mostly boiled or steamed. nine0003

Advice to mom: baby food of industrial production is recommended for children under one year old - purees, cereals and cream soups, which are specially designed for children's diet using special technologies according to specially developed recipes and take into account the peculiarities of metabolism and digestion of young children.

— How many meals should a child of the first year of life have per day?

- If we compare the feeding of a newborn and a one-year-old child, then there will undoubtedly be differences in the number of meals. In the first days and weeks after birth, pediatricians recommend free feeding and breastfeeding every 1.5-2 hours during the day and 3-4 hours at night. At night, the concentration of prolactin (the hormone responsible for the synthesis of breast milk) is higher. Therefore, night feedings for newborns are very important. nine0003

In the future, mother and baby choose the most suitable schedule for them: daytime feedings can be every 2.5-3 hours, and the night interval increases. In the future, with age, the intervals increase, and the number of night feedings decreases.

  • Newborn baby - 10-12 feedings per day.
  • 4 months - 6-7 feedings per day.
  • 6 months - 5-6 feedings per day (five daytime, one nighttime). nine0072
  • 12 months - 5 feedings per day (baby does not eat at night). Sometimes four feedings are enough for a baby, and sometimes, in addition to five daily feedings, at night, a child may ask for a breast or a bottle once. Variations are acceptable if the child is adequately gaining weight and height.

- Talking about portions for feeding children - how much food should be given at each meal, depending on the number of feedings per day?

— The size of a portion of complementary foods for a child depends on many factors. A newborn baby and a one-year-old baby will consume completely different amounts of food at one meal and per day. nine0003

The daily amount of food is calculated according to the formula for each individual child according to his age and body weight. These formulas change during the first year, and the portion of food decreases depending on the weight: for a child of the first months it is 1/5 of the body weight, by six months - 1/7 of the body weight. The portions of complementary foods at 6-7 months will be different from the portions of complementary foods at 10-11 months.

The amount of food for one meal depends on how many times the child eats per day. For example, a child will eat a daily volume of 1 liter of milk or milk formula five times, 200 g at a time. If the child eats four times a day, then portions and breaks between feedings will be larger, but in a day he will use the recommended norm for himself. nine0003

Important! New foods are introduced in small doses to make sure the child is responding normally to the food being given.

  1. Introduction of powdered milk formula

    — Despite the fact that the composition and properties of the adapted mixtures are close to human milk, the introduction of a new milk formula into the diet is in fact a stressful situation for the child, as it causes a change in the processes of digestion and intestinal microflora. In practice, it is not uncommon for children to have allergic reactions to a new product. Therefore, you should start introducing a new mixture with microdoses - 10-20 or 30 ml of the mixture and carefully monitor how the child learns it. After making sure that there are no negative reactions, you should offer the child a larger portion and bring it to the required volume within 5-7 days. Thus, the child's body adapts more easily to the new mixture and learns to digest and assimilate it without disturbing digestion. nine0003

  2. Introduction of first and second complementary foods

    - Solid food requires special attention from parents. When starting to introduce the first or second complementary foods, it is important not to overload the baby's gastrointestinal tract and not to miss a food intolerance or an allergic reaction. Therefore, it is extremely important to follow the rules for the introduction of complementary foods:

    • start complementary foods with small doses;
    • nine0069 introduce new products in the morning;
    • track the child's reaction to a specific product;
    • to acquaint the child with only one product during the week.

  3. Diet extension

    — When a child already receives a sufficiently varied diet - vegetables, cereals, fruits, meat and dairy products, it can be assumed that he will react calmly to what, and to what - an undesirable reaction. Therefore, what falls under suspicion is not offered to a child under 1 year old, and what does not cause suspicion can be introduced faster and spent on it not a week, but 3-4 days. But still, we give new products in the first half of the day, tracking the reaction. nine0003

— How to competently increase the volume of servings?

— Properly means slowly and gradually. If a baby needs a certain amount of formula or breast milk, then the volume of his stomach corresponds to this need. If yesterday you gave 200 ml at a time, and today you increase the portion overnight by 40 ml, you should not act like that. (the child will be hard and uncomfortable, he will burp too much). The portion of food for the baby increases gradually, 10-15 ml at a time (without injuring the child so that he can cope with the new volume and not burp). nine0003

- "Microportion" - how much?

- Volume ½ or 1 teaspoon. On the first day of introducing complementary foods, half or one teaspoon of a new product is given, no more, even if the child asks. This is necessary in order to track the reaction of the baby, not to load the body with a product that can cause intolerance or an allergic reaction.

— What is the ratio of basic milk nutrition and complementary foods in the diet of a child in the first year of life?

— A child has different needs at every age. nine0003

  • First six months of life. Up to six months, the child mainly needs breast milk, complementary foods are for informational purposes.
  • The second half of life. After six months, the diet expands. The older the child becomes, the higher his need for basic nutrients - proteins, fats and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and trace elements, additional sources of which are cereals, vegetables, fruits and other complementary foods. nine0072

— What foods should be given at what time of the day?

— It is important to introduce a new product in the first half of the day in order to monitor how the child reacts to them.

  • Breakfast - cereals, cereals (contain enough carbohydrates to store energy and strength for the whole day).
  • Snack and afternoon snack Fruit purees, light dairy products, curds and yoghurts appropriate for the child's age (snack should not be heavy enough). nine0072
  • Lunch - vegetables, mashed meat, closer to the year - food with soft pieces (full meals, similar to those consumed by parents).
  • Dinner - vegetables, fruits, dairy products, cereals (do not try to feed the child, he will calmly fall asleep one and a half to two hours after eating and will not be hungry until the morning: on complementary foods, the gastrointestinal tract learns to rest at night, like in adults ).

Advice for mom: from the MAMAKO ® assortment, you can choose healthy products for a varied diet of your baby - dairy-free baby cereals and baby goat milk cereals for breakfast, cream soup for lunch, fruit puree with cottage cheese for an afternoon snack or a light dinner.

— What food should not be given as complementary foods for up to a year?

- The child should not be given spicy, salty, overly sweet, spiced, fried foods. The baby needs food and dishes prepared in traditional ways, which are used in baby food in the form of vegetable, fruit and meat purees, cereals, soups or adapted dairy products. This will make the baby's diet balanced and will not irritate the baby's delicate digestive tract. At the stage of introducing complementary foods, the child only adapts to a new type of food and is completely unprepared for adult food. nine0003

Give your child only food that is good for him.

Important! Obligate allergens are those foods that most people can be allergic to: citrus fruits, chocolate, honey, nuts, seafood, strawberries, and bright red vegetables and fruits. It is better not to acquaint a child under a year with them.

- Polina Alexandrovna, tell us about the approximate diet of babies, depending on age in the first year of life.

— Baby's menu changes with age. At what time, in what form and how much to give products intended for a child of a certain age category, is tentatively presented in the tables of the Union of Pediatricians of Russia. They will help determine portions of complementary foods for months and make a menu for the baby, taking into account his needs and individual characteristics. nine0003

Download the leaflet in pdf

When you first introduce your child to new products, the main thing is not to rush. Serving rates for children under 1 year old depend on age.

In the early stages, the purpose of introducing complementary foods is not to feed the child and make the portion as large as possible, but to introduce him to new foods. Therefore, it is not worth worrying about the portion size, rushing the baby and trying to feed him through force.

At the stage of expanding the diet, when complementary foods take up more and more space in the daily menu of the baby, and milk feedings are reduced, portions of complementary foods for children should be increased gradually and according to age, so that the child's body adapts to adult food more easily and quickly. nine0003

* Breast milk is the best food for babies. WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a child's life and continued breastfeeding after complementary foods are introduced until the age of 2 years. Before introducing new products into the baby's diet, you should consult with a specialist. The material is for informational purposes and cannot replace the advice of a healthcare professional. For feeding children from birth.

Information sources


Introduction of complementary foods Union of Pediatricians of Russia. Available for download on 06/14/2022. Accessed 06/14/2022

https://www.pediatr-russia .

Learn more