How often should my 5 month old eat baby food

5 month old feeding schedule: Timings and food types

A general feeding schedule can help parents and caregivers organize their day. However, feeding on demand — when the baby shows signs of being hungry — ensures that the baby gets enough food.

At 5 months old, a baby should get the majority of their nutrition from breastmilk or formula. Most babies do not require solids at this stage. Anyone considering starting a baby on solid food before they are 6 months old should talk to a pediatrician first.

Share on PinterestAll or most of a 5-month-old baby’s diet should comprise of breastmilk or formula.

At 5 months, breastmilk or formula is the most important ingredient in a healthful diet.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusively breastfeeding for about 6 months. However, for those who are unable or choose not to breastfeed, formula milk is available for babies of all ages.

Most 5-month-old babies should not be eating solids. Even when a baby shows signs of readiness for solids, this should only be a small portion of their diet. Always check with a pediatrician before starting a baby less than 6 months old on solids.

Parents and caregivers should not try to restrict a baby’s food intake, regardless of a baby’s growth. Instead, devise a loose schedule and then feed babies when they are hungry.

According to one source, this means getting to know a baby’s hunger cues, which might include licking their lips, rooting, or sucking hands.

A 2013 analysis of more than 10,000 children compared children whose parents or caregivers fed them on demand with those who received food according to a predetermined schedule.

The analysis found that parents and caregivers who followed a feeding schedule had higher confidence and better sleep. However, the study revealed that schedule-fed babies went on to do less well at school than demand-fed babies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most babies need to eat at least every 2–3 hours, which is about five to six times per day. At 5 months, some babies sleep through the night. Others still wake to feed.

Parents and caregivers who follow a schedule should try to remain flexible. A baby who is hungry an hour before snacktime needs to eat, just as a baby who is tired early should go to sleep.

Formula or breastmilk

Formula or breastmilk is the most important ingredient in a 5-month-old’s diet. According to Infant Nutrition and Feeding, babies should get five or more nursing sessions per day or 26 to 39 ounces (oz) of iron-fortified formula.

Some babies nurse more during growth spurts or when they do not feel well. Likewise, people who use a combination of formula and breastmilk may nurse slightly less often and give less formula.

Some research suggests that doing a “dream feed,” which involves the parent or caregiver feeding the baby relatively early in the evening before going to bed, helps babies sleep longer at night.

Other liquids

Do not give 5-month-old babies juice, cow’s milk, or water. Babies get water from formula or breastmilk. The World Health Organization (WHO) explain that giving babies water to drink increases the risk of diarrhea and may cause them to drink less breastmilk or formula.


Most parents and caregivers should breastfeed or formula-feed the baby for at least 6 months. The CDC indicate that a baby might be ready for solids a little earlier if:

  • they have good control over their head
  • they can sit on their own without support
  • they lean forward or open their mouth when a caregiver offers food

The American Academy of Pediatrics warn against introducing solids before 4 months as this can lead to increased weight gain.

Most babies do not need solids at this age. Some people may use solids as a supplement to formula or breastmilk but never give a baby solids without talking to a pediatrician first.

According to the Sleep Foundation, most 5-month-olds take two to four naps a day. Some naps may be longer than others. For example, a baby might take a short early morning nap, then a longer nap late in the morning and in the mid-afternoon.

Some people feed the baby right before they go to bed, hoping this will help them sleep longer. Others use an eat, play, sleep schedule. Neither is “right.”

Instead, people should choose the approach that works for them. Some babies need to nurse just before sleep. Others are eager to fall asleep after a play session.

Some tips that can help shape a schedule around a baby’s eating and sleeping routines include:

  • Be prepared to feed a baby when they awake. Expect babies to be particularly hungry and need more food after long naps and in the morning.
  • Each person must consider which schedule works best for them and the people around them. Some people choose to play, then feed, then put the baby to sleep, while others adopt a feed, play, sleep approach.
  • Know that a child’s napping needs may change when they are unwell, growing, or stressed. Similarly, many babies nurse for comfort during challenging times. Allowing a baby to nurse when they want, even if it is not feeding time, may help soothe them.
  • Do not put solid foods in a bottle, including before naptime.

All babies and families are different. Most babies eventually develop a rhythm that parents and caregivers can slowly shape into a schedule.

While some people prefer a fairly strict schedule, others take a more relaxed approach. Neither approach is right.

As long as babies get enough food and eat every 2–4 hours, it is fine to experiment with different schedules.

5-Month-Old Baby: Milestones and More

5-Month-Old Baby

Your baby is 5 months old! Feeling a bit like a coach? You’ve been giving baby tons of encouragement over the past month —as they’re (probably!) trying to sit unassisted in a tripod position. Give baby the space to try on their own, but stay within arm’s reach, just in case they start to topple. You’re probably also inspiring baby’s language by having conversations around the house. The ultimate reward for all your efforts will be when you (will soon) hear those wonderful words: "mama" and "dada."

It seems each day brings new 5-month-old baby milestones, and your little one has been practicing their motor skills and showing off their unique personality. As exciting as these moments are, you probably still have some questions surrounding this new stage. What can babies eat at the five-month mark? How can I keep my 5-month old busy? And perhaps most pressing: What time should a 5-month-old go to bed? (This whole early parenting thing is still very exhausting!)

Parenting has a nonstop learning curve, and we’re here to help. From understanding a 5-month-old baby’s feeding routine to structuring a (somewhat) normal sleep schedule, here’s what you need to know as you celebrate this stage.

In this article:
5-month-old development
5-month-old health
5-month-old feeding
5-month-old sleep
5-month-old schedule
Activities for a 5-month-old
5-month-old baby checklist and tips

5-Month-Old Development

Your busy 5-month-old baby is working on a number of skills that’ll really come in handy for moving around and getting things done, and they’re working on getting bigger too.

5-month-old baby weight and length

You probably want to know: How much should my 5-month-old weigh? The average weight for a 5-month-old baby is 15.2 pounds for girls and 16.6 pounds for boys; the average length (aka height) is 25.2 inches for girls and 25.9 inches for boys.

Of course that doesn’t mean your 5-month-old baby should weigh and measure exactly that. Remember: Healthy babies tend to follow a natural growth curve, staying within the same percentile range as they grow older. As long as baby’s sticking to the curve, that’s an indicator of healthy growth. And your child most likely gained about 1 to 1.25 pounds since last month!

You won’t typically hear the phrase “5-month-old growth spurt"—but it’s well known that babies tend to have growth spurts around the four- and six-month marks, and you’re right smack in the middle of those two. As we know, not every baby is exactly the same, so if you suspect yours is having a growth spurt—they’re extra hungry and feeding like crazy for a few days—then they probably are.

5-month-old’s five senses

  • Baby’s ability to distinguish between different colors is improving—it’s not just the bright, bold colors they can tell apart but now it’s pastels and other subtle colors too.
  • Baby can now spot a toy just out of reach, and grab it. Go baby!
  • Baby will turn their head to hear a rattling sound and may start to turn their head when they hear a voice.
  • They’re listening to what you’re saying and may soon start to imitate your words. Once they start making some sounds they like—“oh” or “ah” maybe—they might keep on repeating them. How cute!

5-month-old baby milestones

What do 5-month-old babies do? Here’s an idea of what’s likely going on with yours this month:

  • Baby’s eyesight is growing sharper by the day. So what can babies see at 5 months old? Babies at this age will start noticing things several feet away and can differentiate between colors. They can also focus on objects without crossing their eyes.
  • Baby is fascinated by their hands and may have started bringing both of them together. (Patty-cake time!)
  • They’re likely reaching with both hands, grasping things and holding them using all their fingers.
  • Baby is about ready to start learning about object permanence. Hide an object and then reveal it, so baby will start to learn that things still exist even when they can't see them.
  • They’ve either started rolling over or are swaying side-to-side, getting ready to reach this milestone. Average age to start to roll from tummy to back is 4 months old; after that, baby will start to roll back to tummy. A 5-month-old not rolling over isn’t a cause for concern, but if baby isn’t at least trying to roll by their six-month checkup, you should let the pediatrician know.
  • For your 5-month-old, crawling may be on the horizon. Babies tend to start crawling between 6 to 10 months, but some especially determined babies get started earlier than that.

5-Month-Old Health

Having a baby sometimes feels like one minor illness after another. These are some common health questions parents of 5-month-old babies ask:

5-Month-Old Baby Feeding

Feeding baby may be getting more complicated than it used to be. Nursing may have turned into nursing and pumping; bottles may have turned into bottles and baby food.

How much should a 5-month-old eat?

Wondering how much and how often a 5-month-old should eat? Five-month-old babies typically breastfeed or bottle-feed every three to four hours and may have started eating solid foods about two times per day.

  • Bottle feeding: How much formula for a 5-month-old baby? Many babies this age eat 4 to 6 ounces of formula about four to six times a day.
  • Breastfeeding: You should be nursing baby every three or four hours but each breastfed baby may be slightly different. What’s important is that baby seems content, your boobs seem to have been emptied (they’re soft) and baby’s gaining weight healthily.
  • Pumping: If you’re pumping breast milk, you’re probably wondering how many ounces of breast milk for a 5-month-old is enough. Five-month-olds need about 25 ounces of breast milk per day. So you’ll need to divide that by how many feedings your baby usually has. So if you feed baby about eight times per day, they should get about 4 ounces of breast milk at each feeding. That’s about how much milk a 5-month-old should drink.

To double-check that baby’s getting enough breast milk, you can check their diapers. How many wet diapers for a 5-month-old is healthy? About four or five very wet ones per day.

What can babies eat at 5 months?

Five-month-old babies still need breast milk, formula or a combination of both. Does baby watch you intently while you eat your own breakfast? It might be time to start your 5-month-old on solids.

Wondering how much baby food for a 5-month-old is recommended? The five-month mark is an exciting time as baby might be ready to take on solid foods. If you and your pediatrician have decided to move forward with baby solids, go slow and follow baby’s cues. You might start out with one ounce and one meal and gradually increase the amount to about three ounces as often as three times a day.

How much fruit and veggies or how much rice cereal for a 5-month-old largely depends on the baby. The longer baby’s been eating solids and the more they’re interested in eating them, the more you should feel free to feed them—up to three ounces, three times per day.

Can I give my 5-month-old water?

Typically, doctors say to wait until baby is about 6 months old or eating solids before introducing them to water. That said, if they’re eating baby food, you can probably give them a few sips of water too.

5-month-old feeding schedule

Don’t know how to space out feedings? Here’s a basic schedule that might work for you and baby:

Image: Megan Rubey

5-Month-Old Sleep

Is baby sleeping well yet? If not, it might be time to consider sleep training. Read on for some common solutions to get you and your 5-month-old sufficient shut-eye.

How much should my 5-month-old sleep?

How many hours a 5-month-old should sleep depends on the baby! Just like everything else, there’s a range—there are big sleepers and not-so-big sleepers—and oftentimes the amount baby sleeps depends on their own unique sleep personality.

Five-month-olds tend to sleep around 15 hours a day, including about up to 10 hours at night (some babies wake at night and others don’t!) and two or three naps, adding up to around five hours of daytime sleep.

What time should a 5-month old go to bed?

Again, this will depend on your specific scenario and needs. At 5 months old, baby should be on a two- or three-nap schedule, with the last nap ending ideally no later than 5 p.m. Experts generally recommend putting baby to bed for the night around 7 or 7:30 p.m.

5-month-old sleep schedule

Five-month-olds need plenty of rest. Here’s a typical sleep schedule for a 5-month-old baby:

Image: Megan Rubey

My 5-month-old won’t sleep!

We hear parents say “My 5-month-old wakes up every hour” or “They used to sleep and now suddenly they’re not!” If your child isn’t sleeping, it could be for a variety of reasons; one of the most common is sleep regression. The 5-month-old sleep regression is common because babies naturally begin to sleep less deeply, and their brains have developed and become more active.

A soothing sleep routine can help baby get back to snoozing more soundly. Getting baby used to falling asleep on their own in the crib, rather than in your arms (we know—easier said than done!) is also important. That means you want to avoid rocking them to sleep. Pediatricians also recommend not feeding baby to get them to fall asleep; rather, put them down when they’re drowsy but still awake.Don’t worry, this sleep regression stage usually only lasts about two to six weeks. Read more tips for dealing with sleep regression.

Is sleep-training a 5-month-old a good idea?

Maybe! Some families swear by sleep training, others think letting baby cry—yes, there are usually tears involved—feels cruel. Do what’s best for your family.

If your 5-month-old baby does not sleep through the night, and you’re interested in giving sleep training a try, now is probably a good time. Experts say babies might be ready for sleep training if they’ve gotten into a regular sleep routine and have dropped most of their middle-of-the-night feedings. Read more about how sleep-train a baby to see if it’s right for your family.

Is a 5-month-old sleeping on their stomach okay?

Continue to put baby to bed lying on their back to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Once baby starts rolling onto their tummy, there’s really not much you can do about letting them sleep in that position.

In fact, a lot of babies find stomach sleeping really comfy. Some worried parents feel the need to go into the nursery and flip baby over, but rest assured that once baby can lift their head and shoulders and can roll over on their own, it’s okay for them to sleep on their stomach.

5-Month-Old Schedule

Five-month-old babies are just coming into their own, and they want in on the fun! Looking for things to do with a 5-month-old baby? Check out this list of baby activities that will give you an idea of 5-month-old activities, as well as things to do with baby as they grow.

5-month-old baby schedule example

A 5-month-old's daily schedule might look something like this:

Image: Megan Rubey

Activities for a 5-month-old

As baby grows and develops each day, you’re probably wondering: How can I keep my 5-month old busy? Here are some fun activities to keep them engaged and entertained:

  • Take baby for a walk. As their eyesight improves, baby will begin focusing on different aspects of nature, from trees to flying birds. This is great stimulation for baby; plus, a change of scenery and fresh air can be good for you too!
  • Put baby on the floor to explore. Whether you put baby on their back or tummy, this floor time gives them a chance to move around, explore and strengthen those little muscles. (Just sure to babyproof the area first).
  • Play music. Baby’s hearing is getting better; they’ll love listening to different kinds of music. Sing along and dance with baby.
  • Continue to read. Reading every day will help encourage early language skills.

5-Month-Old Baby Checklist and Tips

  • Schedule baby’s six-month checkup, if you haven’t already.
  • Put an unbreakable baby mirror in front of baby’s face and watch their delight as they admire their own mug and self-entertain.
  • Need a new car seat for your 5-month-old baby? Look into a convertible seat that can be positioned both backward (until age 2 or 3) and forward (after that).
  • Take baby’s 5-month-old baby milestone photo.
  • Baby has likely started putting everything in their mouth by this age, so clear your space of small choking hazards.

Five-months-olds grow up right before your eyes. Your little one will surprise you each day with their new tricks. Their personality is getting more defined by the minute, and you’ll soon have a bubbly 6-month-old on your hands. Where has the time gone?

Medical content was reviewed by Dina DiMaggio, MD, a board-certified pediatrician at Pediatric Associates of NYC and NYU Langone Health in New York City, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is also the coauthor of The Pediatrician’s Guide to Feeding Babies and Toddlers.

what is the diet in 5 months, the menu of complementary foods for a five-month-old baby

Published: 07.10.2019

Reading time: 5 min.

Number of reads: 217389

By 5 months the infant reaches a certain maturity of the digestive and immune systems, allowing for non-dairy nutrition. Today, there are many points of view on the timing of the introduction of complementary foods, but there are criteria by which parents can absolutely understand whether their child is ready to change something in their own diet. nine0003

Contents: Hide

  1. When should we start introducing complementary foods?
  2. What to prepare for a new stage in life?
  3. How to start complementary foods at 5 months?
  4. Which products are we introducing first?
  5. What not to give before 1 year
  6. Where to be vigilant?
  7. So all the same PORRIDGE or VEGETABLES?

Of course, the ideal period for the introduction of complementary foods at 6 months is, but only if the baby receives the optimal amount of nutrients from breast milk/formula, has a good increase in height and weight, and meets the normal criteria for neuropsychic development. nine0003

But in real life, unfortunately, by the age of 5-6 months, children often begin to experience a deficiency in certain nutritional components, which requires parents to correct the child's diet. At the same time, allergists are unanimous in their opinion, who argue that the introduction of complementary foods in the interval of 4-6 months can reduce the risks of developing food allergies in the future, since it is in this age period that the immune system is most tolerant to new food agents.

When to start introducing complementary foods?

There are several signs that a baby is ready to start weaning.

  • One of the first is food interest. If the child is at the table with adults, he actively reaches for his mother's plate and is ready to try the food offered.
  • And the next logical sign is coordination of movements: hand - spoon / food - mouth. The child may pick up pieces of food with his fingers and bring them to his mouth or try to put a spoon in his mouth. And do it consciously, not by accident! nine0016
  • Child can sit. If he does not sit up on his own, but sits with support on an adult's lap, then this can also be considered a sign of maturity and readiness for complementary foods.
  • Extinguishing reflex. The younger the child, the more actively he pushes any object, medicine, food out of his mouth. Gradually, the ejection reflex fades away and the little person is ready to accept other consistency than milk. But in the first days of acquaintance with complementary foods, some children have a gag reflex, which is very scary for parents. Thick porridge or pieces of fruit, when hit on the middle and back of the tongue, lead to a spasm of the larynx, and the person returns the food to the front of the tongue and / or spit out the product. This is also one of the stages of development, and the faster the gag reflex fades, the more often you feed the child with complementary foods and do not take breaks in the new diet. nine0016

What to prepare for a new stage in life?

  • Your baby will definitely need a high chair and a colorful plate (with a rubber bottom or with a suction cup). Comfortable spoon, not too small and not too big, with a comfortable handle that the baby can hold in his hand. Bibs should be exactly at least two, waterproof and with a convenient lock. Lots of paper towels and a huge amount of patience.

How to start complementary foods at 5 months? nine0037

At present, there is no strictness in the sequence of introduction of certain products. The only thing children's nutritionists, pediatricians and other specialists agree on is that the child should receive the foods that are traditionally eaten in his family. If the family lives in Siberia, then the baby should try the apple earlier than the mango or blackberry.

  • The first complementary foods most often are cereals or vegetables. The baby gets acquainted with each product for 1-3 days, and after that, parents can continue to get acquainted with new types of complementary foods or expand the range within the same group. If we stretch the acquaintance with each new dish for 7-10 days, then by the age of 1 we will not have time to introduce into the diet all the food groups that the family eats every day. 3 days is the optimal period for which any parent will understand the reaction to a particular product of their child. Therefore, we boldly begin complementary foods with the appearance of all signs of readiness and teach the little person adult nutrition. nine0016
  • Acquaintance with new products is better to start in the morning or in the afternoon. This rule is conditional, and it is necessary to observe it only so that in the event of a negative food reaction (rash, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.) in response to a new dish, parents can quickly contact a specialist and receive medical assistance if necessary, which is better. do during the day, not late in the evening or at night.
  • Diet when transferring a child to an adult table must be observed. This is done so that the child is psychologically and physiologically ready for a certain interval between meals. Children do not perceive the variability of the environment well, and for harmonious development they need to follow the rituals and the usual sequence of actions of their parents: after sleep, breakfast always follows, and after a walk, lunch. Also, observing the intervals between meals allows the child to feel hunger and satiety, thereby correctly hearing the signals of his body and forming eating behavior. nine0016
  • Snacking before 1 year of age is not necessary, most infants receive on-demand breastmilk for a long time, and formula-fed infants have an optimal nutritional profile in formula, which eliminates extra meals outside of the main ones.
  • At the age of 5-6 months of age, the number of non-dairy meals should be at least 2 times a day, by 9 months the number increases to 3 times a day. Most likely it will be breakfast and lunch. Only a mother and her baby can choose the time for complementary foods, because even babies can be larks or owls. Look at the biological rhythm of your baby. If he is very sleepy by 8 in the morning and has no interest in food, then breakfast should be shifted by 9−10 in the morning, and if you have a lark, then it is likely that porridge at 7 in the morning will make it even more active and cheerful.

Which products are we introducing first?

Due to the fact that the need to introduce complementary foods is dictated by the physiological needs of the baby for additional nutrients that the baby can no longer get with breast milk / formula, then products with a high nutritional value should be chosen.

  • One of the earliest deficiencies is iron deficiency in infancy. Based on this, pediatricians recommend the first to introduce cereals, meat, fish or eggs. Previously, meat and fish were offered in complementary feeding regimens after 6-7 months of age, but studies have confirmed the benefit of early introduction of meat into the diet of children under one year old to maintain normal blood hemoglobin levels. nine0016
  • It is important that for better absorption of iron from animal products, they should be combined with vegetables rich in vitamin C (broccoli, sweet peppers or pumpkin).
  • But most parents, of course, are more accustomed to starting complementary foods with a cereal dish. Therefore, of all cereals, we choose buckwheat, the richest in trace elements and iron (7 mg / 100 g of cereal). The first porridge for the baby should be dairy-free, without additional enrichment with sugar and salt, without gluten (the protein of some cereals). Therefore, buckwheat, as well as rice and corn, are ideal for a first acquaintance. nine0016
  • Thus, porridge, vegetables and meat will be the first complementary foods on the baby's table. By 6-7 months, the child may well become familiar with all these food groups and absorb them well.
  • The volume of the dish should not exceed the conventional norm (the size of the fist of a small person ≈ 80-100 g at the beginning of the journey) and then grow with the child.

Sample menu at 5 months. for artificial owl:

6:30 - mixture.

09:30 - dairy-free porridge 80 g + mixture. nine0003

13:00 onwards - mixture.

Sample menu for 6 months for an infant-lark:

5:00 - GV.

7:30 - dairy-free porridge + GW/mixture.

10:00 − GV.
13:00 - vegetables with meat + GW / mixture.
16:00 and beyond - GW / mixture.

What not to give before 1 year

ALL food groups must be included in the menu of young children so that it is varied and complete, but a number of adult dishes should not fall on the children's table. It is important for parents to know what should be EXCLUDED from children's diet:

  • Added sugar and salt, which increases the load on the excretory system and increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in older age.
  • Honey - due to the risk of botulism.
  • Large varieties of fish (tuna, salmon) due to high mercury content.
  • Seaweed due to its high iodine content, which can disrupt thyroid function.
  • Spinach and beets, because they easily accumulate pesticides, the dose of which is toxic to children. nine0016

Where to be alert?

  • There is a group of foods with a high allergenic potential: wheat, fish, eggs, nuts, seafood and cow's milk. These foods are more likely than others to cause food allergies. But studies have shown that the introduction of food allergens in the first year of life reduces the risk of developing food allergies at an older age. Therefore, it is not necessary to sharply limit the introduction of these products, it is necessary to apply a more careful attitude to them. The introduction of any allergenic food should be against the background of the relative health of the baby, outside the day of vaccination and without the combination of other NEW foods. Within 3-5 days, mix small amounts of new into the main dish and observe the reaction. nine0016
  • But red fruits and vegetables are long gone from this list. The presence of moderate redness of the cheeks, chin after eating strawberries is not a cause for excessive concern. It is necessary to repeat the introduction of the berry in a couple of days and make sure that there is no reaction or that it is only a local short-term one.


  • In order to make a rational decision to start introducing complementary foods, parents should contact their pediatrician. There are benefits to each type of food, and according to the child's health and maturity, the pediatrician will help the loving mother make the choice. nine0016
  • Porridge is an ideal cereal product that is a rich source of energy, dietary fiber and trace elements. For the first feeding, both buckwheat and rice porridge are perfect. Specialized children's cereals are additionally enriched with a vitamin-mineral mixture, which helps to maintain a balance of nutrients in the child's diet and prevent the development of nutritional deficiencies. Baby Premium porridge for the first feeding is a lifesaver for mom, because it meets all the requirements for the transition of the child to adult nutrition, dissolves easily (without prolonged stirring and lumps) to the desired consistency and is represented by several cereals (rice, buckwheat , corn). nine0016
  • Vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins, trace elements and fiber. Vegetable purees or light vegetable soups can also be introduced first due to their low allergenic potential, good digestibility and high nutritional value. The most common FIRST vegetables are zucchini or types of cabbage (broccoli or cauliflower), but this is not a strict rule, carrots or avocados can also be offered to the child. Against the background of the introduction of vegetable puree, the child very often begins to change the chair, which is normal and natural and should not frighten parents. Vegetables should be offered to the child in larger quantities than cereals or meat, as they contain fewer calories per unit weight. If you combine vegetables and grains or vegetables and meat in one meal, then the feeling of satiety will last longer. nine0016

What YOUR choice will be is up to YOU!

#Nutrition for children up to a year #Complementary food

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How much should a child eat from birth to a year?

Children's appetites vary: some prefer to eat more often, while others refuse to eat even when it's time to feed. However, there are general rules and recommendations for the frequency and amount of infant feeding. We will figure out how much a child should eat in order to avoid malnutrition or overfeeding, how to improve the baby’s appetite and find out that he is hungry, and also dispel some myths about nutrition up to a year. Pediatrician Ekaterina Borisovna Bulavina acts as an expert on the topic. nine0161

— Ekaterina Borisovna, how does a child's appetite change with age?

— Appetite is a concept independent of age. A child is already born with an excellent appetite, and over time, only the amount of food eaten changes. Appetite depends primarily on the state of health of the child, the degree of maturity and growth phase, as well as on the type of feeding, genetic characteristics. Intensively growing baby eats with great desire; during periods of growth retardation, his appetite is somewhat reduced. But it is important to remember that refusal to eat can be caused by health problems, so a visit to the doctor in such cases should not be postponed. nine0003

Causes of loss of appetite in infants:
  • teething;
  • general malaise in ARVI, stomatitis, otitis and other diseases;
  • manifestations of atopy, i.e. an allergic condition;
  • persistent itching of the skin;
  • poor sleep;
  • changes in the taste and composition of breast milk;
  • milk formula change;
  • introduction of complementary foods;
  • vaccinations.
Pediatrician's help is required if the child's refusal to eat is accompanied by:
  • high fever;
  • rashes in the mouth;
  • general weakness and lethargy;
  • bad sleep;
  • refusal to drink;
  • weight loss;
  • increased diuresis and stool frequency.

— How to restore a child's appetite?

- Most often, the appetite returns on its own, as soon as the irritating factor ceases to act on the child. If the baby has recently been vaccinated or the loss of appetite is associated with teething, then active intervention by the mother is not required. If the child is healthy and simply does not like the offered food, the taste of milk or formula, then you can try to improve his appetite. The surest way is to let the baby get hungry. Active games, long walks in the fresh air, observance of time intervals between meals, lack of snacks usually lead to the proper result: the child quite willingly eats the offered dish. At five or six months, the baby is already ready to show interest in food - during this period, active eating behavior should be developed. Let him watch the table setting, watch adults eat, play with a spoon and a plate, try new types of food (this is the so-called pedagogical complementary foods). Such an active interest only contributes to a good appetite. nine0003

— Is there a difference in appetite between breastfed and formula-fed babies?

— There is no significant dependence of appetite on the type of feeding. Both on breastfeeding and on artificial nutrition, there are little ones and babies with a good appetite. Babies on the breast may ask to eat more often, as milk is digested faster and easier, and then it seems that the baby is hungry. Children on the mixture well withstand the prescribed intervals between feedings, and appetite has nothing to do with it.

- How can I calculate the norm of food for an infant? How much should a baby eat at 2 months, 6 months and 8 months? How much should a child eat at 1 year old?

— Special formulas are used to calculate nutrition for children up to 10 days of age. Further, the amount of food is calculated taking into account the weight of the baby.

Monthly infant food intake

  • from 10 days to 6 weeks of age - 1/5 of body weight
  • from 6 weeks to 4 months - 1/6 of body weight
  • from 4 to 6 months - 1/7 of body weight
  • from 6 to 8 months - 1/8 of body weight
  • from 8 to 12 months - 1/9 of body weight

a child of three months of age should not exceed 850 ml per day, for a four-month-old - 900 ml per day, after five months - 1 liter per day, regardless of weight, based on which the amount of food is calculated.

— How often should a child be fed?

— A breastfed baby is fed on demand, there is a special schedule for a formula-fed baby. Depending on age, the frequency of feeding changes downwards:

  • 1-3 months - meals 7 times a day, with 3 hour intervals between meals. Sometimes feeding is allowed 6 times a day with an increase in the night interval.
  • 3-6 months - meals 6 times a day at intervals of 3.5 hours.
  • 6-12 months - meals 5 times a day with daily intervals up to 4 hours, night break 6-8 hours.

— Why is overeating dangerous?

- It is almost impossible to overeat while breastfed, but formula-fed babies sometimes suffer from this. The problem usually lies in an unsuitable nipple, through which the child sucks out the prescribed portion too quickly: the satiety signal does not have time to reach the food center. The baby asks for more, and mom happily offers an addition. As a result, the resulting portion exceeds the volume of the stomach, its walls are overstretched, excess nutrition is regurgitated, the first problems with the gastrointestinal tract appear, and improper eating behavior is formed. Habitual regurgitation leads to gastroesophageal reflux disease, and heavy feeding leads to weight gain. Measures taken by the mother during and after feeding will help minimize the manifestations of reflux. nine0003

Signs that the child is overeating

  • regurgitation
  • abdominal pain
  • Frequent abundant stool
  • Pathologically high weight gain

Signs that the child is malnuted by

  • ATTENTION AND COMMUNITURE , active, inquisitive baby is unlikely to be malnourished. Lethargy, drowsiness, indifference are alarming signs. Mass growth allowance Weight and height must be appropriate for age. Therefore, it is important to visit a pediatrician in a timely manner to assess the physical and psychomotor development of the baby. Intervals between feedings If the child does not stand up to the allotted time, insistently asks to eat earlier, then most likely he is not full and his diet should be reviewed. Sleep A well-fed healthy child sleeps quite soundly and for a long time. Restless sleep may indicate malnutrition. nine0194

    The pediatrician should be contacted immediately if the child:

    • refuses any offered food, water;
    • shows signs of disease;
    • loses weight;
    • gives out dry wrinkled skin, little saliva, cries without tears;
    • has infrequent stools, infrequent urination;
    • regularly does not eat the prescribed norm;
    • asks for more food, does not eat;
    • sleeps badly, wakes up frequently and cries; nine0016
    • often spit up, he has abdominal pain, problems with stool;
    • sluggish, lags behind peers in psychomotor development.

    — Should I supplement my baby at night?

    - Night feedings are vital for a child up to 6 months of age, and should not be weaned earlier, unless the child himself sleeps peacefully all night. The child of the first months of life is not able to endure a long break in feeding. From the age of six months, you can try to wean the baby from eating at night, but the optimal age for this is after a year. nine0003

    — When to introduce complementary foods and how to combine them with infant formula and breast milk? What proportions would you like to maintain?

    - Complementary food is always offered to the baby before or instead of breast milk or formula. Complementary foods start with small portions, so the required amount of food per feeding is supplemented with breast milk or formula. Gradually, the frequency of introduction of complementary foods and its volume increase, displacing milk feedings:

    • 4-6 months - 1 feeding with complementary foods and 5 feedings with breast milk or formula; nine0016
    • 5-7 months - 2 complementary feedings;
    • 8-10 months - 3 complementary feedings;
    • after 1 year - 1-2 milk feedings, all other meals should contain complementary foods.

    — How does a child's appetite change after the first year of life?

    — After a year, physiological changes occur in the body, which largely determine the eating behavior and nutritional needs. The period of intensive growth ends, the child enters the phase of stabilization of mass growth indicators. Consequently, the energy requirement is somewhat reduced relative to the needs of a rapidly growing six to ten month old baby. Parents often notice that a child just a couple of months ago ate much more willingly. nine0003

    The spectrum of activity after a year is higher: the baby masters the process of walking, constantly explores something, it is difficult for him to concentrate on one thing and sit still. He is often distracted, including from the process of eating, often snacking on the go. And it seems that the child eats little and reluctantly at the main meals. But if you sum up all the snacks, then in the end you get a completely sufficient daily amount of food, divided into microportions. Yes, parents often notice a decrease in appetite in children after a year. However, this is due to the physiology of their growth and maturation. nine0003

    — Ekaterina Borisovna, please comment on the myths around the appetite and nutrition of babies.

    1. The baby is crying, which means he is hungry

    — This misconception concerns more natural feeding. Sleepless nights with frequent awakenings, restless intermittent sleep during the day - in such a situation, the mother tries to feed on demand, each time offering a breast, but the baby sucks a little and quits, continuing to cry. At this moment, the mother convinces herself that she does not have enough milk, the child is hungry - and runs to the store for the mixture. nine0003

    In fact, the baby may cry for various reasons: colic, headache, full diaper, uncomfortable clothes. And before you feed, as soon as he began to cry, you should try to eliminate all other causes of discomfort. The mother's delusion that there is a shortage of milk is the most common reason for switching to artificial feeding.

    2. Feeding according to the regimen is better because the child has time to get hungry

    — Each child is an individual, and a well-functioning feeding regimen for one baby may not be suitable for another. The child may want to eat half an hour earlier, and an hour earlier (or later) than the due date. This does not mean that he has to cry all this hour if the feeding time has not yet come and the mother is trying to keep the regimen. While the mother maintains the prescribed interval, the child experiences stress, which negatively affects his development and eating habits. If the child often asks for food, it may be worth reconsidering his diet. It's best to ask your pediatrician about this. nine0003

    3. In the case of on-demand feeding, having become accustomed to calming down at the breast, the baby will then all the time seize stress breasts as soon as they are hungry. But if the mother tries to feed the baby more so that he sleeps longer, she does him a disservice: this is how the body gets used to making reserves, because the next feeding is not soon. nine0003

    4. The baby lacks nutrients, and the sooner you start complementary foods, the better

    — Indeed, earlier apple juice was introduced into the child's diet almost from two months. But it has long been scientifically proven that there is no benefit from this. Modern ideas about the timing and products of the first complementary foods are based on numerous studies. And the young mother should follow exactly them, and not grandmother's advice on the benefits of semolina in two months.

    5. The baby puts on weight “incorrectly”

    — I often hear about well-fed babies that they are “thin”, but neighboring children, for example, weigh ten kilograms at five months. Whether weight gain and height correspond to physiological norms can only be assessed by a pediatrician using special centile tables. And it is wrong to draw premature conclusions only on the basis of a visual examination of the child and its comparison with others.

    - To summarize. How to understand that the baby is full? nine0003

    - Observe his behavior. As saturation increases, swallowing movements become less frequent, replaced by sucking. A well-fed baby himself stops sucking at the breast or bottle. If the feeding is delayed and the mother doubts whether the child has eaten, it is worth trying to take the breast - a well-fed baby easily releases it from his mouth, a hungry baby is naughty, makes search movements with his fingers.

    It is worth remembering that the breast for a child is not only a source of nutrition, but also a means of comfort, a guarantee of safety. Babies can hang at the breast for a long time, and this does not always mean that they are hungry. If the mother is in doubt, you can try to calm the child in another way. A well-fed baby will most likely fall asleep, a hungry baby will insistently demand a breast and calm down only when he receives it again. After saturation, the child usually falls asleep or continues to stay awake in a good mood, smiles at his mother, and coos.

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