How Much Should Baby Eat During the First Year?

How much should Baby eat? Use the chart below to see how often an infant should be eating month-by-month, through the first year.

If you’re a parent, you know: So many questions pop up between doctor visits. How much should my baby eat? How do I know if she’s hungry or eating enough? Can he drink water? This quick guide explains how much your kiddo should eat, from newborn stage until age one.

To start, let’s decode your baby’s cues surrounding food.

What Are My Baby’s Hunger Cues?

Your baby is constantly giving you cues whether he’s hungry or full. Each baby is unique and as a parent, you will know best what your baby is trying to tell you. Here are some general cues babies give as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Hungry babies up to 6 months old may put hands to their mouths; turn heads towards the bottle or mom’s breast; smack, lick or pucker their lips; cry or have clenched fists

  • Full babies up to 6 months old may close their mouths, turn their head away from a bottle or mom or relax their little hands

  • Hungry babies 6 to 12 months old may reach or point to food, open their mouths when offered food, get excited at the sight of food, or use hand motions and sounds to let you know they are still hungry

  • Full babies 6 to 12 months old may push food away, turn their heads away or close their mouths from food when offered, or use hand motions and sounds to let you know they’re full

How can you tell if your baby is well nourished? Your baby should:

  • Lose no more than 7% of their body weight in the first few days after birth and then start to steadily gain weight

  • Have one to two bowel movements a day and at least six wet diapers daily as an infant

  • Seem satisfied and happy between feedings

How Much Should My Baby Be Eating?

Now that we know the cues to look for, how much should a baby be eating in the first year of life? Download our printable chart to keep this info on hand.

  • Birth to 4 Months Old: This is the time for bottle- or breastfeeding only.

    • Breastfeeding: 8-12+ feedings daily, allowing your baby to decide how much milk at each feeding

    • Formula feeding:

      • 1 month: 6-8 feedings daily with 2-4 ounces of formula at each feeding

      • 2 months: 5-6 feedings daily with 5-6 ounces at each feeding

      • 3-4 months: 5-6 feedings daily with 6-7 ounces at each feeding

  • 4 to 6 Months Old: You’ll be primarily bottle- or breastfeeding, but you can start introducing foods if your baby is ready. (This is how you’ll know.) Not a problem if she isn’t! In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months.

    • Breast milk and formula feeding: 4-6 feedings per day or 28-32 ounces per day

    • Solid foods:

      • Cereals: 3-5 tablespoons per day of single grain cereal like this, made soupy with formula or breast milk

      • Fruits: 1-2 tablespoons of plain, strained fruit one to two times per day

      • Vegetables: 1-2 tablespoons of plain, strained vegetables one to two times per day

  • 6 to 8 Months Old: Start to introduce solids if you haven’t already, in addition to formula and/or breast milk. Here’s the best way to introduce your baby to solid foods. Finger foods and cups can be started now, too.

    • Breast milk and formula feeding: 3-5 feedings per day or 24-32 ounces daily

    • Solid foods:

      • Cereal: 4-6 tablespoons per day of single grain cereal, made with formula or breast milk

      • Fruits: 3-4 tablespoons of plain, strained fruit one to two times per day

      • Vegetables: 3-4 tablespoons of plain, strained vegetables one to two times per day

      • Protein: 1-2 tablespoons of plain, strained protein food of a single kind one to two times per day

      • Snacks/Juices: Toast, crackers and yogurt; 2-4 ounces of 100% fruit juice if you’d like (though it adds no nutritional benefit)

  • 8 to 10 months: It’s time to start weaning from bottle- and breastfeeding and increasing solid foods. You can even try making baby food at home!

    • Breast milk and formula feeding: 3-5 feedings per day or 24-32 ounces daily

    • Solid foods:

      • Cereal: 4-6 tablespoons per day of single grain cereal, made with formula or breast milk
      • Fruits: 3-4 tablespoons of plain, pureed, chopped, or mashed fruit one to two times per day

      • Vegetables: 3-4 tablespoons of plain, pureed, chopped or mashed vegetables one to two times per day

      • Protein: 2-3 tablespoons of plain, pureed, chopped or mashed protein food of a single kind (think meats, yogurt, cheese, legumes, eggs or fish) one to two times per day

      • Snacks/Juices: Toast, crackers and other finger foods that turn to mush; 2-4 ounces of 100% fruit juice if you’d like (though it adds no nutritional benefit)

  • 10 to 12 months: It’s time to include more table foods here—and Baby can start feeding himself and using spoons.

    • Breast milk and formula feeding: 3-4 feedings per day or 24-30 ounces daily

    • Solid foods:

      • Cereal: 6-8 tablespoons per day of single grain cereal, made with formula or breast milk
      • Fruits: 2-4 tablespoons of plain, pureed, chopped or mashed fruit twice per day

      • Vegetables: 2-4 tablespoons of plain, pureed, chopped, bite-sized or mashed vegetables twice per day

      • Protein: 2-3 tablespoons of plain, pureed, chopped or mashed protein of any kind twice per day

      • Starches: ¼-½ cup mashed potatoes, macaroni, spaghetti or bread twice per day

      • Snacks/Juices: toast, crackers and other finger foods that turn to mush; 4-6 ounces of 100% fruit juice if you’d like (though it adds no nutritional benefit)

Hopefully this list will help alleviate some new-parent stress. You may also find our guide to baby food stages helpful. And, as always, be sure to run any questions or changes to baby’s feeding schedule past your pediatrician. You’ve got this!

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Christina Manian, RDN
Christina Manian is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist based out of Boulder, Colorado. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, she has been involved with the nutrition departments of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Mass General Hospital. She completed her nutrition education at the Mayo Clinic with a focus on medical nutrition therapy and most recently practiced clinical nutrition at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. While her background has largely been in the clinical setting, Christina embraces and is shifting her focus towards wellness nutrition as the backbone to optimum health.