The Rubber Spoon: Infant Feeding Guide

I’m no expert at infant feeding. That’s my Mom. What I do know is how to research. Jack, now 2.5 years old, is a great eater. He started using sippy cups at six months. Eagerly accepted finger foods. Was weaned from the bottle by one. Never ate pureed meat from a jar. And still eats vegetables. Still. I credit my Mom’s background and my addiction to providing the right tools to our mealtime successes.

Last week we started four-month-old Ella on infant rice cereal, after the pediatrician gave us a thumbs up. Despite my fanatical feeding guidelines with Jack just two years ago, I had completely forgotten the rules. What to give and when. Portion sizes. First foods.

So, I dusted off the books and outlined Ella’s first year with foods:

“Until four months, your baby’s diet should consist of breastmilk and/or formula (with iron), but by four to six months, you can begin adding solid foods. Talk with your pediatrician at the four-month check up to see when she feels your infant should begin eating solid foods.” – American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)*

Ella's first taste of food. She liked.

Four to Six Months

The AAP suggests introducing just one new food at time, and waiting at least four days before starting another to determine any allergies.

Start with 1 teaspoon of semi-liquid iron fortified cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula, then increase to 1 tablespoon of cereal, and start introducing pureed vegetables and fruits.

The AAP recommends that within 2 – 3 months of starting solids, your infant’s daily diet should include breastmilk or formula, cereal, vegetables and fruits, distributed among three meals.

Sample Menu
Formula/Breastmilk: 24 – 36 oz. (5 – 7 oz. every 4 – 5 hours)

- Early morning: 5 - 7 oz. formula/breastmilk
- Breakfast: ¼ cup infant cereal mixed with formula/breastmilk
- Morning snack: 5 - 7 oz. formula/breastmilk
- Lunch: ½ jar (1/4 cup) pureed vegetable
- Afternoon snack: 5 – 7 oz. formula/breastmilk
- Dinner: ¼ cup infant cereal, ½ jar (1/4 cup) pureed fruit
- Bedtime: 5 - 7 oz. formula/breastmilk
- Water

Six to Eight Months

I hate pureed meats. Makes me gag. So in order to meet the protein requirements in Jack’s diet when he was an infant (and my plans for Ella), I served cottage cheese, yogurt and cooked/mashed tofu or beans until he could swallow shredded chicken, ground turkey and cubed cheese.

I also began introducing a sippy cup at six months. Helped ease the bottle dependency and increase the interest in solids. I started with water, then some formula. Once he had it mastered, I slowly cut out bottles by replacing bottle feedings with formula in sippy cups at mealtimes. Around nine months, he was only having a bottle nightcap.

Sample Menu
Formula/Breastmilk: 20 – 32 oz. (3 – 5 feedings)

- Early morning: 4 – 6 oz. formula/breastmilk
- Breakfast: 1.5 tablespoons infant cereal
- Morning snack: 4 – 6 oz. formula/breastmilk
- Lunch: Jar (½ cup) pureed fruit and ½ cup yogurt
- Afternoon snack: 4 – 6 oz. formula/breastmilk
- Dinner: 1.5 tablespoons infant cereal and jar pureed vegetable
- Bedtime: 6 – 7 oz. formula/breastmilk

Eight to Twelve Months

Finger foods! Once baby can sit, it’s time to learn self-feeding. The AAP believes most infants can begin learning around eight months.

Finger foods include: Well-cooked sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots or peas, small pieces of bread, wafer-type cookies, crackers, cheerios, Gerber puffs, scrambled egg, banana, strawberries, peaches, pears, pasta, rice, ground turkey, etc. 

Sample Menu
Formula/Breastmilk: 16 – 32 oz. (2 -3 feedings)

- Breakfast: ½ cup infant cereal or scrambled egg and 4 – 6 oz. formula/breastmilk
- Morning snack: 4 – 7 oz. formula/breastmilk, ½ cup cubed cheese
- Lunch: 1 cup fruit, 1 cup yogurt and water
- Afternoon Snack: 7 – 8 oz. formula/breastmilk and crackers
- Dinner: 1 cup vegetable, ½ cup noodles or rice and 4 – 6 oz. formula/breastmilk
- Bedtime: 6 – 8 oz. bottle

Keep in mind this is my sample menu, and all babies are different. Just offering a guide for you to do with what you want. Email me your successes or suggestions, tinymittensecrets@gmail.com. Would love to hear!

For what NOT to feed your baby or toddler, visit my pervious post about it.

And stay tuned for my Toddler Feeding Guide to help encourage and keep healthy eating habits. Now as Jack would say, "cheers!"

The American Academy of Pediatrics Caring for Your Baby and Young Child (birth to age 5)
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Feeding Your Baby & Toddler
Babycenter.com’s Age-by-Age Feeding Guide 

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