How Much Should Your Baby Eat?

Short answer: it’s hard to say.

But I can provide some answer. 

Remember, before a year of age, your baby mostly needs breastmilk (or formula) and solids are just an extra thing. Some babies do eat a lot more solids than others, and that’s totally fine!

When you’re just starting out with solids (6 months), your baby can really only handle a few ounces of solid food at a time. But as they get older, they can handle a bit more. 

Here is a little graphic that I thought was helpful. (Source)Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 12.31.28 PM

As you know, everyone is different, and that includes babies. They don’t sleep the same amount, talk the same amount, or eat the same amount. So this whole post, this whole website, is filled with guidelines, not hard and fast rules. 

At the end of the day, you know your baby. If he has been in the 5th percentile for weight, he should stay around the 5th percentile as he grows. If he’s in the 95th percentile, he should stay around the 95th percentile. So a 95th percentile baby might eat a tray full of food 3 times a day on top of regular nursing sessions. My baby, for example, eats about a baby fistful of food 3 times a day on top of regular nursing sessions. He’s been around the 50th percentile for weight since he was born, and he was in the 50th percentile about a month ago.

Something else to consider is your own eating habits. Some days, I am insatiable. I could eat and drink 6+ meals and not feel satisfied. Other days, I’m just not hungry for some reason (usually if my mind is on other things). My baby is going through crazy stuff on a regular basis. A tooth might be trying to push through. Perhaps he’s going through a mental leap in his development. Maybe he is about to master a new skill, like running, talking, or signing. All of those things can drastically change how much he eats on a certain day. 

Give it time, wait it out, he will get back to his normal.

My point is this: You know your baby better than anyone. If your baby is not losing weight, going through enough pee/poo diapers*, and seems generally happy, he is doing just fine! Go with your mama instinct. It’s almost always right. 

 

*There should be 4-5 wet diapers a day, and there should be a poop diaper no less than once every 10 days (that’s the far end of that spectrum).

  • Sharlee Hatch

    My biggest worry about this is that I will WANT to wean most likely at around 18 months and start the process gradually so a few months before, but my baby does not seem interested in solids (almost 8 months old). Do you have any thoughts on this?

    • blwideas

      I’m a little confused. You want to start solids around 18 months? Or you mean weaning from nursing at 18 months?

      • Sharlee Hatch

        Haha… Weaning from nursing. I know it’s a long way off but she’s not interested at all really. Puts it in her mouth/pushes it out. I just worry she might not start taking in enough food in order for me to gradually wean after a year or so.

        • blwideas

          Okay that’s kind of what I was thinking!

          I totally understand where you are coming from. Can I ask why you want to wean at 18 months? That’s not what your question is, so if you don’t want to share, that’s okay!

          I think that, as cliche as it sounds, it will all work out. If she is hungry, she will eat. And if mama milk is no more, she’ll just have to start eating more solids! But I honestly see it as a dance… you guys will work it out. You will start to notice that she’s eating more and nursing less, and then you can gradually offer the boob a little less and less OR only give boob when she asks for it.

          My only child is only 15 months now, but I just go with the flow on all this. So I don’t have any experience with this yet! I just read about this stuff a lot in some of the Facebook groups I’m in.

          Hopefully I answered the question! Haha. Good luck!