Baby Feeding Timeline

Excellent nutrition early in life. What could be more important? Learn about feeding from birth through toddlerhood.

Tiny newborns have different nutritional needs than older infants. And growing toddlers have different requirements, too. Read on for helpful feeding guidelines from the first day through the first few years.

Newborn Feeding

  • Baby nutrition should come from breast milk and/or formula only.
  • Feed on demand, according to your baby's hunger cues; the amounts shown are a guide.
  • Don't try to force your baby to finish a bottle when he is full.
Newborn Feeding: Birth - 3 Months
Breast Milk
Every 2-3 hours (8-12 feedings per day), on demand.
Formula
Every 3-4 hours (6-8 feedings per day), on demand, about 2-3 ounces per feeding.
Grains
None
Fruit and Vegetables
None
Dairy, Meat and Poultry
None

Infant Feeding

  • At 4-6 months, once your baby can sit with support, hold her head upright, and show interest in food, introduce semi-solid foods.
  • Feed one new food every 3-5 days, and watch for signs of allergy, like rash, diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Do not introduce fruit juices during the first 6 months. Then, limit fruit juice to 4-6 fl oz of 100% juice per day.
  • Avoid adding sugar or salt to foods.
  • At about 8 months, begin feeding your baby finger foods that she can pick up and feed herself. Plan for a mess and be patient.
  • Never give infants raisins, nuts, popcorn or small, hard pieces of food, as these can be choking hazards. And remember, do not give honey to a baby under one year.
  • Continue feeding your baby breast milk or formula. These intakes will decrease some as your baby consumes more solid foods.
Infant Feeding: 4-6 Months
Breast Milk
On demand about 6-8 feedings per day.
Formula
4-5 feedings per day, 5-7 fl oz per feeding.
Grains
Start baby on iron-fortified rice or barley cereal mixed with breast milk or formula.
Fruit and Vegetables
Introduce a single pureed fruit or vegetable and feed it for 3-5 days before starting another.
Dairy, Meat and Poultry
Pureed meats.
 
Infant Feeding: 6-9 Months
Breast Milk
On demand about 4-6 feedings per day.
Formula
4-5 feedings per day, 6-8 fl oz per feeding (up to a maximum of about 32 fl oz a day).
Grains
Start finger foods that have more texture, like oat ceareal o's or toast fingers.
Fruit and Vegetables
Pureed or mashed fruits and vegetables.
Dairy, Meat and Poultry
Yogurt, pureed or finely ground meats and chicken.

Toddler Feeding

  • After the first year, you'll probably notice a decline in your toddler's appetite. Don't worry, her growth rate is slowing and she doesn't require as much food.
  • Toddlers may need repeated exposures to new foods before accepting them. If he refuses a food, don't give up or show disappointment; just offer it again another day.
  • Toddlers need about 1,000 calories a day. Since they eat toddler-sized portions, offer 3 meals and 3 snacks daily.
  • Give your toddler water for thirst. Avoid giving too much fruit juice—it's loaded with sugar. Serve less than 4-6 ounces of juice a day.
  • Feed a variety of food from the 4 basic food groups below:
Toddler Feeding: 9-12 Months
Breast Milk
On demand about 4 or more feedings per day.
Formula
4 feedings per day, 6-8 fl oz per feeding (about 24-32 fl oz a day).
Grains
Fortified cereal grains (3 Tbsp portions), including finger foods like crackers.
Fruit and Vegetables
4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day (2-4 Tbsp).
Dairy, Meat and Poultry
1 serving of yogurt or finely chopped meat or poultry (2-4 Tbsp).
 
Toddler Feeding: 1-2 Years
Milk and Other Dairy
16-24 fl oz whole cow's milk per day (offer yogurt and other dairy products, as well).
Grains
Fortified cereals, breads, crackers, rice, pasta (a portion is 3-4 Tbsp, 2 crackers or 1/2 slice bread).
Fruit and Vegetables
About 1-2 cups of fruits and vegetables divided over a day.
Meat, Fish, Poultry and Eggs
1-2 servings of lean meat, eggs, fish, poultry or cooked dried beans per day. A serving can be 3-4 Tbsp.
 
Toddler Feeding: 2-3 Years
Milk and Other Dairy
16 fl oz low-fat or skim cow's milk per day (offer low-fat yogurt and other dairy products, as well).
Grains
Fortified cereals, breads, crackers, rice, pasta as appetite demands.
Fruit and Vegetables
About 2-3 cups of fruits and vegetables divided over a day.
Meat, Fish, Poultry and Eggs
2 servings of lean meat, eggs, fish, poultry or cooked dried beans per day. A serving can be 3-4 Tbsp.