Baby Growth and Nutrition: How and why your baby's diet should change throughout the first year.

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Approximately 75% of your baby's brain growth takes place in the first year. His vision starts blurry, but by 6 months he’ll see the world as you do. His immune system, not fully developed at birth, continues to strengthen as well. Proper nutrition drives all of these advancements.

A varied diet helps your baby develop and stay healthy, but these needs change as he grows. By providing the following foods and nutrients in the timeframes listed, you'll be giving your baby the nutrition needed to develop a strong mind and body during the first year. For more information on providing the right first-year nutrition, call FeedingExpert on 800-986-8800.

Breast milk or formula1,2,3

Birth–1 week 6–10 feedings of 2–3 fl oz each

1 week–1 month 7–8 feedings of 2–4 fl oz each

1–3 months 5–6 feedings of 4–5 fl oz each

3–6 months 4–5 feedings of 6–7 fl oz each

6–9 months 3–4 feedings of 7–8 fl oz each

9–12 months 3 feedings of 7–8 fl oz each

WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES

Breast milk or formula forms the cornerstone of nutrition in this first year, providing the protein, fat, calcium, vitamins, and minerals your baby needs.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Nutrients in breast milk or formula enable your baby to develop a strong immune system, and support brain, muscle, bone, and organ growth.

Cow's-milk-based foods

10–12 months 1 serving (1/2 cup yogurt or 3/4 oz cheese)

WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES

  • Whole-milk yogurt
  • Cheese
  • At 12 months, introduce whole milk (according to AAP)

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Provides calcium, vitamins A and D, and protein for growing strong bones

Grains and cereals

4–6 months 3–4 Tbsp

6–12 months 4 Tbsp or more

WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES

  • Iron-fortified baby cereals, starting with single-grain cereals first
  • Finger foods, such as teething biscuits, pasta, puffs, and bread
  • At 8–12 months, introduce crackers

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Offers complex carbohydrates, vitamins (B complex), minerals (zinc and magnesium), and fiber your infant needs to fuel activity such as rolling, crawling, and walking

Vegetables

6–8 months 1 Tbsp per meal, working up to 4–5 Tbsp per day

8–10 months 4 Tbsp or more

10–12 months 4–8 Tbsp

WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES

  • Strained vegetables from 6–8 months
  • At 8 months, introduce vegetable pieces the size of child's thumbnail with the consistency of canned cooked carrots

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Delivers vitamins A, B, and C, trace minerals, fiber, and protein. Vitamin C helps absorb iron. Vitamin B strengthens the immune system and nervous system and helps with muscle and cell growth. Vitamin A helps with vision, while fiber assists with elimination.

Fruit

6–8 months 1 Tbsp per meal, working up to 4–5 Tbsp per day

8–10 months 4 Tbsp or more

10–12 months 8–12 Tbsp

WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES

  • Strained fruits or Stage 1 fruits
  • At 8 months, introduce cooked fruit pieces, the size of child's thumbnail or smaller, with the consistency of a baked apple

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Provides vitamins and fiber important to digestive well-being and overall health

Meat/Protein

8–10 months 1 Tbsp

10–12 months 2–4 Tbsp

WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES

Cooked, pureed meats or poultry, cheese cubes, tofu, or egg yolk

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Ensures the protein (as well as iron, B vitamins, and zinc) needed to build muscle

Water

4–12 months 4 oz or more

WHAT ARE GOOD SOURCES

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Water is important for staying hydrated to help keep the excretory system functioning properly. It also helps your baby develop a taste for this basic necessity

1Daily frequency and volume of feeding represent averages based on estimated caloric intake of babies 0 to 12 months.
2If breastfeeding, your baby's intake might differ from the amounts shown in this table. If your baby usually breastfeeds for 10 minutes or more but no longer than 60 minutes, she is likely getting enough breast milk. Let your baby, not the clock, determine how long feeding lasts.
3The best way to feed your baby is to allow him to take as much as he seems to need. If he's fussy and hasn't been fed in more than two hours, it's probably time for a feeding.