Baby Feeding Schedule (Feeding Guide)—From Birth to 3 Years

image001Introducing new foods to babies is both and exciting and confusing time for parents and babies. Having a baby feeding schedule can help give you a guideline to know what and how much to feed your baby during their first years of life. Some babies eat a little more and some eat a little less. Always check with your pediatrician before starting to feed your baby.

The only thing you need to keep in mind is that babies should not have any foods that are allergenic prior to one year of age. These include peanut or peanut products, fish, and eggs. It is always best to check with your pediatrician when to introduce these foods. Learn what foods to feed and how much to feed your baby: from birth to 3 years of age.

Baby Feeding Schedule —1 to 12 Month

0 to 4 Months Baby Feeding Schedule

Signs of Hunger

Displays “rooting reflex.” Turns head inward searching for nipple.

Foods to Introduce

Formula or breast milk ONLY

Amount of Feeding

Newborns need to be feed on demand by breastfeeding and every few hours by formula feeding.

  • For breast fed baby’s, you will want to check the following things to see if your baby is getting enough breast milk. 1) Baby is relaxed after feeding; 2) Breasts are softened and less full; 3) Your baby has a steady weight gain each week; 4) Three bowel movements a day; 5) Five to Six wet diapers daily.
  • For Formula-fed babies, feed about 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight each day. Around the first few weeks of life, a 7 pound infant will need about 17.5 ounces of formula. Start with 1.5 ounces per day and work up to 3 ounces.

Feeding Tips

Stick to only Breast milk or formula at this time. Your baby’s tummy won’t be able to digest solid foods until after the 4 month mark.

Watch a video for more tips on formula feeding schedule for 1-4 month baby:

4 to 6 Months Baby Feeding Schedule

When you introduce new foods to your baby, it can pretty much be in any order. Cereal is normally given before anything else in the U.S., but there is no problem with giving strained vegetables or fruit first. You can even start a little tofu as early as 6 months.

Signs Baby Is Ready For Solid Foods

  • Holds own head up well
  • Sits up in highchair
  • Mimics chewing with mouth
  • Birth weight has at least doubled
  • Curious about the food you are eating
  • Closes lips when a spoon is placed on tongue
  • Holds food in mouth instead of pushing it back out
  • Baby is taking up to 40 ounces a day and still hungry

Foods to Introduce

Start with formula or breast milk, and add soft pureed foods including; iron fortified rice cereal, squash, sweet potatoes, applesauce, pears, peaches and bananas.

Amount of Feeding

  • 1 teaspoon of cereal mixed with 4 to 5 teaspoons of formula or breast milk
  • 1 teaspoon of pureed fruits or vegetables
  • As baby tolerates, start increasing to 1 tablespoon of each. Work up to twice daily with solid feedings.

Feeding Tips

  • If baby refuses or hesitates, try solid feedings again in a few days
  • Only introduce one new food at a time and feed that one food for a few days to watch for food intolerances.
  • Have the right equipment such as; small rubber tipped spoon, bib and small dish.

Watch a video for more tips on breastfeeding schedule for 4-6 month baby:

Watch a video for more tips on formula feeding schedule for 4-6 month baby:

6 to 8 Months Baby Feeding Schedule

Signs Baby Is Ready for New Solids

Same as above

Foods to Introduce

Start with Breast milk or formula, and add:

  • Strained or pureed fruits including; peaches, apricots, pears, applesauce, bananas, etc.
  • Strained or pureed vegetables such as; peas, carrots, sweet potato, squash, etc.
  • Mashed avocado
  • Mashed tofu
  • Strained baby meats including; chicken, turkey, veal, beef or pork
  • Non-milk yogurt such as soy yogurt
  • Mashed or pureed beans including; pinto, kidney, black beans or navy beans
  • Iron fortified baby cereal including; rice, barley, wheat and oats.

Amount of Feeding

  • Fruit. Start with 1 teaspoon and work up to ¼ to ½ cup split into 3 feedings
  • Vegetables. Start with 1 teaspoon and work up to ¼ to ½ cup split into 3 feedings
  • Cereal. Start with 3 tablespoons per day and work up to 9 tablespoons split into 3 feedings

Feeding Tips

  • Continue to introduce only one new food every time and feed only that food over a few days to watch for food intolerances or allergies.
  • Your baby’s stools may start to become more solid and formed. Make sure you are offering enough fluids and fiber to prevent constipation.
  • Even though baby is eating solids, they still need 2.5 ounces of formula for each pound of body weight. For example; if baby weighs 14 pounds, they need about 32 to 36 ounces of formula each day. It is okay to count the amount you use to mix their cereal.

8 to 10 Months Baby Feeding Schedule

Signs That Baby Is Ready For Finger Foods

Signs of readiness are the same as above and watch for:

  • Baby picks up objects with forefinger and thumb in the “pincer grasp” maneuver
  • Transfers toys or objects between both hands
  • Starts mouthing toys and places random objects into mouth
  • Mimics chewing

Foods to Introduce

Start with Breast milk or formula and add:

  • Soft cheeses including; cream cheese and cottage cheese
  • Mashed fruit such as; banana, applesauce, peaches, pears and apricot
  • Mashed vegetables; avocado, peas, carrots, green beans and squash
  • Well mashed protein foods including; pureed chicken, turkey, beef and pork. Mashed Tofu, very cooked mashed beans and flaked soft fish.
  • Add finger foods that are well cut up to prevent choking including; spiral pasta, banana pieces, well-cooked carrots, well-cooked potatoes, teething biscuits and toasted bagels.
  • Continue with servings of iron fortified baby cereals including; rice, barley, oats and mixed varieties.

Amount of Feeding

  • Cereal. ¼ to ½ Cup per day
  • Fruit. ¼ to ½ Cup per day
  • Vegetables. ¼ to ½ Cup per day
  • Protein Foods. 1/8 to ¼ Cup per day
  • Dairy Foods. ½ ounce for cheeses or ¼ to ⅓ milk product

Feeding Tips

  • Watch your baby closely with finger foods and make sure they are cut up small to prevent choking.
  • Continue to introduce new foods one at a time for a few days to watch for allergies

Watch a video for more: 9 month old baby what to feed and feeding tips

10 to 12 Months Baby Feeding Schedule

Signs Baby Is Ready For New Solids

Same as above and watch for signs of readiness below:

  • Can swallow foods without gagging or choking
  • More teeth are beginning to erupt
  • No longer spits food out by pushing forward with tongue
  • Grabs spoon and attempts to feed self

Foods to Introduce

Continue with formula or breast milk, and add:

  • Pasteurized cheeses that are soft including; cottage cheese and cream cheese
  • Mashed fruits, but can start trying cubed or cut-up fruit
  • Vegetables well-cooked cut up into pieces
  • Soft foods including; mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, casseroles
  • Protein foods such as; mashed meats, tofu, and beans
  • Continue finger foods as above and add; scrambled eggs, crackers and cereal shaped like O’s
  • Continue with iron fortified baby cereal; rice, barley, oat and mixed cereal

Amount of Feeding

  • Dairy. ½ of cheese or ⅓ Cup all other dairy
  • Fruit. ¼ to ½ Cup
  • Vegetable. ¼ to ½ Cup
  • Protein. ⅛ to ¼ Cup
  • Cereal. ¼ to ½ Cup
  • Combination foods. ⅛ to ¼ Cup

Feeding Tips

  • If your baby is under 12 months old, wait to give cow’s milk until after the first birthday
  • Never give honey to a child under 1 year of age
  • Continue to introduce only one new food at a time for a few days to watch for food allergies

Baby Feeding Schedule —2 to 3 Years Old

12 to 24 Months Baby Feeding Schedule

Signs Baby Is Ready For Table Foods

Baby can use a spoon

Foods to Introduce

  • Whole milk and other dairy (cottage cheese, full-fat yogurt and soft pasteurized cheese)
  • Table foods the rest of the family is eating, but mashed or cut into small pieces
  • Iron-fortified cereals: rice, wheat, oats, barley, mixed cereals
  • Other grains: pasta, whole wheat bread, rice
  • Vegetables: cauliflower and broccoli (well-cooked)
  • Fruits: melon, grapefruit, apricot, papaya
  • Protein: eggs; boneless fish; ground or cut-up meat and poultry; tofu; beans; very thin peanut butter on bread
  • Non-citrus juice and citrus
  • With pediatrician’s okay, you can now add honey

Amount of Feeding

  • Dairy. 2 cups (1 cup yogurt of milk, 1 1/2 oz. natural cheese)
  • Fruit. 1Cup
  • Vegetable. 1 Cup
  • Protein. 2 oz.
  • Grains. 3 oz. (whole grains takes a half)

Feeding Tips

Continue to watch out for food allergies and choking

24 to 36 Months Baby Feeding Schedule

Signs That Child Is Ready For Table Foods

  • Child is proficient with spoon feeding self
  • Child can tell you what he or she wants to eat and makes food choices

Foods to Introduce

  • After the first birthday baby needs whole cow’s milk until age 2, after the second birthday you can switch to a lower fat version with pediatricians okay.
  • Pasteurized dairy products; soft cheeses, yogurt, cottage cheese
  • Table foods the rest of the family is eating, but mashed or cut into small pieces
  • Cereal that is fortified with iron
  • Whole grain breads and pasta
  • Fruits as above, add mango
  • Vegetables as above
  • Proteins as above
  • Honey
  • You can start dried fruit like raisins and dates, just soak them in a liquid to soften them a little. They can pose a choking hazard.
  • Fruit/Vegetable juices (Never put these in a bottle, always use a “sippy” cup when awake. May cause tooth decay)

Amount of Feeding

  • Dairy. 2 Cups milk, 1 ½ ounces cheese
  • Grains. 4 to 5 ounces including; 1 slice of bread = 1 ounce, ¼ Cup rice, pasta or cereal
  • Fruit. 1 to 1 ½ Cups
  • Vegetables. 1 to 1 ½ Cups
  • Proteins. 3 to 4 ounces including; 1 ounce meat, 1 egg or ¼ Cup beans.

Feeding Tips

  • It used to be said to watch for egg or peanut allergies in young children and not give any young child eggs or peanut butter. Pediatricians now state that it is okay to give these after one year, but still give them one at a time over a few day period to watch for allergic reactions.
  • Never give juices in a bottle or before sleep. Always give juices in a cup when child is fully awake. This helps to prevent tooth decay.
  • Use caution with foods that are choking hazards. These include; grapes, nuts, raisins or dried fruits, chips and popcorn. Grapes need to be chopped into very small quarters. Dried fruits can be soaked in liquid to soften. Nuts and popcorn should not be given to very young children.