As a parent, you want to ensure that your baby gets the right nutrition to support their growth and development. One key aspect of this is ensuring that your baby’s food portions are appropriate for their age and stage of development. Here, we will explore the importance of food portions for babies and provide you with a helpful guide based on information from the NHS.
Introducing solid foods to your baby is an exciting milestone, but it’s important to remember that their tummies are still small and developing. The amount of food they need may vary depending on their age, weight, and activity level. The NHS recommends that you start with small amounts of food and gradually increase the portion size as your baby grows.
6 months onwards:
At around 6 months of age, your baby will be ready to start solids. You can begin with a few teaspoons of pureed or mashed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and rice or cereal or one to two soft finger foods such as fruits and vegetables. You can offer this once a day, at a time that suits you and your baby, and gradually increase the frequency to three meals a day by the time your baby is 8-9 months old.
As your baby gets older, their portion sizes will naturally increase. By the time your baby is 1 year old, they should be eating three small meals a day, along with breast milk or formula. The NHS advises that your baby’s diet should include a variety of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, starchy foods like bread, pasta, or potatoes, protein-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs, or beans, and dairy foods like cheese or yoghurt.
It’s important to note that babies have different appetites and hunger cues, and they may not always finish everything on their plate. Your baby will let you know when they are full by turning their head away, pushing food away, or losing interest in eating. It’s essential to respect their cues and not force them to eat more than they want.
Here’s a rough guide to help you understand appropriate portion sizes for your baby:
- 6-7 months: Start with a few teaspoons of pureed or mashed foods, gradually increasing to 1-2 tablespoons per meal.
- 7-9 months: Offer 2-4 tablespoons of each type of food per meal, increasing as your baby shows interest and hunger cues.
- 9-12 months: Offer 3-5 tablespoons of each type of food per meal, gradually increasing portion sizes as your baby’s appetite grows.
Remember, these are general guidelines, and your baby’s appetite and needs may vary. Always observe your baby’s hunger cues and adjust portion sizes accordingly.
It’s also important to consider the texture of the food you offer to your baby. As your baby gets older and more confident with eating, you can gradually introduce lumpy or mashed foods to encourage chewing and promote oral development. Be sure to monitor your baby closely during mealtime to ensure they are swallowing and managing the textures well.
In addition to portion sizes, it’s essential to pay attention to the range of foods you offer to your baby. Offer a variety of foods from all food groups to provide a well-balanced diet and meet your baby’s nutritional needs. Avoid salty, sugary or processed foods and opt for fresh, whole foods whenever possible.
In conclusion, understanding appropriate food portions for your baby is crucial for their healthy growth and development. Start with small amounts of pureed or mashed foods and gradually increase portion sizes as your baby grows. Pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues and adjust portion sizes accordingly. Remember to offer a variety of foods from all food groups and monitor your baby’s progress closely. By following these guidelines, you can help your little one establish healthy eating habits that will benefit them throughout
Need more support?
Check out our:
- Recorded or Live Weaning Masterclass. Dr. Kirsty presents an interactive, informative and practical session to help you to support your baby through the weaning process. You will leave the session with a range of actions you can instantly begin to implement to help you master feeding your baby.
- Online Winning at Weaning course. This online course aims to equip you with the skills and confidence to guide your baby through the weaning journey from the very first tastes to help them accept a wide range of foods and form a healthy and happy relationship with food. After you complete this course you will have so much more knowledge, confidence and peace of mind.
- Dr Kirsty can also provide one-to-one consultations to help your baby master the weaning journey and address any specific challenges you may be experiencing feeding your baby or how to navigate a food allergy.
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Written by Dr Kirsty Porter