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Feeding Your 8 to 12 Month Old

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Updated June 02, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Close-up of mother breastfeeding her baby girl (6-12 months)
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By 8 months old, your baby is probably eating cereal, fruits and vegetables. He may be learning to grab finger foods and drink from a cup. At this age, it is common for a baby to have three meals a day and a few snacks. Breast milk or formula should still be a regular part of your baby’s diet.

Feeding Your 8 to 12 Month Old

Between 8 and 12 months, your baby needs between 750 to 900 calories a day. Half of that -- about 450 of those calories -- should come from breast milk or formula. That is approximately 24 ounces (720 ml) of breast milk or formula each day.

Give small feedings very often during the day. Infants have little bellies, so it's best to feed them small amounts of food throughout the day.

Don’t force feedings. Babies tend to be inconsistent about eating. One day they will eat finger foods and purees willingly, and the next day they may refuse any type of solid food and opt for the breast or bottle instead.

Give finger foods. By now, your baby is using her thumb and forefinger to pick up small pieces of food. Encourage self-feeding by providing different finger foods for your baby.

Try the spoon. Begin using a spoon to feed your baby and help your baby try to feed himself. At first, the baby is more likely to play with the spoon or throw it. Eventually, he will begin to use it for feeding, but it may not be until after he is a year old.

Use a sippy cup. At this age, many infants can begin to hold and practice drinking water from a sippy cup.

Introduce textured foods. Your baby can now chew, so you can start to add foods that have different textures. Cut-up table foods and soft foods, such as mashed potatoes, pudding, yogurt, jello and eggs, are good choices.

Add new foods slowly. Continue to introduce new foods one at a time every few days. Watch for signs of a food allergy, which can include a rash, diarrhea, gassiness, spitting up and vomiting.

Watch for constipation. Cereal and bananas are popular foods that babies eat at this age and they can lead to constipation. If your baby starts to have difficulty with bowel movements, try prunes or other fruits and limit binding foods for a while.

Appropriate Finger Foods

These are common finger foods that your baby may enjoy under adult supervision. Always stay close to your baby and watch for signs of choking.

  • Cheerios
  • Small pieces of bread
  • Cut-up chicken
  • Diced cooked vegetables
  • Small pieces of soft fruits
  • Cut-up pasta
  • Teething biscuits
  • Infant cookies and crackers

Choking Hazards

These foods are dangerous and can cause your baby to choke. Do not offer these items to your infant or toddler.

  • Raw vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Whole grapes
  • Popcorn
  • Gum
  • Hard candy
  • Lollipops
  • Hot dogs
  • Raisins
  • Dried Fruit

Sample Feeding Schedule:

Wake Up:
Breastfeed or 4 to 6 ounces of breast milk or formula

Morning Meal:
2 ounces of cereal
2 ounces of fruit
Breastfeed or 4 to 6 ounces of breast milk or formula

Mid-Morning Snack:
2 ounces of fruit or vegetables
Finger foods
Offer water in a sippy cup

Afternoon Meal:
2 ounces of yogurt, meat or cheese
2 ounces of vegetables
Breastfeed or 4 to 6 ounces of breast milk or formula

Mid-Afternoon Snack:
2 ounces of fruit or vegetables
Finger foods
Offer water in a sippy cup

Evening Meal:
2 ounces of protein, such as chicken or meat
2 ounces of vegetables
2 ounces of fruit
2 ounces of a starch, such as pasta, rice or potatoes
4 to 6 ounces of breast milk or formula

At Bedtime:
Breastfeed or 6 to 8 ounces of breast milk or formula

Source:

American Academy of Pediatrics. Your Baby’s First Year Third Edition. Bantam Books. New York. 2010.

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