One of the biggest areas of concern for most parents is what to feed your baby and when. The expert guidelines and feeding schedule advice have changed in recent years, so there may be a little confusion for new parents, or even for veteran parents who haven’t had a baby in a few years. To make it simple for you, The Baby Box Co. has created an easy-to-follow baby feeding chart for both breastfeeding and formula feeding parents.
Keep reading for more expert feeding tips, how to get a breast pump free through insurance and access to our printable baby feeding chart.
Baby feeding SCHEDULE: from Month 1 to 12
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The American Academy of Pediatrics advises exclusive feeding of breastmilk for around 6 months and continued breastfeeding as solid foods are introduced for a year, or even longer—the benefits are so great for baby and mom. Using a breast pump is a practical way to support staying on your baby feeding schedule when you’re nursing, and the great news that you may not know is that you can get a breast pump free through insurance.
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THE BABY BOX CO. RECOMMENDED FEEDING SCHEDULE BY MONTH
Baby feeding schedule: 1-3 Months
- During the first 3 months of a baby’s life they will only be fed milk (either breast milk, or formula). Breast milk is best for giving babies the nutrients they need, though not all moms can or choose to breastfeed.
- Doctors advise not trying to force a strict schedule. All babies are different and you should feed on demand when you see signs of hunger, such as rooting (turning head toward breast or bottle), puckering or smacking lips, clenching hands, and fussiness. Crying is a late sign of hunger.
- This phase can be exhausting with the amount of feedings required, but infants are growing and changing so much during the first 1-3 months that it is such a crucial time in their development.
Baby feeding schedule: 4-6 Months
- Baby food before 6 months of age is not recommended because babies cannot properly digest it before then.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months.
- When you are ready to introduce solids it’s best to do so one food at a time for several days to be sure there is no food allergy.
- Stage 1 baby food is recommended first. This has more liquid to make it easier for baby to swallow.
Baby feeding schedule: 7-12 Months
- If you haven’t begun introducing solids yet, now is the time!
- Many babies will begin weaning off of milk and consuming more and more solid foods.
- Meat is usually introduced during this stage.
Stage 2 – 3 baby food is now used. These include blends, meats and veggies, and thicker textures.
- Baby food may still be offered, but babies will begin eating finger foods which will help them learn to self-feed.
What are the different stages of baby food?
Stage 1 Baby Foods
Baby’s first foods! They consist of a single ingredient and are pureed with no added salt or sugar. If you’re making them at home, just know that most commercial stage 1 baby foods contain about 2.5 oz (approx. 5 tbsps) of fruits, veggies, or meats. When it comes to stage 1 foods, use them as an opportunity to monitor your baby for any allergies.
Stage 2 Baby Foods
Stage 2 foods look pretty similar to stage 1 baby foods. However, at this point, they can be strained instead of pureed and you often seen combinations of fruits or vegetables instead of single ingredients.
Stage 3 Baby Foods
At anywhere from 8-10 months, your baby may be ready for stage 3 foods. Commercial stage 3 foods contain about 6 oz of baby food per jar, are mashed and have more texture than the pureed foods your baby is used to eating. They may have bits and chunks of meats or veggies in them. Stage 3 foods are the perfect way to transition your baby to table food.
helpful hints for when it’s time to wean your baby
- “Don’t offer, don’t refuse.” This means: don’t instigate the nursing sessions. But, if your baby wants to nurse, don’t refuse to feed him or her.
- Keep your baby busy during feeding times.
- For formula-fed babies weaning them off of formula and onto cows milk, milk alternative or water should occur around the time the baby is one year old.
Learn more health and safety tips for you and baby, from our free parenting classes, including our popular “Breastfeeding Basics class. And before you go, take a few minutes to get your free breast pump through insurance!