Happy birthday, baby—and a big congrats on the milestone to you, too. When your baby turns one, a few more food restrictions fall away: They should now be able to consume honey and cow's milk. Another fun addition to the menu? Cake! At least for one special occasion and photo opportunity. Hey, after one year on this feeding (and parenting) journey, you deserve a treat. ?
How much should a 12-month-old eat?
The American Academy of Pediatrics and La Leche League recommend the following feeding schedules and amounts for 12-month-olds.
Solids: Offered three times per day or at family mealtimes
Breast milk: Up to eight ounces every four to five hours
Formula: Seven to eight ounces every five to six hours
Your 12-month-old baby should be no stranger to solids! Here are the recommended serving sizes for an 12-month-old baby:
- Infant cereal (single grain) mixed with breast milk or formula: five to eight tablespoons (optional)
- Fruits: two to four tablespoons
- Vegetables: two to four tablespoons
- Shredded meats, eggs, yogurt and soft-cooked plant-based proteins, such as lentils: two to three tablespoons
- Starches: ¼ to ½ cup simple carbs, such as pasta, mashed potatoes, bread
Related: 12-month-old baby milestones
What’s a good 12-month-old feeding schedule?
Remember, it's more important that you follow your baby's cues than adhere to a set schedule, so schedules outlined are general guides of how frequently you'll feed your baby—not hard-and-fast rules.
These guidelines also apply primarily to infants born full-term and without any underlying medical conditions. For preterm infants, babies with certain medical conditions or for any specific questions pertaining to your child, be sure to consult your child's pediatrician for a more customized feeding schedule.
Related: Baby Sleep Guides & Schedules
How to foster your baby’s healthy eating habits
For the most part, you should strive to fill your 12-month-old baby's tray with colorful foods (think fruits and veggies), nutrient-dense grains and a variety of protein sources. (You can make an exception for cake!) Your job is to make the foods available and encourage them to try a few bites. If they are giving it a thumbs down, don't force it. Research shows this can only make matters worse.
Another common challenge at this stage? Short attention spans at mealtime. It's normal for 12-month-olds to be restless—even when you know the clock says it's time to eat. They want to get down and play, after all! Try to limit stimulation, keep them fully strapped in the high chair for safety and, finally, manage your expectations a bit. Family meals might look different right now than you imagined, but that will change in time.
If you want to see proof of just how well you've done with feedings this year, mama, take a look at your baby. They aren't so little anymore! Looking ahead, there is no timeline on when to wean your baby if you are still breastfeeding. At this point, you'll want to do what feels best for you and your baby. But, trust us, you're already a pro at that.
Read more about wellness for mama and your 12-month-old:
- How to ditch perfectionism and embrace being 'good enough'
- 50 sensory activities for 1-year-olds to help them learn by playing
- Subscribe to the Becoming Mama podcast
- Our favorite water bottles for toddlers
A version of this story was published October 17, 2021. It has been updated.