At six months, it's time to celebrate a major milestone: Your baby is likely ready to start solid foods! After a strictly liquid diet for the first half year of your baby's life, it's exciting (to you at least) that new culinary delights are now on the table. There are a few different approaches to take when introducing solids: start with spoon-fed purees, go the Baby Led Weaning (BLW) route or two a combination of the methods. We'll get into the specifics in a moment. First, let's start with how much your baby should eat...
How much should a 6-month-old eat?
The American Academy of Pediatrics and La Leche League recommend the following feeding schedules and amounts for 6-month-olds.
Solids: Offered one or two times per day
Breast milk: Six to eight ounces every four to five hours
Formula: Six to eight ounces every five to six hours
Once your baby hits the 6-month mark and is able to hold their head up unsupported, sit in a high chair, and has doubled their birth weight, it's OK to start solid foods. For now, a little bit goes a long way! While offering solids, the recommended serving sizes for a 6-month-old are:
- Infant cereal (single grain) mixed with breast milk or formula: three to five tablespoons
- Fruits: one to two tablespoons
- Vegetables: one to two tablespoons
What’s a good 6-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.
How to introduce solids to your 6-month-old baby
For the first few months of starting solids, it's all about experimentation. As the saying goes, "Food before one is just for fun." As an optional first food, you can offer infant oatmeal cereal mixed with a small amount of breast milk or formula. (We recommend avoiding rice-based baby cereal products and rice-based teething wafers due to the potential for heavy metal contamination, even in those marked organic.) Other great options for your baby's first solid foods include mashed avocado, steamed and pureed sweet potato and pureed peas. Oh, and you'll want to stock up on some dining essentials!
Let your baby experiment with foods from different food groups. Keep introductions gradual by introducing just one single-ingredient food from any new food group every three to five days. This allows you to more easily identify the source of any allergic reactions.
What is Baby Led Weaning?
Although the term is a bit misleading, Baby Led Weaning doesn't refer to weaning your baby off breast milk or formula—but rather introducing them to complementary solid foods. The concept is that your baby is in control of how much they eat during meal times and is in charge of feeding themselves. Instead of spoon-fed purees, families that practice BLW offer large pieces of food to babies for them to eat as they wish. Research has shown that there is not a significantly higher risk of choking for babies that start solids with the BLW method, however you should still be aware of what foods pose common choking hazards.
With solid foods now on the menu, feeding your baby is getting more exciting—and messy. In addition to the heavy duty bibs and a good high chair, the other essential for this time is a camera so that you can capture those cute moments of your baby with a DIY avocado face mask.
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