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.

Related: 12-month-old baby milestones

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 3 times per day or at family mealtimes

Breast milk: Up to 8 ounces every 4 to 5 hours

Formula: 7 to 8 ounces every 5 to 6 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: 5 to 8 tablespoons (optional)
  • Fruits: 2 to 4 tablespoons
  • Vegetables: 2 to 4 tablespoons
  • Shredded meats, eggs, yogurt and soft-cooked plant-based proteins, such as lentils: 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • Starches: ¼ to ½ cup simple carbs, such as pasta, mashed potatoes, bread

Related: 50 sensory activities for 1-year-olds to help them learn by playing

What’s a good 12-month-old baby feeding schedule?

printable summary of 12-month-old baby feeding guide - breast milk and formula

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: How much sleep does a 12-month-old baby need?

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.

Related: Actually, please do let your kid play with their food

A note from Motherly on feeding a 12-month-old

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.

A version of this story was published October 17, 2021. It has been updated.