Breast Milk to Baby Food: How Much Should a Baby Eat?

Less than you think, says Natalie Muth, M.D., R.D.N., coauthor of The Picky Eater Project.

Eating Portions Three Spoons Of Baby Food Pink Background Peter Ardito
Brand-New Eater

6 to 8 Months: 2 to 3 Tablespoons Per Day

Nearly all of a 6- to 8-month-old’s calories should come from breast milk or formula, so don’t stress about getting your baby to eat bite after bite. “It’s about exposure,” says Dr. Muth. Your job is to put on your “yummy face” and give him a new food to try every two to three days. (To identify possible allergic reactions or digestive issues, don’t introduce more than one food at a time.) If he has barely a lick, then gets fussy, that doesn’t mean he hates carrots. It means: “Boy, eating is weird! I need time to get used to this!”

Finger-Food Ready

9 to 11 Months: 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Per Day

“By 9 to 11 months, about half of your baby’s calories should come from food and the other half from breast milk or formula,” Dr. Muth says. While purees are fine, also give her diced finger foods, such as squished blueberries, steamed broccoli florets, shredded chicken, and soft pasta. Babies at this age tend to have an adventurous palate—they’ve learned eating tastes good, so don’t be afraid to give her chopped-up nibbles from your plate of well-seasoned food. If she wants more, feed her more, but if she pushes food away, don’t take it personally.

Bring It On!

12 Months: About 1 Cup Per Day

“After the first birthday, most of the calories your baby consumes should come from finely chopped table food,” Dr. Muth says. To meet his calcium needs, serve whole milk in a sippy cup at meals and with snacks. Toddlers should drink about 2 to 3 cups a day. Aiming for set meal and snack times can also pay off, since he’ll be more hungry and thus willing to try new things. You know, babies and their routines! 

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