> Feeding Your 6 Month Old
Feeding Your 6 Month Old
The following guidelines will help you ensure that your child is getting proper nutrition at 6 months of age.
Another great resource of when to feed your baby: Science of Mom
General feeding guidelines
- Breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula are an important part of your infant's diet and should be continued until your infant is at least 12 months old.
- If your baby is not sensitive to milk, it is okay to give milk products, such as cheese or yogurt, but do not change to milk as a drink.
- If you have not started to offer pureed foods, now is the time. Slowly add new, plain, soft fruits, vegetables and meats. As they start to pick up with a finger/thumb pincer grasp, try small pieces of table foods. Avoid pureed foods with too many chunks … babies tend to choke on this.
- Begin to offer fluids in a cup and encourage self-feeding skills.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all infants getting less than 33 ounces of formlua per day take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is not in breast milk. Your skin can make it if exposed to sunlight, but no one knows how much is ideal and the risk of too much sun is great. Learn more about Vitamin D.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all breast fed infants over 4 months take an iron supplement in addition to iron rich foods.
Guidelines of food volumes
(vary by size and activity of the baby):
- Breast Milk or Infant Formula: 24 to 36 ounces in 24 hours
- Cereals: 8-12 tablespoons with breast milk or formula / day
- Vegetables: 2-6 tablespoons / day
- Meat or meat substitute: 2-4 tablespoons / day
- Juice: Not recommended. May use 2-3 ounces / day to treat constipation. Only give juice in a cup, never in a bottle!
- The amount of breast milk or infant formula your infant takes may vary depending on how much he weighs and the amount of foods eaten. Bigger or more active babies may eat more.
- We do not recommend juice because it is high in sugar and low in nutritional value, but a small amount of juice (2 to 3 ounces per day) may be offered. Do not use juice as a substitute for breast milk or infant formula. Offer apple, pear or grape juice. Wait until 12 months of age before offering your baby orange, grapefruit, pineapple or tomato juice.
- Offer a cup of water at every meal to help your baby learn to drink from a cup.
- Encourage 3 meals a day.
- Offer your baby a piece of well-cooked vegetable, like carrots or broccoli, or a piece of soft fruit at each meal. This will encourage self-feeding skills.
- Feed your baby in a high-chair. Try to feed your baby at the same time the rest of the family eats. Babies like company.
- Infants can choke easily and should be watched closely while eating. Never feed infants nuts, popcorn, grapes, chips, peanut butter or hot dogs. Take a CPR class for infants if you have not in the past 2 years!
- If there is a family history of allergies, do not offer that food group.
- Slowly add soft foods such as yogurt, mashed potatoes and pudding.
- Feed your baby foods from a spoon and liquids from a bottle or cup. Never use an "infant feeder" syringe bottle.
- There is no need to add sugar or salt to your infant's foods.
- Meal times will be messy. Have fun! Be patient.
- As your infant becomes more independent he will want to self feed more.
- If your infant is teething, use a teething ring. He could easily choke on toast or zwieback.
- A few ounces (2 ounces) of water may be offered each day after foods have been added. Do not substitute water for breast milk or formula. Do not add sweeteners to the water.
- If commercial baby foods are used, take the amount of food from the jar you think your baby will eat. Put this food on a plate or in a bowl. Feed your baby from this food. Refrigerate the remaining food in the jar for up to 2 days. Dipping the spoon back into the jar after it has been in your infant's mouth will cause bacteria to grow and make the food unsafe.
- Do not add cereal to the milk in the bottle, unless recommended by your doctor. It does not make babies sleep longer.
- Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle of breast milk, milk or juice. This may lead to tooth decay. Continue to brush teeth twice per day (no fluoride toothpaste!)
- Minimize distractions during meal times (turn off the TV).
If you have a high risk infant (history of egg allergy or severe eczema) watch this video on introducing peanuts
from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI)'s YouTube channel