OK! So we’ve covered the basics of starting solids with your little one (LO) around 4-6 months of age, and continued to 6-8 months feeding patterns. Let’s finish out the first year!!! Around 8-12 months of age, your baby will start grabbing for foods on their tray and feeding him or herself (or the family dog when the food hits the floor).
As you introduce finger foods to your baby, be sure to control the size and shape of the food. Be careful with popcorn, whole grapes, hot dog pieces, cheese cubes, sticky foods, and chunks of uncooked fruits and vegetables. Be sure to keep these things in mind towards the latter months of baby’s first year of feeding:
- Breast milk and/or infant formula is still the main source of baby’s nutrition
- Baby can sit up without support, grab and hold on to things, bring food to his/her mouth
- Feed mashed, or chopped fruits, vegetables, and protein sources, if you baby is showing signs of readiness for finger foods.
My recommendation for this time period is to look no further than THE medical experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics. I reference their resources daily, and love how the ages/stages section has a specific tab for nutrition and food. When I was working with Joey on this part of the eating/feeding stage, I specifically referenced their sample meal plan for 8-12 month olds.
Sample (Joey) Schedule:
- Bottle at wakeup (6-8 ounces)
- Breakfast 1-1.5 hours later
- Could include toast, egg yolk, cottage cheese, yogurt, fruit, sippy cup with water
- Bottle mid-morning (after nap; 4-5 ounces)
- Lunch 1-1.5 hours later
- Could include hummus on crackers, grilled cheese (lunch meat on sandwich too), yogurt, fruit, veggies, sippy cup with water
- Bottle after nap (4-5 ounces)
- Dinner 1-1.5 hours later
- Similar suggestions to lunch; would try to offer what Ted and I were having for dinner too!
- Bottle before bed (6-8 ounces)
- Eliminated nighttime bottle
Now please do not think my son ate like a rockstar at every meal. Some days he only ate ONE thing (usually yogurt) at each meal and I would worry that his love for blueberries would never return. Well guess what?! The next week he only wanted to eat blueberries!
One thing I want you to remember when it comes to amounts (ounces, cups, etc.) is that you do NOT have to be exact. Even more important than how much solid food your baby eats at any single meal is that he eats a variety of healthy foods in general. There will be good days and bad days, but if your child is gaining weight, developing on track, and is active and energetic, then you can be confident that he’s getting plenty to eat. And remember, breast milk and/or formula should be their main source of nutrition during their first year.