How much should my baby be eating? It’s a question that many parents ask, especially as they begin their baby’s introduction to solid foods. But fear not! We are here to help you answer this question from both a scientific perspective, as well as an every-day-parent perspective.
How Many Calories?
Baby’s caloric intake varies greatly depending on their age. Their age determines what they’re able to eat, as well as their weight and general interest in food. All babies develop at different rates and some may go through phases where feeding is either very easy or very difficult. Babies aged 0-1 should receive approximately 90-120 calories per kg in body weight. Children aged 1-7 should receive approximately 75-90 calories per kg in body weight. The range in calories is offered to account for differentiation in some children’s body size. Body size will vary based on things such as gender and genetics.
Do I Need to Count How Many Calories My Baby is Consuming?
Rather than counting calories, we recommend focusing on simply allowing your baby to eat until they are full, which is when they begin to refuse food. Unlike adults, babies don’t eat because they are bored or feel like they have to. Babies will only eat if they are truly hungry, so if your baby rejects food, it’s likely because they’re just not hungry. Growth spurts during this period can also cause fluctuations in appetite. The amount of milk that they should be drinking correlates with how much food they are eating. As your baby begins to consume more solid food, the amount of milk they drink will begin to decrease.
How Much Should My Baby Be Growing?
This excerpt is from The American Academy of Pediatrics regarding appropriate growth rates for your baby:
- “From months 1 through 4 of life, your baby should gain about 1 1⁄2 to 2 pounds each month, while growing about 1 to 1 1⁄2 inches.
- Between 4 and 7 months of age, she’ll add another 1 to 1 1⁄2 pounds per month and grow about 2 to 3 inches in length.
- By 8 months, the average boy will weigh between 14 1⁄2 and 17 1⁄2 pounds, while girls will probably weigh about a half-pound less.
- At 1 year of age, the typical child weighs about 3 times her birth weight.
- Breastfed babies tend to be chubbier than formula-fed babies during the first 4 to 6 months of life. Then they usually become leaner than formula-fed babies by 9 months to 1 year of age.”
Rather than counting calories or measuring out portion sizes, it’s important to not stress. The key to your baby growing at a steady and healthy rate is simply making sure they eat a whole, balanced diet. Your baby’s pediatrician will guide you along the way to make sure that your baby is growing at an adequate rate. Your job is to simply give your baby the most nourishing foods possible.
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Making Babies
- American Academy of Pediatrics: How Often and How Much Should Your Baby Eat?