Your baby is still in the early days of their journey towards solid foods and it can get quite confusing quite fast for new parents. Is milk still the only essential item on your baby’s menu? How many solid meals should you be offering at this stage and which quantities? A few guidelines to help you along the way and a log for what my baby eats at 8-months.
So why is food for babies so confusing to begin with? Several factors are at play.
Firstly, it largely depends on when you started solids to begin with. The current recommendation for introducing solids is between 4 to 6 months – this incidentally was not the recommendation a few years ago, adding to the confusion. So if you start feeding you baby as soon as she completes her 4th month of life, by 8 months, she is probably eating larger quantities and more variety than a baby who starts solids at 6 months.
Secondly, whether your baby is still breastfed or not will play a significant role. A breastfed baby is likely to be used to having smaller quantities of milk at shorter intervals than a bottlefed baby and that will impact their solids consumption as well.
Thirdly, when we speak of food, culture comes into play as well. No two countries have the exact same habits in how, when and how much to feed babies, just like they don’t with grownups! So if you’re comparing notes with your friend’s baby who lives in another country, be prepared to observe some stark differences. This goes to show that there’s no one right or wrong way to approach this and you simply need to pick what works best for you, in compliance with recent medical research and advice from your pediatrician.
Fourthly, the extent to which you follow certain trends such as baby-led weaning will have a big impact. If you’re feeding you baby mostly mashed foods, they’re likely to be eating larger quantities and it’s easier for you to know how much they’ve eaten.
So keeping the above in mind, here’s a sample of what my 8-month old eats in a day. He is no longer breastfed and we live in France and follow very closely french pediatric guidelines. He is a full term baby and started solids at the end of his fourth month. His growth charts are slightly above average for height and weight, so he’s probably what the french call a ‘gros mangeur’ (big eater), so quantities he consumes are 10 to 20% more than average.
Breakfast (7.30 am)
Formula bottle 250ml (8ounces) with 2 coffee spoons of cereal
200g solid meal, mashed:
- 20g of fish, red meat, or poultery
- 30g of potatoes, rice, pasta or quinoa
- 150g of vegetables (carrots, spinach, beetroots, aubergines, courgettes, pumpkin, squash, brocoli, green beans, peas, artichokes…)
- A coffee spoon of oil (rape oil is preferred, ocassionally olive oil or other types of fatty substances such as crème fresh, butter…)
50g desert (if your baby has a big stomach, there’s no harm in offering a bit more! I go up to 100g sometimes)
A few pieces of bread or cooked veggies that he mostly plays with and uses to practice chewing.
- Yogurt (specific for babies, made of infant formula) or
- Fruit purée or pieces (apple, banana, pear, mango, strawberry, peach…)
Afternoon snack (4pm)
- 150g of fruit (mixed, pieces or purée). I rely mostly on purées for now and I offer a few pieces of fruit again mostly for practice. He manages to eat 10% of the pieces.
- I occasionally add 1 or 2 coffee spoons of cereal since he’s starting to move a lot during the day (crawling), or a small biscuit, again mostly for practicing chewing and feeding himself. If I don’t have enough fruit, I complement with yogurt.
Formula bottle 250ml (8 ounces)
Don’t forget the golden rule: do not add salt or sugar to your baby’s food. And always respect their appetite. You baby knows best when they’re full or have had enough.