September 01, 2010,
S.B. asks from Morgantown, WV on January 15, 2008
How Much and How Often for Feeding a 9 Month Old?
Now that my son has been eating solid foods for several months now I'm unsure of how much he needs to eat. The pediatrician says that every baby is different and eat different amounts. I understand that much but how much do they need at a minimum per day. I am currently feeding two cereal feedings per day, with juice mixed in for digestive issues, a third feeding with his veggie and fruit and finally within those feedings he gets a total of four feedings of breast milk. I just started adding in 2nd food meats but am unsure how much he needs. Do they need a full 2nd foods veggie, fruit and meat per day? The timing is an issue too. My mother watches my son while I work three days a week and she seems to think that his feeding schedule needs to change. His first feeding he nurses, then he eats every three to four hours after that. She thinks he needs to eat when we eat, 9 AM, 12 PM, dinnertime then maybe nursing before putting him down for the night. What works for everyone else?
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L.B. answers from Philadelphia on January 15, 2008
My 9 month old son has formula in the morning when he wakes up, 2 jars of 2nd Stage Foods around noon (1 veggie and 1 meal), a bottle in the afternoon after nap then 3/4 c. of oatmeal mixed with a jar of fruit around 6:00, then his final bottle at bedtime.
The pediatrician also told me that he should be on our eating schedule, 3 meals a day, but he also told me that he should have somewhere around 24 ounces of formula/day so he gets the nutrients that come from formula (or breast milk).
As long as your son is on a steady inclining growth schedule, I'm sure he is just fine.
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A.C. answers from Pittsburgh on January 15, 2008
My daughter is about 12 1/2 months now. About 7-8 months, we started switching to 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner + a small bottle with each), and then a bottle at bedtime. It worked out well for my daughter... but like your pediatrician said, everyone is different. Good luck!
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A.S. answers from Scranton on January 16, 2008
A typical feeding schedule for a 9 month old would look something like this:
Wake up - cereal mixed with formula or breast milk plus 1/2 jar fruit
Mid-morning - nurse or bottle feed
Noon time - other 1/2 jar fruit and 1/2 jar veggies
Mid afternoon - nurse or bottle feed
Dinner time - cereal mixed with formula or breast milk plus other 1/2 jar veggies
Evening - nurse or bottle feed
He also may want to nurse a couple other times during the day, but in general it is best to start with food (because as he approaches 1 year old more of his calories should come from food and less from breast milk/formula).
Since your baby is now 9 months old, you are correct that he may start to have meats. You can give a veggie/meat combo, or a meat itself in place of or in addition to the other foods. As he goes from 9-12 months, you may find that he can eat a whole jar of fruit/veggie/meat at a time instead of just 1/2 jar - which is fine.
You will probably find that some days he will eat much more, and other days not be as interested (just like older kids!).
It is a good idea to try to feed an older baby at the same time you eat - that way the baby gets used to meals as a family together, and meals become a pleasant time where people take a break from the demands of the day and truly enjoy each others' presence. That said, it's not worth getting into a battle if your baby is hungry at other times, or does not want to eat at the same time as you and your husband. Turning eating/meal time into a battle often causes food aversion and picky eaters or even disordered eating.
In general, as long as you are offering your baby healthy foods and he is growing well, don't let the "schedules" or the well-meaning advice of family and friends make you crazy - enjoy this time with your beautiful baby - it goes way too fast!!
Alex S. (pediatric resident physician)
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A.B. answers from Columbia on September 01, 2010
My son is 9mo as well and I had the same kind of question. My wife is breastfeeding but pumps when she is at work. As of now, this is his schedule (variable):
7-8 breakfast: 8oz bottle, 1/2 jar fruit, 5TBS cereal
11-12 lunch: 8oz bottle, other 1/2 jar fruit or vegetable
3-4 snack: (*he is beginning to skip this one for some reason. Used to be an 8oz bottle) but now he just wants a combination of either water, or biter biscuits, or cheerios
7-8 supper: 8oz bottle, 1/2 jar veggies, 5TBS cereal, 1/2 jar meat protein (chicken, turkey, etc.)
I have an appt with pediatrician tomorrow so I may have to augment this but from what I've read, don't focus too much on schedule unless it's waking you up at all hours and you're going nuts! And as long as the baby seems happy after eating then they're getting enough food. We occasionally (maybe once a week) eat a whole jar of fruits or veggies at a meal but usually it's just a half.
J.M. answers from Pittsburgh on January 16, 2008
It sounds like your son is a good eater! Prior to 12 months of age, food should really be for experimentation and enjoyment purposes only. He should still be getting the majority of nutrition and calories from your breastmilk. Babies don't actually need anything other than breastmilk for the first 12 months of life - the only reason to give him food is for the experience - new tastes and textures. I would say make sure he is getting your breastmilk while you are at work in addition to the food - and go by his cues - if he wants more, he can have it - but he should always have breastmilk prior to his meals so that he is getting all of the good nutrients that he needs.
I switched my son to level 2 foods pretty quickly - once we went through all of the level 1 foods and made sure he didn't have any allergies. He loved the Earth's Best level 2 oatmeals and soups (you can buy cases of them at Babies R Us).
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H.F. answers from Pittsburgh on January 17, 2008
At this age, your son should still be getting most of his calories and nutrients from breast milk (or if you chose, formula). So as long as he is breastfeeding several times a day, you are probably alright. Usually, you will know if he is not getting enough. He will fuss because he is hungry and may possibly lose some weight if he is not getting enough.
As to times to feed him... He is 9 months old. He needs to eat when he is hungry. If he is hungry every three hours, then that is when he needs to eat. With all due respect to your mother, you can try to adjust his schedule somewhat but he will need to eat more often than older children or adults. He has a smaller stomache which requires filling more often in order for him to get the calories he needs to grow.
We are on our 3rd child(he's almost 5 months). With all of our kids, I tried to make sure one of their feedings coincided with either dinner or lunch so that they learned to eat when we were eating and it would be easier to adjust their schedules later to have them eating when we were eating. You could try giving him a little more at each feeding and try increasing the interval between feedings but I don't see how at this age you can expect him to cut out a feeding between noon and dinner (unless you are eating dinner at 3 pm or 4 pm). That interval is often too long most kids. My daughter needs a snack when she gets home from elementary school (they eat at 11:30 am) and my preschooler usually needs a snack also. Both want that snack around 3:30 when my daughter gets home.
Honestly, I think you need to figure out if his current schedule is working for you. If it is, you need to tell you Mom that with all due respect this schedule is working for us. He will adjust a little as he gets a little older. Besides if he is eating at a slightly different time than her, it allows her to eat her meals without having to feed him at the same time. Good luck!
M.R. answers from York on January 20, 2008
my son will soon be 9 months and this is the schedule that has been working for us. when he gets up in the morning, usually around 7 or 8, he plays for about 45 minutes until he gets hungry. so around 9 i feed him a bowl of cereal and a jar of fruit. now he doesnt always eat it all but we try. then around 12 or 1 he is ready for lunch and i give him half a jar of the 2nd food meat and a jar or veggies mixed together in a bowl and a side of fruit. shortly after lunch he takes a nap and wants about a 7 oz bottle. then he eats dinner around 6 or 7 gets a bath and takes another bottle before going to bed. and a lot of mornings he gets up around 4 or 5 for a bottle but goes right back to bed. this is actually what his doctor told us she did for her kids when we took him for his 8 month checkup i believe it was. oh and usually if he eats his whole lunch he wont eat his whole dinner and if he didnt eat his whole lunch then he will eat his dinner. i dont know if this will help you at all and this took a some time to get right but now we are on a basically set schedule that works for us! good luck!
J.R. answers from Allentown on January 18, 2008
I breastfed all of my children until at least their first birthday, and they had varied appetites for solids. My first daughter ate almost no solids--at most a tablespoon or two at a sitting--while my first son ate much more.
My kids ate very little "baby" foods--we actually didn't do baby cereal at all--though we did grind up Cheerios. We ground/cut up whatever everyone else was eating. I was just reading something yesterday about how some researchers think that the idea of starting infants on cereals just sets them up to have a taste for starchy foods later in life, and we should be feeding them a wide variety of foods--including foods with seasonings.
Much research has shown that more frequent small meals are healthier for even adults than doing "3 square meals a day." So my small kids tend to eat 6-7 times per day. Morning nursing/breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner/nursing, bedtime nursing (could be more than one evening nursing session). I work full time, so there was always pumped milk in a sippy cup available for the morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack when my kids were small.
Now that my kids are older and in school, then tend to eat about 6 times per day--breakfast, one snack in school, lunch in school, snack after school, dinner, bedtime snack. All of my kids are actually on the small side--at the most extreme, my 7 year old daughter still wears size 5 clothes, and is only 1-2 lb heavier than her 5 year old brother.