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Feeding Babies and Toddlers by the Food Groups

Breast Milk & Formula

The cornerstone of your baby’s nutrition for the first year, breast milk and formula contain all the protein, fat, calcium, vitamins, and minerals Baby needs up to that first birthday. In year two, breast milk provides a nutritional safety net, including bonus protein, calcium, and vitamins A and D necessary for a growing toddler.

How much breastmilk or formula does your child need per day?

0 to 4 months: 21-24 oz (6-12 feedings, about 2-4 oz each)
4 to 6 months: 24-32 oz (4-6 feedings, about 4-8 oz each)
6 to 8 months: 24-32 oz (4-5 feedings, about 5-8 oz each)
8 to 10 months: 24-32 oz (3-4 feedings, about 6-8 oz each)
10 to 12 months: 20-32 oz (3-4 feedings, about 5-8 oz each)
12 to 24 months*: 16-24 oz breastmilk if still nursing, although no formula is necessary (1-4 breastfeedings daily, sometimes more)

*If Mom is still breastfeeding past the first birthday, bravo! That said, formula is not recommended except in rare circumstances. Remember, toddlers past their first birthday are usually drinking whole milk as their main liquid source of nutrition.

Cow’s Milk

After your child reaches one year of age, the calcium, vitamins A and D, and protein in cow’s milk provide the bulk of his calcium needs. Growing bones need calcium and the foundation for strong bones is formed now!

How much cow’s milk does your child need each day?

0 to 10 months: None
10 to 12 months: 1 serving (Equal to 1/2 cup whole milk yogurt or 3/4 ounce cheese)
12 to 24 months: 2-3 servings per day (One serving equals 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup yogurt, or 3/4 ounce cheese)

Cereals & Grains

Critical for maintaining infant and toddler energy levels, this group contains the complex carbohydrates, vitamins (B complex), minerals (zinc and magnesium), and fiber your child needs to roll, crawl, and walk.

How much grain does your child need per day?

0 to 4 months: None
4 to 6 months: 3-4 tbsp (Offer Baby iron-fortified cereals, usually starting with rice)
6 to 8 months: 4 tbsp or more (Choose iron-fortified cereals, specifically)
8 to 10 months: 4 tbsp or more (Consider iron-fortified cereals and finger foods such as teething biscuits, pasta, puffs, and crackers)
10 to 12 months: 4 tbsp or more (Consider iron-fortified cereals and finger foods such as teething biscuits, pizza crusts, or 1-2 slices of bread per day)
12 to 24 months: 6 or more servings (One serving equals 1/2 slice bread, 1/4 cup dry cereal, 1/3 cup cooked cereal, 1/2 bagel or muffin, 1/3 cup cooked rice or pasta. Continue the infant cereals 2 times / day for the extra iron)

Vegetables

Your mom wasn’t lying: Kids need veggies for the vitamins (A, B, and C), trace minerals, fiber, and protein that will help them grow taller, stronger, smarter—even cuter!

How many veggies does your child need every day?

0 to 6 months: None
6 to 8 months: Start with 1 tbsp per meal, work up to 4-5 tbsp per day (Choose strained veggies or stage 1 veggies)
8 to 10 months: 4 tbsp or more (Offer cooked veggie pieces, none bigger than your child’s thumbnail. Shoot for the consistency of canned carrots)
10 to 12 months: 4 to 8 tbsp (Split each day’s veggie allotment into one to two types of veggies)
12 to 24 months: 3 servings (One serving equals 1/4 -1/2 cup cooked or raw veggies)

Fruit

Sweet and nutritious, whole fruits are full of the vitamins and fiber important to a child’s digestive well-being and overall health.

How much fruit does your child need per day?

0 to 6 months: None
6 to 8 months: Start with 1 tbsp per meal, work up to 4-5 tbsp per day (Choose strained fruits or stage 1 fruit)
8 to 10 months: 4 tbsp or more (Offer cooked fruit pieces, none bigger than your child’s thumbnail. Shoot for the consistency of a baked apple)
10 to 12 months: 8 to 12 tbsp (Split each day’s fruit allotment into one to two types of fruit)
12 to 24 months: 2-4 servings (One serving equals 1/4 cup canned fruit, 1/2 cup fresh fruit, 4 oz of 100% fruit juice)

Meat/Protein

The job of protein in your child’s diet will help her grow up big and strong. Protein (along with the iron, B vitamins, and zinc in these foods) builds muscle.

How much protein does your child need each day?

0 to 8 months: None
8 to 10 months: 1 tbsp (Offer cooked, pureed meats or poultry, cheese cubes, tofu, or egg yolk)
10 to 12 months: 2-4 tbsp (Offer cooked, pureed meats or poultry, cheese cubes, tofu, or egg yolk)
12 to 24 months: 2-3 servings (One serving equals 2 tbsp cooked meat, fish, or poultry, 1 egg, 1/4 cup cooked beans. Shoot for protein portions the size of your child’s palm, 2-3 times a day)

Water

And finally, water. A child’s body is more than 70 percent water! Learning to stay hydrated and developing a taste for water early is an important step towards good health.

How much water does your child need daily?

0 to 4 months: None
4 to 24 months: 4 or more oz

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