Newborn and Baby Feeding Schedule: How Much Should a 6-9 Month-Old Eat?

baby eating solid foods

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If you're like most parents, you're probably excited that your baby has reached the 6 to 9 month-old stage. Not only are they likely sleeping through the night, giving you some much-needed rest, but they also probably have a more predictable nap schedule. Babies this age also are beginning to learn how to sit up on their own and are much more responsive to the adults in their lives.

Plus, there are some exciting changes that occur in their diets at this age as well. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies can start to eat solid foods around 6 months old. While this age is a general guideline, there are also some developmental markers—like being able to sit up well without support—that should be met before introducing solids.

Of course, when introducing solids for the first time, you want to start small and be responsive to your baby. It is also important to allow for self-feeding, which means allowing your baby to try to pick up the spoon and feed themself. Of course, you may have to help if they do not have the coordination skills yet, but allowing for self feeding is important for eating autonomy. Here are some additional guidelines for feeding your baby at this stage in their development.

Fed Is Best

At Verywell Family, we want to support parents by giving them information about all of the ways they can feed their newborns and babies—be it breastfeeding or bottle feeding. At the end of the day, “fed is best.”

What Does Baby Need When They Are 6-9 Months Old

At the 6 month mark, your baby has likely developed the ability to hold their head up, sit up unassisted, has lost the tongue thrust reflex, and can grasp items and bring them to their mouth and can begin eating solid foods. Keep in mind, though, that breast milk or formula is still their primary source of nutrition. Even if you notice your baby seems less interested in nursing or taking a bottle, you should not cut back on their feeding sessions at this age.

Babies this age should be taking about 6 to 8 ounces of formula or expressed milk around 5 to 7 times a day or nursing about every 3 to 4 hours during the day. All in all, they should still be consuming around 24 to 36 ounces of breastmilk or formula daily.

You also may notice that as your baby becomes more mobile that they may seem to want to eat more frequently. This is completely normal and may mean your baby will be eager for solid foods when you offer them, but remember that every baby is different.

As your baby becomes more proficient at feeding themselves solids, their relationship with nursing or bottle feeding may begin to change. But, it is important to remember that they should still be offered breastmilk on demand or offered formula on their same schedule. While solid foods are important to providing vital sensory experiences in these earlier months, your baby's primary nutrient source is still either human milk or formula.

How Much Food Does a Baby at 6-9 Months Old Need

When you start introducing solids, it's best to start out slow and follow your baby's lead. Offering a large bowl of puree can feel overwhelming to a new eater. For instance, you may want to start with just a tablespoon or two of puree or cereal mixed with breast milk or formula preloaded into two to three spoons and work your way up from there.

Much of your baby's first food exposures will be about touching the food, smelling it, and maybe even getting some into their mouth. Exposure to the texture, smell, and experience of eating are very important.

At this age, there is a lot of variation on how much solid food your baby will eat, says Danielle Roberts, MD, a pediatrician in Zanesville, Ohio. You also don't need to worry about offering water from a hydration standpoint because the formula or breast milk they are drinking will keep them hydrated.

However, offering 1 to 2 ounces of water in a small, open cup along with meals is a great way to allow baby to practice hand to mouth coordination. They also get to practice the skill of drinking out of an open cup, which they will need to be able to do much more of after the age of 1.

How Much a 6 to 9-Month-Old Eats

  • 24 to 36 ounces of formula or breast milk; now that your baby's a more efficient nurser, you'll probably breastfeed 4 to 6 times a day
  • 4 to 9 tablespoons of cereal, fruit, and vegetables a day, spread out over two to three meals
  • 1 to 6 tablespoons of meat or another protein (like pureed meat or tofu or a scrambled egg) a day

Remember that these amounts are general guidelines. Be careful not to force your baby to eat but instead follow their cues.

Baby Feeding Goals for 6-9 Month Olds

When it comes to introducing your baby's first solid foods, make sure you allow your baby to do their own feeding. While this is messier in the beginning it can provide your baby with a connection to their body and a sense of having that connection respected can last them into adulthood.

Danielle Roberts, MD

Adding solids is more of a developmental milestone that allows your baby to use their oral skills to take food off the spoon and learn to swallow foods with a thicker consistency. Make sure to talk with your child's doctor to ensure your baby is ready for this next step.

— Danielle Roberts, MD

If your child's doctor gives the green light for introducing solids, those first foods are often left up to you, as long as they are developmentally appropriate. Some parents choose to buy pre-made baby food while others choose to make their own baby food. Others opt to serve their baby an unsalted (and well cooked) version of whatever they are eating.

Regardless of your decision, make sure you choose foods that are extremely soft or pureed to prevent choking. You also should never leave an infant unattended while eating.

In the past, healthcare professionals advised parents to introduce one "single-ingredient" food at a time every 3 to 5 days and watch for reactions. However, this is no longer the most widespread advice as it very much limits the foods a baby can be exposed to.

During this 6 to 12 month period, they may be more open to trying a variety of foods. Feel free to offer dairy, soy, egg, peanut butter, and other high-allergen foods because there's no evidence that waiting will prevent food allergies.If you child is at high risk for food allergies due to a family history or has eczema, then talk to a healthcare professional first.

You also can offer fruit or vegetables in any order because there is no evidence that babies will dislike vegetables if the fruit is given first. And, include foods that have protein, iron, and zinc such as beef, lamb, liver, lentils, and beans .

“When parents ask me what their infants can eat, I like to tell them that anything they [the parents] can put in their own mouths and use their tongues without their teeth is safe for their infant to eat," Dr. Roberts says.

A common test to see if the texture of a food is safe is to very gently press the food between your thumb and pointer finger. If you can easily smash the food, it is the right texture.

How Much a Baby 6 to 9 Months Needs Per Day
Age Formula Expressed Milk  Breastfeeding  Cereals/Fruits/Veggies Proteins
6 mos 24 to 36 oz 24 to 36 oz  Nurse 6 times a day 2 to 4 Tablespoons 1 to 2 Tablespoons
7   24 to 36 24 to 36  Nurse 6 times a day  3 to 5   1 to 3
8   24 to 36   24 to 36  Nurse 6 times a day  4 to 7 1 to 4
9 24 to 36 24 to 36   Nurse 6 times a day  4 to 9 1 to 6

Sample Baby Feeding Schedules

Although every baby is different, it can be helpful to have a sample feeding schedule as a guide for how much and how often a typical 6 to 9 month old will eat. Remember that a baby's flavor preferences and appetite may go through changes that deviate from this schedule.

In addition, you can combine fruits and vegetables in a single meal or deviate from the suggested offerings to meet your baby's preferences. If you want support in introducing foods, consider working with a dietitian that specializes in feeding infants and toddlers.

9 Month Old Breastfed Baby

  • 7 a.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts
  • 7:30 a.m. — 2 to 4 tablespoons of cereal mixed with breast milk or formula
  • 9:30 a.m. — Morning nap (baby may nurse before nap)
  • 11:30 a.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts
  • 12 p.m. — Offer a vegetable or fruit option
  • 2 p.m. — Afternoon nap (baby may nurse before nap)
  • 4 p.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts
  • 5:30 p.m. — Offer a protein option
  • 7 p.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts

9 Month Old Formula-Fed Baby

  • 7 a.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of formula
  • 7:30 a.m. — 2 to 4 tablespoons of cereal mixed with formula
  • 9:30 a.m. — Morning nap (baby may take 2 to 4 ounces of formula before nap)
  • 11:30 a.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of formula
  • 12 p.m. — Offer a vegetable or fruit option
  • 2 p.m. — Afternoon nap (baby may take 2 to 4 ounces of formula before nap)
  • 4 p.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of formula
  • 5:30 p.m. — Offer a protein option
  • 7 p.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of formula

9 Month Old Combination-Fed Baby

  • 7 a.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts
  • 7:30 a.m. — 2 to 4 tablespoons of cereal mixed with breast milk or formula
  • 9:30 a.m. — Morning nap (baby may take 2 to 4 ounces of formula or expressed milk)
  • 11:30 a.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of expressed milk or formula
  • 12 p.m. — Offer a vegetable or fruit option
  • 2 p.m. — Afternoon nap (baby may take 2 to 4 ounces of formula or expressed milk)
  • 4 p.m. — Bottle with 6 to 8 ounces of breast milk or formula
  • 5:30 p.m. — Offer a protein option
  • 7 p.m. — Breastfeed on both breasts

How to Know if Your Baby Is Getting Enough to Eat

At this age, your baby is pretty good about letting you know when they have had enough to eat. However, make sure you continue to follow through with your well-visits. Your pediatrician will continue to monitor your baby's weight and growth and can alert you to any issues. You also should ensure that you continue to breastfeed or give your baby a bottle on a consistent basis.

"Keep in mind that babies this age need about 80kcal/kg/day or or 36 kilocalories per pound of weight per day," Dr. Roberts says. "At this age, some infants won't increase their milk intake but rather eat more when cereal and soft or pureed table foods are added to their diet."

Feeding your baby solid foods can be a fun experience especially because you get to see which foods your baby likes and which foods they don't care for. And, the faces they make during the process are to die for.

Because babies this age cannot let you know if they are hungry or if they have had enough, some parents teach them how to use sign language. For instance, they might teach them how to signal "more," "finished," and "milk."

This way, your baby can let you know when they have had enough or if they would like to have more. This is also why it is important to let your baby hold the spoon or feed themself with their hands.

There also are some cues you can watch for while feeding them as well. According to the AAP, your baby will open their mouth and lean toward the food. They also will get excited when they see food as well as focus on and follow the food with their eyes.

If you do choose to spoon food into your baby's mouth, it is extremely important that you pay close attention to their feeding cues to know when they have had enough. When they are full, you may notice that your baby spits out the food or pushes it away.

Babies who have had enough also will fidget in their seats and look away while you're trying to feed them. Other telltale signs your baby has had enough include closing their mouth when you offer food, turning their head away from the food, and playing with their food. Do not force your baby to eat more food after you have seen these cues.

A Word From Verywell

As you begin introducing solids into your baby's diet, try to relax and have fun with it as much as possible. The tone around food and eating should be one of less stress so that your baby does not associate stress with eating and meals.

There is no right or wrong way to feed your baby their first solid foods as long as you're going slow and being mindful of your baby's autonomy, and hunger and fullness cues. You also should be aware of choking hazards.

Your primary goal is to ensure that your baby is still nursing on a regular basis or drinking plenty of expressed breast milk or formula. After that, it's all up to you. Work with your child's pediatrician and continue with your well-visits to ensure your baby's growth is on track.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Starting solid foods.

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Is your baby hungry or full? Responsive feeding explained.

By Sherri Gordon
Sherri Gordon, CLC is a published author, certified professional life coach, and bullying prevention expert.