Newborn and Baby Feeding Schedule: How Much Should a 9-12 Month-Old Eat?

baby sitting in high chair

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The 9- to 12-month-old stage in your baby's life is often the turning point for them as they make some big developmental milestones like standing, stacking items, and feeding themselves. And while they love experimenting with finger foods at this age, be sure you are mindful of choking hazards. For instance, babies this age should not be given hot dogs, popcorn, raisins, nuts, hard candy, and grapes.

Breast milk or formula continues to be a vital part of their diet even though they will eat much more solid food at this age than they did in the 6 to 9 month-old range. Try not to cut back on how much they are drinking or nursing without talking to your pediatrician first. Here's everything you need to know about feeding your 9 to 12 month-old baby.

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 9-12 Months Old

At this age, your baby is babbling, saying a few words, and likely moving around in some capacity. Some babies are beginning to crawl while others are still creeping along—they will even begin pulling themselves into a standing position.

Also, most babies will take their first steps on or around their first birthday. All of this new movement can lead your baby to be a little more hungry at times.

"Babies will typically nurse or drink breast milk or formula first thing in the morning, in between meals, and before bed," says Danielle Roberts, MD, a pediatrician in Zanesville, Ohio.

As for feeding, one of the biggest transitions to occur is that toward the end of this stage, you can begin offering solid foods first and then offering the breast or the bottle. Of course, be sure to follow your pediatrician's advice, especially if your baby is not growing as well as they would like.

How Much Food Does a Baby at 9-12 Months Old Need

By now, your baby has probably gotten the hang of eating solid foods and is open to trying new and different things. They also may prefer to fingerpaint with their food, too. But just understand this all completely normal and can be really fun.

Although your baby's primary source of nutrition will still come from breastmilk or formula, you should be offering three meals of solid food spaced between 4 to 6 nursing or bottle-feeding sessions throughout the day.

You also can offer breast milk or formula in a cup if you would like. Some parents choose to drop the first bottle or nursing session in the morning near their baby's first birthday. But be sure to talk to your baby's doctor before reducing the number of feedings or nursing sessions your baby has. You want to be sure your baby is meeting all of their nutritional requirements.

How Much a 9 to 12 Month Old Eats

  • 24 to 32 ounces of expressed breast milk or formula or 4 to 6 nursing sessions
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup grains
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fruits
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetables
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup calcium-rich foods (like yogurt, cheese, or a dairy-free alternative)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup protein foods

Baby Feeding Goals for 9-12 Month Olds

Now that your baby is eating solid foods on a consistent basis, planning their meals can get a little trickier. At this age, your baby still gets the majority of their calories from breast milk or formula, so ensuring that is still happening is a priority. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), your baby needs about 750 to 900 calories a day and about 400 to 500 of those calories should come from breast milk or formula.

Danielle Roberts, MD

At this age, the amount of breast milk or formula consumed typically does not increase because your baby is getting more calories from table foods. But parents also shouldn't cut back on how much milk they offer either. 

— Danielle Roberts, MD

It is important for parents to make sure they continue to offer breast milk or formula as the milk source for their child, Dr. Roberts says. Now is not the time to consider whole milk or a dairy-free alternative like soy milk before the age of 12 months old.

"Infants can develop iron deficiency anemia (low iron levels in their blood) if they are not given breast milk or formula [through their first birthday]," she says.

Starting at around 8 or 9 months old, you may want to introduce foods that are a little bit courser in consistency than the smooth pureed foods you have been feeding. You should still be mindful of choking hazards, though, and still offer soft foods like yogurt (or a dairy-free alternative), mashed tofu, mashed banana, mashed avocado, and scrambled eggs.

"It is important to note this is the very messy eater stage," says Dr. Roberts.  "Children love to learn by using all their senses to explore their environment. This means they will likely smear their food all over their tray and appear to play with it, but don’t worry—they will eventually lick their fingers and realize it tastes yummy too."

How Much a Baby 9 to 12 Months Needs Per Day
Age Formula/Expressed Milk  Breastfeeding Grains  Fruits  Veggies Calcium-Rich Food Protein
9 mos 24 to 32 ounces  4 to 6 times  1/4 to 1/2 c 1/4 to 1/2 c  1/4 to 1/2 c  1/4 to 1/2 c 1/4 to 1/2 c 
10  24 to 32 4 to 6 1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2  
11  24 to 32 4 to 6 1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2  
12  24 to 32 4 to 6 1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2   1/4 to 1/2  

Sample Baby Feeding Schedules

At this point, you are probably feeding your baby at a more consistent schedule and can start adding in a larger variety of soft foods. Here is a guide for how much and how often a typical 9- to 12-month-old will eat.

Work with your pediatrician to determine a more personalized approach to feeding your baby, especially if your baby has some health issues or is not growing as quickly as expected.

Baby With Two Naps a Day

  • 7 a.m. — 4 to 6 ounces of expressed breast milk or nurse for 15-20 minutes
  • 8:30 a.m. — Breakfast: 1/4 cup cereal or 1 scrambled egg and 2 to 4 tablespoons ounces of mashed fruit
  • 10 a.m. — Nap (Prior to nap, 2 to 4 ounces of expressed milk or formula, or nurse 5 to 15 minutes)
  • 12 p.m. — 4 to 6 ounces of expressed breast milk or nurse for 15-20 minutes
  • 1 p.m. — Lunch: 1/4 to 1/2 cup of yogurt or dairy-free option and 2 to 4 tablespoons pureed or mashed fruit
  • 2:30 p.m. — Nap (Prior to nap, 2 to 4 ounces of expressed milk or formula, or nurse 5 to 15 minutes)
  • 5:00 p.m. — 4 to 6 ounces of expressed breast milk or formula or nurse for 15-20 minutes and 2 to 4 tablespoons Cheerios and 2 to 4 tablespoons of mashed or diced fruit
  • 6:00 p.m. — Dinner: 4 to 6 ounces of expressed breast milk or formula or nurse for 15-20 minutes and 2 to 4 ounces of pureed poultry or tofu, 2 to 4 tablespoons green vegetables, 1/4 cup pasta or mashed potato
  • 7:30 p.m. — 4 to 6 ounces of expressed breast milk or formula or nurse for 15-20 minutes

Baby With One Nap a Day

  • 7 a.m. — 4 to 6 ounces of expressed breast milk or formula or nurse for 15-20 minutes
  • 8:30 a.m. — Breakfast: 1/4 cup cereal or 1 scrambled egg and 2 to 4 tablespoons ounces of mashed fruit
  • 10 a.m. — Snack: 4 ounces of breast milk or formula and 2 to 4 tablespoons of pureed or mashed orange vegetables
  • 12 p.m. — 4 to 6 ounces of expressed breast milk or nurse for 15-20 minutes and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of yogurt or dairy-free option and 2 to 4 tablespoons pureed or mashed fruit
  • 1:00 p.m. — Nap (Prior to nap some take 2 to 4 ounces of expressed breast milk or nurse for 15-20 minutes)
  • 4:00 p.m. — 4 to 6 ounces of expressed breast milk or formula or nurse for 15-20 minutes and 2 to 4 tablespoons Cheerios and 2 to 4 tablespoons of mashed or diced fruit
  • 6:00 p.m. — 4 to 6 ounces of expressed breast milk or formula or nurse for 15-20 minutes and 2 to 4 ounces of pureed poultry or tofu, 2 to 4 tablespoons green vegetables, 1/4 cup pasta or mashed potato
  • 7:30 p.m. — 4 to 6 ounces of expressed breast milk or formula or nurse for 15-20 minutes

How to Know if Your Baby Is Getting Enough to Eat

At this age, your baby is probably getting good at letting you know when they are hungry or if they want more food. Continue to offer your baby breast milk or formula as well as solid foods throughout the day but allow them to decide how much they want to eat, unless your doctor advises otherwise.

Continue to stay on track with your well-visits and talk to your doctor about any concerns you have. Your doctor will continue to monitor your baby's weight gain and growth and if there are problems, they can help you address your baby's nutritional needs.

"As long as your baby is gaining weight and having enough wet and dirty diapers, they are probably getting enough to eat," says Dr. Roberts. "When they are full, they will unlatch from the breast or bottle, turn their head away, or push their food plate away."

Feeding Tips

As you explore more and more food options with your little one, it's important to continue watching out for choking hazards, like chunks of food that are not easily mashed with the gums or tongue. Food should still be soft and small. Here are some other things to consider at this age.

  • Offer your child small frequent meals
  • Consider providing small, soft, finger foods to encourage self-feeding
  • Allow them to experiment with using a spoon
  • Use a sippy cup or a cup with a straw
  • Introduce foods with different textures
  • Keep an eye out for constipation

A Word From Verywell

It's probably hard to believe that your baby is fast approaching their first birthday. But it will be here before you know it. As you anxiously await their first taste of birthday cake, be sure you are continuing to make breast milk or formula available to them on a consistent basis, as a large portion of their calories should come from one of these sources.

Likewise, now is the time to allow your baby to experiment with using a spoon and a cup. Make sure you allow your baby to sit at the table during family meals so they can observe you and the rest of the family eating and using utensils. Also, be sure to continue with your well-visits to ensure your baby is meeting all their developmental milestones and growing as they should be.

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  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Sample menu for a baby 8 to 12 months old. Updated March 17, 2021.