At 11 months, many babies have developed the ability to feed themselves. They might be able to awkwardly hold a spoon to shovel mashed food into their mouths. More predominantly, however, they are able to hold the food in their fingers and put it in the mouth. While this might be messy, it’s all part of the normal growth and development process.
At this stage in life, the baby does not depend on breast milk alone — despite its benefits. You might have started weaning her off the breast and introduced some solid foods into her diet around the 6-month mark.
As she grows older, you need to diversify the kind of food you give her so that she can develop her palate and be able to draw nutrition from more than one source. So, what baby foods should you add to the diet of your 11-month-old?
Here are some options:
- Eggs contain plenty of nutrients — especially the yolks — and are easy to eat and digest
- Fruits contain various vitamins and minerals, and small teeth can easily bite into bananas, apples, and oranges (remember to cut up the fruits into small, bite-sized pieces for your baby)
- Fish and poultry
- Leafy greens contain iron, which is absent in breast milk.
- Dairy products (like yogurt and cheese), though it’s advisable to delay giving cow’s milk until your baby is older than one year
- Dry cereal
As the first year of life comes to a close, your baby is able to eat most of what the rest of the family is having at their meal times. Obviously, however, the baby will eat far smaller amounts than the rest of you.
A loose rule of thumb is that the baby usually takes down three main meals during the course of the day and a couple of snacks in between the meals. When the baby eats is usually dependent on their appetite and your schedule.
Delving deeper into the quantities of food per day, it’s advisable that you give the baby up to 3 tablespoons of dairy products. For meat and the other proteins, you may give the baby up to 4 tablespoons. It’s also advisable that you give no more than half a cup of fruits, vegetables, and cereals.
You should keep a close watch on how much your baby is eating. If they have high food reinforcement, they are likely to develop adiposity and obesity later on in life. Food reinforcement refers to how hard your baby will try to get more food. At this age, you'll notice high food reinforcement through tantrums and crying when you don’t provide the food they’re craving.
How much formula for an 11-month-old baby?
If you cease to breastfeed and instead feed your baby formula, you need to make sure that you provide the baby with the right amount. Note, however, that studies suggest that a shorter duration of breastfeeding can cause greater food reinforcement in infants. This is because when you feed the baby via a bottle, you provide a set volume of formula. In such a case, you might notice the natural cues that indicate the baby is full.
For this reason, you need to control how much formula you give the baby. The recommended amount is around 720 milliliters (ml) of formula per day. Initially, you might have given this amount divided across three meals. However, now that she is on an 11-month-old eating schedule, she can have one big formula feed per day.
Keep in mind, of course, that not all babies are the same therefore need different amounts of formula to be satisfied. To get the correct amount of formula, multiply your baby’s weight in pounds by 2 and 2.5. The ideal daily amount of formula for your little one should fall between the resulting values.
On average, the daily caloric requirements for 11-month-old babies are around 920 kcal/day for boys and around 865 kcal/day for girls.
In the earlier months, it was easy to feed your baby because the options were quite limited and handy (breast milk mainly). You could even pump and store the milk for impromptu feeds.
With an increasing range of food for 11-month-old babies, you might find it more challenging to provide a complete meal. You also need to be able to fit these meals into a schedule so that your baby is getting the most out of the day.
Here is a sample 11-month-old feeding schedule around which you can model yours:
- 120 ml to 180 ml of breast milk or formula
- Quarter to half a cup of mashed boiled egg or cereal
- 4 ounces of fruit
2. Midmorning snack
- 120 ml to 180 ml of breast milk, formula, or water
- 2 ounces of diced cheese
- 60 ml to 120 ml of yogurt or quarter to half a cup of meat
- Quarter to half a cup of veggies
- 120 ml to 180 ml of breast milk or formula
4. Afternoon snack
- 1 teething biscuit or cracker
- A quarter cup of diced fruit, if she can feed herself
- 120 ml to180 ml of breast milk or formula
- 2 ounces of poultry or meat
- 2 to 4 ounces of pasta, rice, or potatoes
- A quarter cup of fruit
Before you tuck her in for bedtime, give her an increased amount of breast milk, formula, or water — around 180 ml to 240 ml.
At this stage, your baby generally has a more defined eating routine. Create a schedule that works for both of you so that you can also get time to run errands. The sample menu above should give you a good idea of what the baby's diet should consist of.