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  2. Raising a baby
  3. Baby care & feeding

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8-Month-Old Feeding Schedule for a Happy Baby

Once your baby is past most of the night-waking and cluster-feeding stage, it may seem like you would have this feeding thing down. However, the 8-month-old feeding schedule can still present some challenges, and it is important to know what to expect and how to navigate your child's nutritional needs at this age. Check out the guide below to find out how much, how often, and what your 8-month-old should be eating.

What is good food for an 8-month-old?

The most important food for an 8-month-old is formula or breast milk. Breastfeeding may protect your little one against overweight, while formula feeding may provoke changes in microbiota, which may lead to overweight. In case you are concerned about your baby overweight you can use BMI as the main indicator of adiposity in early infancy.

While this can be a fun age for your child to start experimenting with table foods, more of the food is likely to get on their clothes and on the floor than in their mouths. This makes it hard for solid foods to actually provide any nutritional value. At this age, they are for fun only and to let your child start to be part of family meals and experiment with different textures and self-feeding.

Before introducing solid foods to your 8-month-old, check for these signs of readiness:

It is strongly recommended to avoid foods that are choking risks, including small fruits, raw vegetables, nuts, candy, gum, whole grapes.

If you are wondering “What can babies eat at 8 months?” you may be surprised at how varied the list actually is. Good 8 months baby foods include cooked vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower; fresh fruit such as slices of avocado, banana, pear, melon, and mango; meats including baked or poached fish, chicken, and meatballs; and pasta. Round dry cereal pieces are another good 8 months babies’ food because they are easy to pick up, do not make a mess, and still dissolve quickly into easily swallowable mush. Avoid high choking risk foods like grapes, hot dogs, and popcorn, and always make sure an adult is supervising any self-feeding sessions. While true choking episodes are rare, taking a class to get certified in infant and child CPR may help give you peace of mind. 

It's important to make sure everything has been properly cooked so it's easy to gum and chew and to break everything into little pieces that are big enough for your child to pick up but small enough not to present a choking hazard.

You can also use mesh feeders, which are popular because they allow you to put foods inside a closed mesh container so your child can get the flavor and practice self-feeding but can't choke.

How much should an 8-month-old eat?

An 8-month-old should be taking in about 24 to 32 ounces of breast milk or formula throughout the day. Keep in mind that you'll need to wait until your child is at least 12 months old to start introducing cow's milk because an infant's GI tract is not usually developed enough to digest, predisposing to allergy and iron deficiency. Even at 1 year, it's important to watch out for signs of an allergy or intolerance. As long as your baby is taking in this much formula or breast milk and growing well, you don't have to worry about how much table food they're eating because their nutritional needs are already being met. The daily caloric requirements for 7–9 months is around 825 (kcal)/day for boys and around 765 (kcal)/day for girls.

How much formula for an 8-month-old?

Whether you have been formula feeding since the start or are ready to stop breastfeeding now due to needing to take medications or any other reason, developing an 8-month-old feeding schedule can help you know when your baby is hungry and help plan feedings around family meal times. 

Formula-fed infants need to drink 6 to 8 ounces approximately four times a day, for a total of 24–32 ounces. Depending on your child's growth and nutritional needs, your pediatrician may recommend more or less formula. As your child starts eating more solid foods or drinking water, the amount of formula may drop to 16 to 20 ounces a day. If you notice your child is losing weight or not showing interest in solid foods, it's a good idea to talk to the pediatrician.

What are good 8-month-old eating schedules?

A good general 8-month-old feeding schedule is to do a formula or breast milk feed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and then add the last feeding before bedtime. While babies who are breastfeeding might eat on a similar schedule to those who are formula fed, breast milk has a different composition than formula, and it's impossible to overfeed. If your child nurses more frequently or you find yourself going through more bottles of breast milk, it could be for comfort or a growth spurt, and it's not usually something to worry about.

If you're introducing solid foods, you can present these at regular family mealtimes so your child can begin to participate in the social aspect of meals and practice self-feeding. 

It’s best to give the baby food at meals before breast milk or formula, as baby is still trying to get used to new tastes, and may refuse solid foods if their stomachs are already full with formula or breast milk.

Watching your baby grow, reach new milestones, and gain more independence is one of the best parts of being a parent. It may take a while to get into a good 8-month-old feeding schedule, but it's a great way to set your child up for family mealtimes and start introducing your baby to the variety of flavors and textures out there. Follow these 8-month-old feeding schedule guidelines to give your child a solid foundation of good habits when it comes to eating and nutrition. 

https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/foods-and-drinks/index.html

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Starting-Solid-Foods.aspx

https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/eating-as-a-family/dos-and-donts-for-babys-first-foods

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