"How do you know when it’s time to adjust your baby's eating schedule, and what you should switch to? My daughter is 8 1/2 months old. She usually eats a solid +7oz bottle in the morning and again at noon, a 6 oz bottle at 4pm, then a solid +7oz bottle for dinner. But lately she's not very interested in her bottle. I think it's partly because she likes to look around and explore, and eating her bottle bores her and takes too much time. Most of the time I just put her on the floor with her bottle and she'll feed herself, going to play for a minute then coming back for more. If I hold her to feed her she usually gets mad and fights me and refuses to eat at all because she's so concerned about what's going on around her! lol! I switched her nipple to the next size so she can eat faster, and that helps a bit, but she still loses interest in either her lunch, afternoon or dinner bottle (she chugs her morning one). Is it time to cut out a bottle? Or lessen the amount? She'll eat a whole banana or avocado, if that gives you a picture of how much solids she eats. Should I just give her a solid at noon and a small (4oz?) bottle chaser? Any advice is appreciated :-)"
That’s a great question. Figuring out exactly the right amount of milk/formula intake for a who's starting solids (and when that curiosity kicks in!) can be challenging. Your baby is 8 months old; she’s well into solid soft foods and probably will start pincer-grasp self-feeding within a short period of time. Sounds like she is “weaning” herself from a more liquid diet to a more solid one, which is a natural part of development. Every step babies take in the eating category is a step toward more independence. Further, fine-motor skills she's learning will lead to self-feeding.
Here’s Dr. Jen's handy way to think about volume of liquid nutrition for a child who has started solids:
• Between 4 and 6 months, a child should have about six meals a day, each between 32 and 40 ounces. Of course this will vary between babies, but this is a good rule of thumb. I suggest starting solids as late as possible; if you can stretch it to 6 months, that’s great. Even if your baby does start a little bit of solids at this point, try and maintain the liquid nutrition, keeping a focus on pushing the start of solid foods as close to the 6 month milestone as possible.
• Between 6 and 9 months, a child will have two to three feedings each day, each about 1 to 2 tablespoons, of starter foods. There should be super pureed initially, introduced one at a time with a 4 or 5 day waiting period between each new food so your baby’s plate gradually grows more colorful, and four or five liquid meals, perhaps with a little less volume, around 24-32 (or 3 to 4 bottles) each day.
• Between 9 and 12 months, babies will eat three meals a day, each about two to four tablespoons and transitioning into bite-size pieces (remember: soft! small!). Liquid intake at this stage also goes down (as you are experiencing) to three or four feeds a day, again at a lesser volume - 20 to 30 ounces per day.
What About Water?
Babies younger than 6 months do not need water intake on a regular basis - in fact water may lead to problems for the baby's essential body processes. Your pediatrician may recommend a little bit of water for various reasons, and certainly take his or her advice. By the age of 6 to 12 months, babies still don't need much water, but introducing a bit via a bottle or sippy cup can assist in yours getting comfortable with the texture and “taste” of water. If it is extremely hot outside, it is important for a baby at this age to have about one bottle of water each day in addition to the nutritive intake described above. By the way, I do not recommend juice – period – for babies.
So, what you are experiencing is NORMAL! She’s growing, she’s exploring. She’s already giving you a run for your money. Welcome to parenthood’s constantly changing challenges!
Dr. Jen® is a real pediatrician, a mother of four (girl twins & boy twins!) and an inventor - and she's smiling through it all! Learn more about Dr. Jen®, the multi-tasking mommy doctor that "gets it", by visiting her website!
* This information is not a substitute for personal medical, psychiatric or psychological advice.