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How Much to Feed Toddlers

Angela Oswalt, MSW

As in all major decisions that affect the health and well-being of a baby or toddler, be sure to discuss all nutrition questions and concerns with the pediatrician to make sure your child's nutritional needs are met. As discussed previously, by the time babies are preparing to transition into solid foods, between the ages of 4 to 6 months, they are taking approximately 32 ounces of breast milk or formula in a day. Around age 6 months, babies should be taking in that same amount of milk plus one to two servings each of cereal and of fruit, to supplement their daily menu. Between the ages of 6 and 9 months, babies should be taking in 24 to 32 ounces of milk and two servings of cereal, one to two servings of fruit, two servings of vegetables, and two servings of meat. They can also begin drinking juice or water from a cup at this time. It's best for young children to drink water and learn to enjoy it, without developing a taste for only sweet drinks.

Doctors and nutritionists recommend that toddlers drink about 1.5 ounces of fluid per pound of body weight each day. Between the ages of 9 and 12 months, babies continue to decrease the amount of breast milk or formula they take as solid foods are providing them with more and more of their nutritional needs. At this age stage, they need 16 to 24 ounces of milk, two servings each of cereal, fruit, vegetables, and meat, and either ½ slice of bread or ¼ cup soft pasta per day. After their first birthday, toddlers continue to transition from breast milk and formula to adult foods, as they take fewer milk feedings and begin to eat more mashed family foods in addition to their baby foods. The average 18-month-old needs 1,000 to 1,300 calories daily, which could come from three cups whole milk or equivalent breast milk, three to four servings of grains, two to three servings each of fruits and vegetables, one serving of a legume, one serving of meat or protein, and three to four ounces of healthy snacks.


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