What Baby Eats In A Day: 6-12 Months Old

Looking for ideas of what to feed your 6-12 month old little one? Here are some ideas for what baby can eat in a day – for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – based on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines.

The USDA Dietary Guidelines For 6-12 Month Olds

6-12 month olds have started their solid food journey fairly recently, and are starting to explore new and exciting flavors and textures. Their bodies and brains are rapidly growing, and they need lots of nutrients to support this growth. But their small tummies mean that they can only eat so much. And the foods baby eats in their first year shape their lifelong taste preferences. So, it’s vital that every bite your little one eats is nutritious. 

According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for babies from birth to 2 years of age, your 6-12 month old’s diet should contain the following types of foods:

  • A variety of fruits and vegetables – these should be prioritized
  • Protein-rich foods, like meats, fish, beans, eggs, cow’s milk products, oatmeal, seed products, nut products, and/or soy products.
  • Baby-safe forms of common allergens, like "peanut, egg, cow milk products, tree nuts, wheat… and soy."
  • Whole grains
  • Foods high in iron and zinc, like oatmeal
  • Foods without any added sugar
  • Foods that are low in sodium 

This means that your child’s daily diet should follow this pattern:

  • Fruits and veggies as often as possible, ideally at every solid food meal
  • At least one protein-rich food per day (like oatmeal for breakfast, or meat at lunch or dinner)
  • Whole grains where possible
  • Common allergens in baby-safe forms (Ready. Set. Food! makes it easy to introduce 9 top allergens, so it’s easy to introduce these allergens to baby daily)

How Much Will Baby Eat In A Day?

6-12 month olds should still consume breastmilk or formula as they’re starting to eat solids. (“Weaning” just means introducing solids, not making baby give up breastmilk or formula completely.) Breastmilk or formula contains the ideal balance of nutrients for your little one, and helps make sure baby gets the nutrition they need when starting solids.

Your baby might not need three solids meals per day at first – they may only need one or two. But by 8 months or so, many babies start eating three meals, and will also want snacks (the snack could be breastmilk, formula, or a small amount of healthy solids). This means that your baby will eat about every three hours, whether that’s breastmilk, formula, or solids.

A 6-8 month old should eat approximately this much daily:

  • Breastmilk or formula: 3-5 feedings (if formula feeding, give 6-8 ounces per feed, but never more than 32 ounces in a day)
  • Fruit: 2-3 tablespoons at first, then working up to 4-8 tablespoons
  • Vegetables: 2-3 tablespoons at first, then working up to 4-8 tablespoons
  • Foods high in protein: 1-2 tablespoons at first, then working up to 2-4 tablespoons
  • Whole grains such as oatmeal: 1-2 tablespoons at first, then working up to 2-4 tablespoons

8-12 month olds should eat approximately this much in a day:

  • Breastmilk or formula: 3-4 feedings. The amount baby needs will decrease as baby eats more solids. (If formula feeding, baby will usually drink a total of 16-32 ounces per day.)
  • Fruit: ½ cup to ¾ cup
  • Vegetables: ½ cup to ¾ cup
  • Foods high in protein: ¼ cup to ½ cup
  • Whole grains: ¼ cup to ½ cup

These are approximate amounts, so don’t worry if baby eats a little more or a little less than this.

What Baby Eats In A Day: Choosing Meals

There are lots of options to provide a nutritious diet that follows USDA Dietary Guidelines. You’ll also need to make sure that meals are safe and appropriate for baby, to reduce the risk of choking. Soft foods are essential. 

Follow these tips to choose age-appropriate and safe meals:

  • Cook all fruits and veggies soft, so they are safe for baby.
  • As baby masters different textures, keep introducing a variety of baby-safe thicker and chunkier textures, so baby builds confidence in munching and chewing.
  • If you aren’t doing baby-led weaning (where baby is introduced to finger foods right away), aim to introduce finger foods by 9 months of age. This way, baby won’t refuse finger foods because they’ve become too fearful of choking.
  • Never feed baby hard or round foods. Cut round fruits and veggies into halves or quarters, or blend them into a puree or mash. 
  • Do not feed honey to your baby – it’s unsafe for babies under age 1. 
  • Do not feed baby any chunky peanut butter, and do not feed baby smooth peanut butter that isn’t watered down.
  • Babies shouldn’t have milk to drink in their first year of life, but milk foods like yogurt and shredded cheese are perfectly fine for 6-12 month old babies.  

Below, we’ll share ideas for what to feed your 6-12 month old at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Note: If you’re using Ready. Set. Food!, choose one Ready. Set. Food! option (Mix-Ins or oatmeal) per day to give baby to maintain exposure to common allergens!

Breakfast Options

6-8 month olds

  • Ready. Set. Food! Organic Baby Oatmeal with a thick fruit puree of your choice mixed in 
  • Ready. Set. Food! Organic Baby Oatmeal with mashed fruit of your choice mixed in 
  • Overnight oats with mashed fruit of your choice (add Ready. Set. Food! Mix-Ins if desired, right before feeding)
  • Thick purees of any type of fruit (add Ready. Set. Food! Mix-Ins if desired)
  • Plain yogurt with no sugar added, mixed with a fruit puree (add Ready. Set. Food! Mix-Ins if desired)
  • Mashed bananas, pears, mangoes, and/or peaches (add Ready. Set. Food! Mix-Ins if desired)
  • Fruit smoothies with just the fruit of your choice (and Ready. Set. Food! Mix-Ins if desired), blended to the thickness baby can handle

8-12 month olds, or any babies doing baby-led weaning

  • Ready. Set. Food! Organic Baby Oatmeal with thinly diced soft fruit
  • Overnight oats with thinly diced soft fruit of your choice (add Ready. Set. Food! Mix-Ins if desired right before feeding)
  • Plain yogurt with no sugar added, mixed with thinly diced soft fruit (add Ready. Set. Food! Mix-Ins if desired)
  • Soft strips of fruit 
  • Soft diced fruit pieces
  • Fruit smoothies with just the fruit of your choice (and Ready. Set. Food! Mix-Ins if desired), blended to the thickness baby can handle
  • Small pieces of pancakes made with oats or other whole grains, and with pureed or finely chopped fruit inside

Lunch and Dinner Options

6-8 month olds

  • Thick (or slightly chunky) purees of any type of fruit or veggie, with Ready. Set. Food! mixed in if desired
  • Mashed fruit or veggies, with Ready. Set. Food! mixed in if desired
  • Meat or cooked beans in a thick puree or mash, mixed with veggies if desired 

8-12 month olds, or any babies doing baby-led weaning

  • Crumbles of ground beef, turkey, or chicken
  • Soft strips of fruit or veggies (be sure to cook hard fruits and veggies to a soft texture before serving.)
  • Mashed fruit or veggies, with Ready. Set. Food! mixed in if desired
  • Small pieces of chicken or boneless fish
  • Mashed cooked beans
  • Shredded soft cheese
  • Small pieces of whole grain rotini (curly pasta)

Try these pairings:

  • Baby “taco bar” with meat crumbles and “fixings” – try shredded cheese, mashed avocado or avocado strips, mashed beans, and/or a thick tomato and pepper puree. Puree all the ingredients together for babies just starting solids. 
  • Chicken pieces with mashed cooked carrots and mashed peas
  • Boneless fish pieces with strips of mango and peach, or mashed mango and peach
  • Ground beef crumbles, served with plain yogurt and a green veggie
  • Quinoa with pureed or mashed sweet potato 
  • Spinach and butternut squash as a thick puree, alongside a fruit or meat of your choice
  • Rotini with shredded or mashed veggies, and tomato or butternut squash puree – add Ready. Set. Food! to the puree and pour over the rotini

Introduce Allergens Safely and Easily with Ready, Set, Food!

-------------------------------

All health-related content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the advice of your own pediatrician in connection with any questions regarding your baby’s health.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  

See the FDA Peanut Allergy Qualified Health Claim at the bottom of our homepage.