Baby’s Nutritional Needs – 10 to 12 Months
Breast milk and formula remain necessary for baby’s diet through their first year but with the first birthday on the horizon you will begin to see a drop in milk consumption. If you are nursing and it is working well for you and baby, the World Health Organization recommends keeping it up through age two. However, if you are feeling done with breastfeeding it is just a few short months until your baby can get all they need from food!
Tune into your baby’s cues around nursing and bottle feeding. If you offer table food first and regularly you’ll be most likely to notice the drop in milk and see the food pick up naturally. There is no rush and you should not limit milk intake, just start to look for their natural shift. Remember every baby is different.
We recommend babies eat what the adults who care for them eat with minimal adaptations for safety and desirability. Read more on our what to feed baby post.
From ten to twelve months we encourage you to be sure that your child has three regular meals and one to three snacks. Routine is important at this age and food intake can really affect sleep quality. You may notice your baby is distracted and playful with milk times, they may even show less interest in milk, if this is the case follow their lead and offer less frequent milk feedings. Your baby may not be showing signs of being ready to reduce milk, that is okay too. Shift your schedule so that you offer table foods first to encourage food and continue to feed milk on demand until they are showing signs.
In a chair at a low table or in a high chair are the best places for babies to eat. At this age you will likely need to set boundaries around sitting down when eating for safety. Trust your child will eat within your reasonable boundaries and try to keep mealtimes light.
Babies always choose if they eat and how much. I think every parent worries about whether their baby is eating enough or too much, but by this point in their lives you really need to begin to grapple with accepting that you cannot control how much they eat. You choose, what, when, and how, and they choose if and how much. Luckily researchers have looked at toddler eating and they may not eat a balanced diet in a day but over a period of a week it looks more balanced. Your stress doesn’t help so keep offering regular routine food and milk and your baby will show you what they need.
The most common mistake we see in this age is families who have not notices their child’s cues to reduce milk intake and begin the transition away from formula. If you start thinking and planning now it makes the transition to whole milk.
Thinking about not weaning, good news extended breastfeeding is good for you and baby. [See: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/extended-breastfeeding/art-20046962?p=1]
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. This framework is based on our experience and research. We promote practicing cued care and do not advocate for any specific feeding regime or counting children’s calories. The age ranges and the idea of percentages are to help families see there is normal variability across children and families. Look at the graphic as a framework knowing that each child and family is different.
“Breastfeeding and Solid Foods – HealthyChildren.org.” 23 Feb. 2012, https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/Working-Together-Breastfeeding-and-Solid-Foods.aspx. Accessed 20 Dec. 2019.