Baby’s Nutritional Needs – 8 to 10 Months
Both table food and milk are essential to meet bigger demands for calories to support movement and growth. While many growth charts focus on calories per ounce of body weight, our experience is that as children begin to move, their desire for food and milk increases. For some, this increase in food demand may come between 6 and 8 months. But for most, we see this high-growth period calorie demand increase occur between 8 and 10 months. Don’t expect a drop in milk; just an increase in total calorie consumption mostly driven by a demand for food. Some parents see milk demand increase as well, even as table food demands increase.
We recommend babies eat what the adults who care for them eat with minimal adaptations for safety and desirability. If you were using pureed baby food, it is time to start moving away from purees. Research indicates that if solid (lumpy) food is not encouraged by ten months, baby is at greater risk for feeding difficulties. Read more on our what to feed baby post.
From eight to ten months we encourage you to be sure that your child has two to three regular meals. You can still have impromptu snacks and you will likely still have schedule challenges that cause you to miss a meal here or there, but generally aim to schedule out two to three meals. Your baby is likely drinking milk just as much as they always have and you will want to keep offering milk as you have.
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 at this age is still offering pureed food. Children can now handle solid foods and the longer delay of pureed food may have a negative outcome.
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.
“Guiding principles for feeding non-breastfed children 6-24 ….” https://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/documents/9241593431/en/. Accessed 20 Dec. 2019.
Reidy, K.C., Deming, D.M., Briefel, R.R. et al. BMC Nutr (2017) 3: 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40795-016-0124-0