You snapped the pics of your messy-mouthed munchkin starting solids and shared the first meal milestone, and now you're wondering where to go from here.

How much solid food should you offer your baby each day, and when should your child adopt a three-meals-a-day routine? What's the right ratio of solids to breast milk or formula — and should both be on the menu at the same time?

Get answers to these questions, along with simple guidelines for setting up a general baby feeding schedule.

How often and at what times should I feed baby solids?

There's no "perfect" time of day to feed your baby — it's whenever works for you. If you're breastfeeding, you might offer solids when your milk supply is at its lowest (probably late afternoon or early evening). On the other hand, babies who wake up bright-eyed and eager might be happy to sample solids for breakfast.

You'll quickly learn when your baby is interested in eating and when she isn't, which she'll show you by opening her mouth wide and willingly taking bites (or palming and gumming finger foods on her own) versus fussily turning her head away. Follow the cues and don't force feedings — you can always try again later.

Start with one meal a day, then move up to two (try one in the morning and one in the evening) for the next month or so. As your baby gets older and approaches toddlerhood, you can work up to three solid meals a day with a snack or two in between.

Baby feeding chart: How much should I feed my baby in one sitting?

baby feeding chart

A good rule of thumb when you're figuring out just how much to give your little one during each meal: Start small and work your way up.

While your baby's first meals may have consisted of a teaspoon or two of solid food, once she gets the hang of eating, you can use the following baby feeding chart as a general guideline:

4 to 6 months:

  • 24 to 36 ounces of formula or milk over 24 hours (or five to eight nursing sessions a day)
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons of cereal once or twice a day
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons each of a fruit and vegetable once or twice a day

6 to 8 months:

  • 24 to 36 ounces of formula or breast milk over 24 hours (now that your baby's a more efficient nurser, you'll probably breastfeed her four to six times a day)
  • 4 to 9 tablespoons each of cereal, fruit and vegetables a day, spread out over two to three meals
  • 1 to 6 tablespoons of a meat or other protein (like yogurt, cottage cheese or crumbled egg) a day

9 to 12 months:

  • 16 to 30 ounces of formula or milk over 24 hours (or three to five nursing sessions a day)
  • Around 1/4 to 1/2 cup each of grains, fruit and veggies twice a day
  • Around 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dairy foods a day
  • Around 1/4 to 1/2 cup of protein-packed foods a day 

How do I determine the best baby food portion sizes?

General serving size recommendations can be helpful, but remember that every baby is different. It’s perfectly normal for your little eater to chow down one day (and even have seconds or thirds) and clamp her tiny mouth shut the next. 

Try not to worry if your cutie’s appetite isn’t always exactly the same, or if what she chooses to eat doesn’t quite match up with the recommended servings.

Forcing your baby to eat when she’s not interested isn’t fun for either of you, and over time, it can make it harder for her to tune in to her body’s natural hunger and fullness cues. 

Instead, focus simply on offering a variety of nutrient-rich foods in age-appropriate serving sizes and letting your little one take it from there. Your new nosher has the ability to take in what her body is asking for.

As long as you’re offering balanced options, she’ll likely get what she needs over the course of the day or week.

On the other hand? Trust your gut. Talk with the pediatrician if you suspect that your baby has a feeding issue, seems uncomfortable or unusually fussy after eating, or doesn’t seem to be gaining weight as she should be. Together, you can figure out what’s going on and make mealtime more enjoyable.

How do I incorporate breastfeeding or bottle-feeding once I introduce solids?

Even though your baby is now slurping purées from a spoon (or, if you're trying a baby-led weaning approach, learning to gum at finger foods), the bulk of her nutrition will still come from breast milk or formula. Consider the solids you serve at first as healthy supplements and a chance for your sweetie to explore new tastes and textures.

When should you bring out a bottle or your breast, and when should you dish out solids? There's really no set rule. Some parents find that an appetizer of breast milk or formula is a good way to start off a meal, so their little ones aren't too hungry to settle down to eat.

Other parents offer solids as a first course and breast milk or formula for dessert. Then there are moms who like to completely separate solids from nursing or bottle-feeding sessions.

Since there's no hard and fast rule, experiment until you find a feeding schedule that works for you.

Sample baby feeding schedules

Your baby’s early days with solids should be about helping her get into the flow of mealtime with the family. Ideally, she’ll eat at times when everyone else is at the table, too.

Just keep in mind that, since the bulk of your baby’s nutrition should still be coming from breast milk or formula until she turns 1, those liquid meals should continue to take priority.

You can start off with just one or two solid meals per day — whichever ones are most convenient for you.

For instance, offer breakfast and dinner if your cutie is in day care and you want the honors of feeding her solids. If it’s too hard to squeeze in dinner before her bedtime milk feeding, begin with breakfast and lunch.

As your baby hits 8 or 9 months and starts eating more foods (and drops to just a morning and afternoon nap, freeing up more time in the day), you can transition to three meals.

These sample schedules below may help you envision how solids can fit into your baby's day — just remember that every child (and every family!) is different. Your little one's schedule may not be predictable or consistent until she hits toddlerhood. However, you might find that a typical day looks something like this:

Sample baby feeding schedule for 4- to 6-month-olds

This schedule assumes that your 4- to 6-month-old is taking three naps (though some 6-month-olds will drop down to two) and you're introducing solid foods by spoon-feeding purées.

If your family is following a baby-led weaning approach, solids (in the form of soft, gummable finger foods) would not be offered until after the 6-month mark, when your child is likely more capable of self-feeding.

  • 7:00 a.m.: Wake and nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 7:45 a.m.: Breakfast (1 to 4 tablespoons infant cereal, 1 to 4 tablespoons mashed banana)
  • 8:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.: Nap
  • 10:45 a.m.: Wake and nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 12:00 p.m.: Nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: Nap
  • 2:30 p.m.: Nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 4:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.: Nap
  • 5:00 p.m.: Nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 5:45 PM: Dinner (1 to 4 tablespoons mashed sweet potato, 1 to 4 tablespoons puréed peas)
  • 6:45 PM: Nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 7:00 PM: Bed

Sample baby feeding schedule for 7- to 9-month-olds

This schedule assumes that your 7- to 9-month-old is taking two naps (though some 7-month-olds may still need three).

  • 7:00 a.m.: Wake and nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 7:45 a.m.: Breakfast (2 to 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, 2 to 3 tablespoons thinly sliced strawberries, 1/4 slice whole grain toast)
  • 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.: Nap
  • 11:30 a.m.: Nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 12:15 p.m.: Lunch (1/4 to 1/2 crumbled or sliced hard-boiled egg, 2 to 3 tablespoons mashed or sliced avocado, 1/4 to 1/2 whole grain pita cut into strips)
  • 1:45 p.m. (Nurse or bottle) 6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula
  • 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Nap
  • 4:00 p.m.: Nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 5:30 p.m.: Dinner (2 to 3 tablespoons mini meatballs made with turkey or beef, 2 to 3 tablespoons cooked whole grain pasta, 1 to 2 tablespoons steamed broccoli florets)
  • 7:00 p.m.: Nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 7:30 p.m.: Bed 

Sample schedule for 10- to 12-month-olds

  • 7:00 a.m.: Wake and nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 8:00 a.m.: Breakfast (1/4 cup cooked rolled oats, 1 to 2 teaspoons peanut butter, 2 to 3 tablespoons smushed blueberries)
  • 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.: Nap
  • 11:00 a.m.: Nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 12:00 PM: Lunch (1/4 to 1/2 black bean and cheese quesadilla on whole grain tortilla sliced into small pieces, 2 to 3 tablespoons steamed carrot half-moons, 1/4 thinly sliced ripe pear)
  • 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Nap
  • 4:00 p.m.: Nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 5:45 p.m.: Dinner (3 to 4 tablespoons flaked salmon, 3 to 4 tablespoons baked sweet potato wedges, 3 to 4 tablespoons steamed green beans with butter)
  • 7:00 p.m.: Nurse or bottle (6 to 8 ounces breast milk or formula)
  • 7:30 p.m.: Bed 

It will take some trial and error to figure out the best feeding schedule for your baby, but as long as your little one is eating a variety of foods and growing and thriving, you can rest assured that she's well-fed.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I serve solid foods to my baby?

Any time of day is fine: Watch your baby's cues to see when she seems interested in eating. Start by feeding your baby one meal a day, then offer two daily meals (one at breakfast, one at lunch or dinner). Once your baby is 8 or 9 months old, you can gradually move to three solid meals and snacks. Talk to your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your baby's eating.

How often should a 4-month-old feed?

A 4-month-old will have about five to eight feedings of breast milk or formula every day. If you've started solids, you'll give a small amount of baby food one to two times a day, too.

What's a typical feeding schedule for a 6-month-old?

Your 6-month-old will likely need about four to six breast milk or formula feedings and one to two solid meals each day. Once your baby starts solids, continue to offer breast milk or formula in the usual amounts and just add a small breakfast, lunch or dinner to your baby's day.

How often should a 9-month-old feed?

A 9-month-old will likely need about three to five feedings of breast milk or formula and two or three solid meals each day. This typically means that your baby will be eating about every two or three hours during the day.