Many of us of can gauge what we eat by eyeballing a plate of food. Experienced mothers or caregivers also do the same for their infants or wards. For a new mother however, she might wonder about appropriate portion size for their infants and how frequent the meals will be. Should a caregiver just get some food in a plate and see how much the child would eat before he shows satiety or should she just give a specified portion 3 times a day like adults usually eat?
Here are some recommendations that can guide mothers:
At 6 months:
All infants up until this point should have been on a milk diet (breast milk or formula milk). At 6 months, a transition has to be made from an all liquid diet to liquid and semi-solids and then solids. Milk is still very much an important part of your infants meals at 6 months, and it should be complemented by healthy foods (Read here for food groups). Your infant needs about 2-3 tablespoons of food about 2-3 times a day. This would complement the milk which should be about 500mls spread out throughout the day.
As your infant grows, the caregiver can increase portion size of food from 2-3 tablespoons to about ½ (half) a cup of food. She would eat 2-3 meals and have 1-2 snacks in addition. Continue to breastfeed or give formula milk. One cup of food is 250mls. An example of a snack is pureed or mashed fruits.
At this age, nutrient requirement for your child increases and she would need to eat at least ½ cup of food 3-4 times a day along with 1-2 snacks.
About ¾ to 1 cup of food at each meal is what your infant will consume at this stage. At she would need to consume that for 3-4 times a day with 1-2 snacks.
It is important to note that not all children will respond exactly to this guideline . Some children will eat more while some will eat less depending on their appetite and state of health. This should help a mother gauge if her infant or toddler is underfed, overfed or well fed.