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How much food do babies need?

In this video, Dr Katie Lacy describes why providing small amounts of a variety of nutrient-dense foods to infants is important.

Breastmilk or infant formula are the key sources of nutrients for a young infant but these foods will progressively be replaced by family foods from around six to 12 months of age.

Food for babies

During this time, a healthy diet for an infant should:

  • meet the infant’s individual nutritional needs for their growth and activity level, as indicated by healthy weight gain and development
  • contain breastmilk or infant formula
  • include a variety of foods from meal-to-meal and day-to-day with an emphasis on nutrient-dense foods, particularly those rich in iron.

In terms of food quantities, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council dietary guidelines recommend the following food quantities for infants aged seven to 12 months.

Food* Serve size Serves a day Serves a week
Vegetables and legumes/beans 20g 1½–2 10–14
Fruit 20g ½ 3–4
Grain (cereal) foods 40g bread equivalent 10
Infant cereal (dried) 20g 1 7
Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes/beans 30g 1 7
Breast milk or formula 600ml 1 7
Yoghurt/cheese or alternatives 20ml yoghurt or 10g cheese ½ 3–4

* An allowance for unsaturated spreads or oils or nut/seed paste of ½ serve (4–15g) per day is included, however, whole nuts and seeds are not recommended at this age because they may cause choking.
(Source: National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013, p. 44) (CC BY 4.0)

In this video, Dr Katie Lacy describes the importance of providing small amounts of a variety of nutrient-dense foods to infants to help them to accept and learn to like a range of nutritious foods.

Reference

National Health and Medical Research Council. (2013). Eat for health. Australian dietary guidelines summary. Canberra: NHMRC.

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Infant Nutrition: from Breastfeeding to Baby's First Solids

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