My 8 month old loves all food, which is great, but I feel could carry on eating forever! He does very rarely stop/refuse food, but often I stop feeding him 1st. Do you have any advice on portion size? He’s currently on 3 meals a day (no snacks) and breastfeeds on waking, mid afternoon and before bed. Meals include 2 ‘courses’ and include all the necessary elements (protein, carbs, variety of veg, fruit, some dairy). He’s not overweight for his age, although hasn’t been weighed for a number of weeks because of lockdown. When should snacks be introduced and breastfeeds stopped? Also, is readybrek as a pudding a good idea at dinner to fill up for overnight?! Thank you.
Emma: Hi Becky, it’s great to hear that your little one is a foodie. I’ll answer the first part of the question and Jill will add in about the breastfeeding aspect.
It can be really tricky to know how much to feed infants and children partly because this varies considerably from child to child. Everyone has different sized appetites. There’s some excellent guidance on portion size from First Steps Nutrition which you can access here: https://bit.ly/2VN5P8c
Children are born knowing to eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full, so it’s ok to trust them. If the foods being eaten are healthy and nutritious then they’re likely to all be helping your child to grow and develop healthily.
It’s quite common for portion sizes to be too large, so it’s always recommended to start by offering small portions of each component of the meal (e.g., fish fingers, carrots, potato) and then, when the child has eaten that, offer more if they’re still hungry.
Jill: Stopping breastfeeding is very much your choice. Breast milk can help with your baby’s immunity so some mothers like to continue for quite some time. Most babies continue with a ‘wake-up’ feed and going-to-sleep feed for some time then gradually stop the morning feed. Breast milk or baby milk is an important part of a baby’s diet, but if you have to or wish to stop breastfeeding you can start to give baby milk instead. By the time the baby is one-year-old, you will be replacing the milk feeds with healthy snacks.
Giving solid food before bed such as Readybrek can certainly help with a baby sleeping through the night. If you are giving cereal just check the packet for salt and sugar content, most are fine at eight-months-old but it is always good to be aware and to get into the habit of checking. You could also give, for example, mashed-up fruit or a banana which can be filling.
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