Feeding Schedule for 7 Month Old
Your baby’s first year is all about keeping track of the major milestones, tweaking diets, adjusting sleep schedules, and celebrating achievements so we want to give you the best feeding schedule for 7 month old.
After your baby crosses the half-year mark, you will notice the developments coming on faster than you expect. Your infant’s sense of sight has developed; they can see objects at a distance and probably colors too. The brain is able to process a wide range of sounds. They soon start trying to mimic them. Good luck trying to understand the baby talk.
Your little one is not so little anymore. He has probably added a few inches and pounds to his tiny frame. Improved body strength could mean your baby is able to sit up straight or roll over without help. They also sleep for fewer hours. Within the next few weeks, your baby will be down on his fours exploring your home. As for you, you’ll soon have to start baby proofing the place.
Given the growth spurts, at 7 months, parents should consider adjusting the diet of their child. It becomes essential to add food groups other than milk to meet the nutritional requirements of a growing infant. In this article, we discuss the feeding schedule of a 7-month old, how to add solids, and other tips. Stay with us to know more.
Time to Finally Introduce Solids
For the first 6 months after birth, experts suggest sticking to breast milk strictly. It provides whole nutrition to your baby.
After the half-year mark, you can introduce a few solids to your baby’s diet. It is especially important in cases where mothers complain of decreasing milk supply. To add, you’ll notice you have a hungrier baby on your hands. Hungry babies are light sleepers. A growling tummy is also reason enough for a cranky mood.
Before you adopt a solid diet, you should consult your pediatrician. Your baby’s digestive system should have matured to produce the digestive enzymes needed to break down complex foods. Increased body weight is a good indicator of a fast-developing digestive system.
Mashed and pureed. Babies start teething around 4-6 months of age. But not all follow the same timeline. Besides, those that do, may only have a single tooth, hardly sufficient to go through solids. Mash or puree vegetables. It is soft on the gums. It is also easy to swallow. As your baby sprouts more teeth, you can keep it slightly grainy and chunky.
Small portions to start. Increase the quantity gradually. Larger quantities of solid foods could lead to indigestion. It will also help test the foods your baby is able to tolerate. Do the same for food size. Start with nibbles graduating to chunks.
- When first trying solid foods, stick to single ingredients – a single cereal, single fruit or vegetable. Once you see that your baby tolerates it well, you can think of mixing two ingredients.
- Wait a few days between introducing new foods. It gives you time to spot food allergies if any.
- We get bored of eating the same food every day. So, do babies. Include a variety of foods in their diet, both in terms of flavors and nutrient profiles. Work with different textures too.
- Smaller sized finger foods are a great way to teach babies to feed themselves. The finger foods you include should be of a soft texture.
Choose a good time to experiment with solid foods. Your little one should be hungry and not cranky. If you think he is too cranky or is too hungry, first calm him down by nursing him. Then, sit your baby down, supported on your lap or in a high chair. Scoop a little amount of baby food in a spoon and offer it to him.
It is likely he will want to first taste and smell it. If you’re lucky he will lap it up. But most babies reject the first spoon. So, keep trying.
What Can a 7-Month old Eat?
At 7 months babies need vital vitamins such as B-groups, C and D, and minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium. Choose foods that contain these essential vitamins and minerals. They must also be energy-dense. Include a judicious amount of fruits, vegetables, and fortified baby-cereal.
- Vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, tomatoes, and squash are a good addition to a baby’s diet.
- Fortified-cereals can be mixed with formula feed or breast milk.
- You can include smaller portions of cheese, yogurt, tofu, meat, skinless chicken as they are rich in proteins. Diary is a good source of calcium too.
- Think of innovative ways to get your little one to eat pulses – peas, beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, and lentils. They contain good amounts of protein, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber.
- Among the fruits, your baby can safely eat pureed or steamed apples, mashed bananas, avocados, and pears.
- Your 7-month old’s feeding diet should also include liquids other than milk. Try fresh-squeezed fruit juice. Give them water too. Use a sippy cup for drinks. As infants grow older, you can upgrade to a straw cup.
Speaking of fruits and vegetables, you can serve fresh or frozen chunks. Steaming, baking, and boiling are the healthiest cooking processes. Avoid fried and grilled foods.
What Should you Avoid?
- Avoid excessive sugar. Reserve the biscuits, cakes, and cookies for after your little one’s first birthday.
- Limit the amounts of fat and oil too.
- Do not include salt in your 7-month old’s diet. At the age of 7 months, an infant’s kidneys are underdeveloped and unable to process large amounts of salt. Failure to control salt intake can cause kidney damage.
- Stay away from prepackaged, processed foods as they are loaded with salt and preservatives.
- Steer clear of nuts, grapes, or gum and candy. Hard, sticky and round foods may be swallowed whole and could get lodged in the windpipe, causing your baby to choke.
- Honey is damaging to a baby’s health. The spores present in it are among the primary causes of botulism in infants. No honey till your baby’s first birthday.
- Your 7-month old’s diet should not include a serving of cow’s milk. It is difficult to digest and could trigger an allergic reaction.
- Eggs, peanuts, and fish and peanuts are the most common food allergies. And hence, are best included in smaller amounts or for a little later.
If you have a family history of food allergies, you need to take extra precautions and be alert when transitioning to solid foods. Discuss food allergies with your pediatrician. The most common but mild symptoms of an allergic reaction include skin rashes, bloated stomach, gas, diarrhea, and vomiting.
How Much Milk does a 7-Month old Need?
Solid foods introduced at this stage serve to supplement a milk diet not replace it completely. Milk, whether it is breast milk or formula feed, will remain the primary source of nutrition. Besides, the transition to solids will take time. Hence, you will need to balance the quantity of milk with the proportion of solid foods
It starts with reducing the milk intake to accommodate solid foods. Answering the question of how much milk does your 7-month old needs, depends on whether you are breastfeeding or use formula.
For breastfed babies: On demand. Usually, babies feed every 3 to 4 hours.
For formula-feed: Restrict the amount to 500ml to 600ml (18-21 oz) per day. It works out to 6-4 ounces per feed.
For breast pumping: An infant needs a total intake of 25oz in a 24 hour period. Divide it between the number of milk feeds. If it is 5 feeds in a day, it is roughly around 5oz per feed.
Solid food: 4-6 ounces per serving if giving 3 solid meals per day.
As your baby gets used to solid foods, the milk intake will naturally drop.
Sample Feeding Schedule for a 7-Month old
The feeding schedule for a 7-month old should ideally be structured to include around 4 milk feeds separated by 3 smaller snacks of solid foods. They can include cereal, finger foods, or homemade baby food.
- Wake up feed – The first meal of the day should be milk, breastmilk, or formula-feed. (150ml – 180ml)
- Breakfast – Fruit chunks, cereal mixed with milk or bread.
- Let your baby nap for a while before waking him up for a mid-morning or late-afternoon snack.
- Early afternoon – Follow the nap with a milk feed, breastmilk, or formula.
- Lunch – The lunch-time snack can be a little heavier than breakfast. Soft cooked rice, mashed potato, lentils of chickens, well-cooked veggies are just a few options.
- Afternoon snack – Let your baby complete his mid-day nap for a while, before offering him the bottle or breast again, towards early evening around 4.00 pm.
- Evening – Your baby’s evening snack can be another small bowl of solid food.
- Dinner – Wrap up your 7-month old’s feeding schedule with a final milk feed, before putting them to bed for the night.
- Dream feed – It is optional. If you’re little one still wakes up at night, you can add a late-night milk feed.
Other Feeding Tips
- The food quantities mentioned are the “recommended amounts”. Don’t fret if your baby does not meet all the requirements. He may be tired, or maybe full from a previous meal.
- Establish a routine. It introduces discipline in the feeding schedule. Feeding, sleeping, and playing at fixed times also helps the baby adjust. If your baby wakes up earlier than expected, don’t rush the feed. Let them play for a while.
- When chalking out a feeding schedule for your baby take into consideration their sleeping schedule too.
- Use a diet planner. It assists with keeping track of the foods introduced to your baby’s diet, thereby helping add variety. There are plenty of printable diet planners available online. Or you can design your own.
- Let your little one join you at the dining table. You can buy a secure, high chair that can be placed closer to your seat at the dining table. They will be excited about joining you at the table.
- Experiment with recipes. Your baby will love it.
- Print and paste your baby’s meal plan in a place where everyone can see it. Inform all caregivers of the same.
- When you start out, it is going to be a messy affair. Your baby will want to play with his food more than eat it. Accept it and let it go.
- You can create batches of solid food for your baby and freeze and preserve them. However, making fresh food, if you have the time, is always a better option.
You can Skip the Night-Time Feeds
The 7th month is a good time to start weaning your baby off the night feed.
Many babies wake up at night for a feed. Hunger arouses them. A dream feed, an additional feed just before bed, helps keep their tummies fuller at night. Because of this, they sleep better through the night.
The mix of milk and solid foods helps satisfy a hungry stomach. So, it is a good time to gradually stop late-night feeds. If you ensure your baby is eating well through the day and gets a good amount during the dream feed, there is no need to repeat the feed at night. And after a few weeks of increasing the number of solid foods, you will gradually be in a position to wean them off the dream feed too.
To conclude, babies can be quite picky. It may take a while before they develop a taste for solids. They are experimenting with new flavors, textures, and foods just as you do. There will be good days and bad. Days when your baby will lick up the last crumb in the bowl and others when your little rebel will toss it to the floor without a taste. In all these moments, you need to be patient and let them take their time.
Use the sample meal plans provided on the internet. But avoid unnecessary detailing. Don’t forget to tweak it to your child’s tastes and energy requirements. In the end, what matters is striking a balance between milk feeds and foods and keeping your little one happy and well-fed.