We’re all familiar with the thought of eating 3 meals a day, but is this something that a baby should adhere to, or do they run on a different eating schedule than us adults?
It might be tempting, and easier to remember to feed your baby when the rest of the family is eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but this can be too many meals for some babies, especially if introduced too quickly.
Of course you want to stick to breast milk and feed your baby as often as they’re hungry when they’re just starting out. As you start to introduce solid foods to them, you start to consider that a meal, more than a bottle of formula or a breastfeeding would be. You can start them off slowly when introducing solids, getting them used to the idea of one solid meal a day, and then as they grow upping that to 2 solid meals a day. Eventually they’ll get to 3 meals a day and that
Can I Give My Baby 3 Meals a Day? Answer: Depends on Your Baby
You kind of have to follow your baby’s cues on this one. If they seem to be handling solid foods well, and are developing fine motor skills like the pincer grasp, you can start to give them more and more advanced foods, and they could be at 3 meals a day before you know it. But you don’t have to rush things. Many moms and doctors say that it’s best to breast feed them for as long as you’re producing and as long as they’re still accepting it. After that you can move to formula, and then things like rice cereals.
When their teeth start coming in is a good time to try out select solid foods and see how they do with them. Always introduce new foods separate from any other new foods so that you can monitor their behavior afterward, and you can see how well they digest it in their bowel movements. As you introduce more and more new foods in this manner, you’ll soon have developed an assortment of foods that they like and can handle easily.
2 Meals Might Be Fine
You don’t have to force that third meal on your baby until they’re totally ready. Many babies get by on 2 meals with perhaps a light snack in lieu of dinner. It’s important not to force feed your baby, or make them adhere to an arbitrary eating schedule. They’ll have their own digestive pattern, and while it might not be convenient to feed them at times when the rest of the house isn’t eating, you have to respect their development at this young age.
You might notice that your baby is naturally hungrier at certain times of the day than at others. This is not something to be worried about, and not something you should try to alter. It is just their natural cycle showing itself. You might notice that they don’t eat much for breakfast, but get really hungry for lunch, and then don’t really need to eat much later in the day. Or maybe they’re ravenous at breakfast time and then don’t require much throughout the day.
This is because they’re not influence by the media and commercials for food, and they shouldn’t get cravings for sugar and salty or crunchy foods. They’re just going by whether or not their stomach feels full or empty. They’re far more in tune with what their body needs than we as adults are. That’s why it’s best to trust their instincts over what we feel is right for them.
3 meals a day may sound right, especially because of the adage of 3 square meals, but your baby is a baby and not an adult. They probably don’t need to eat that often, and when they do it doesn’t need to be at set or regulated times. Give them a lot of wiggle room so that you’re not feeding them when they’re not hungry, or feeding to soothe them. This can lead to eating disorders later in life, when they eat when they’re not hungry, or eat to enhance their mood.