It’s always nice when a baby who’s just started eating solid foods shows a real appetite for them. As a parent, you know that it feels great to offer your little one healthy solid food choices and then watch as she gobbles them up.
But can that healthy appetite ever be a problem? Can a baby actually eat too much solid food?
In a word, yes.
Remember, for the first year of life, a baby’s primary source of nutrition should be breastmilk and/or formula. It’s just fine to offer solid foods (starting around 5 or 6 months), but solid foods shouldn’t replace breastmilk or formula as a source of nourishment.
In this article, we’ll explore two signs that you may be feeding your baby too much solid food and two easy ways to fix the problem.
2 Signs You’re Feeding Your Baby Too Much Solid Food
Your baby regularly eats more food than is recommended.
There’s no formula for exactly how much food you should be offering your baby at each meal; rather, its best if you use your baby’s own hunger cues and appetite as a guide.
But if you find that your baby is routinely eating more than is recommended, you may want to consider offering a bit less food at each sitting. A healthy appetite is a good thing, but not if your baby ends up overeating every day! Check out our Amounts of Solid Food By Age chart to determine appropriate serving sizes for your baby.
Your baby regularly drinks less breastmilk or formula than is recommended.
This is another sign that you may be offering too much solid food. If you find that your baby is regularly nursing less, or taking less formula during feedings, then you’ll want to take a careful look at how much solid food you’re offering.
Sometimes, babies who fill up on solids don’t have much room left for breastmilk or formula. And since breastmilk and/or formula is a key part of your baby’s nutrition, it’s vital that they drink plenty of it. Our Amounts of Solid Food By Age chart (referenced above) also includes recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula; check that to see if your baby’s getting enough.
Remember, if your baby has a good appetite for solid foods and eats quite a bit, that’s not necessarily a problem; as long as he’s also nursing or formula-feeding well, and taking in the recommended amounts of breastmilk or formula, all is well.
In addition, if you find that your baby isn’t getting the amounts of breastmilk or formula that she needs, it might not be due to her solids intake. If you know that she’s eating normal amounts of solid foods, then you’ll want to think about other reasons that could be causing her to drink less breastmilk or formula (like illness, or teething).
However, if the two signs listed above seem to go hand-in-hand, then you can be pretty certain that you’re feeding your baby more solid food than is good for her, and it’s causing her to take in less breastmilk or formula than she needs.
Too Much Solid Food and Not Enough Breastmilk/Formula? Ways to Solve the Problem
If you suspect your baby’s consuming too much solid food and not enough breastmilk or formula, there are a two simple steps you can take to fix the situation.
Offer breastmilk or formula before offering solids.
This one just makes sense, right? When your baby’s at his hungriest, offer him the breast (or the bottle) before you give him a handful of cheerios or a dish of mashed bananas. That‘ll help ensure that he drinks plenty of breastmilk or formula. It’ll also help take the edge off his appetite for solids.
Offer (a little) less solid food.
Some people suggest stopping solids altogether, and going back to a breastmilk/formula only diet. We generally don’t recommend this strategy, since it’s not a good method for striking a balance between solids and breastmilk or formula.
Instead, if you suspect you’re offering too much solid food, we recommend cutting back on serving sizes a bit. Simply offer your baby a little less solid food than you normally would. That (in combination with nursing or bottle feeding before you offer solids) should ensure that your baby isn’t eating too much solid food.
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10 thoughts on “Are You Feeding Your Baby Too Much Solid Food?”
My son seems to fall into this category, I know for a fact he is eating too much solids. So what advice can you offer when your baby doesn’t want milk, he only wants solids? I’ve tried do many different kinds of formula and bottles and he doesn’t want/like it, he will go hungry and cry until he gets solids. My breastmilk supply has pretty much dried up because if this too, so he’s 5 months old and only getting about 300mL per day (that’s only because I ‘dreamfeed’ him at night while he’s sleeping). Any help you can offer to get him drinking milk AND sleep at night would be great!
P.S. he wakes up many times at night because he’s hungry/thirsty, so his/my night sleep is terrible too. We’re stuck in this vicious cycle and I don’t know how to get out???
Hi @Sylvia – Thanks for writing to us! Sorry to hear that it has been such a struggle to get formula or breastmilk into your little one! My first recommendation would be to speak with his doctor, so that the pediatrician can tell you just how much formula, breastmilk, and solids he should be eating for his specific weight and development. It’s great that you’re doing a dream feed! If you can get that feed to be even longer/for him to consume more at that feed, he may sleep longer too! Keep that up! Have you tried “hiding” formula or breastmilk in the solid foods? This is an easy way to get breastmilk or formula in your baby!
Regarding sleep, have you signed up for any of our free sleep guides? I’d start here:
Good luck Sylvia!!
My baby is 5.1/2 months old and is breastfeeding, but I have been giving him one meal a day and he eats 2oz of fruit mixed with 1oz of breast milk and 2tbsp of rice cereal and one 2oz veggie each meal. I feel like I’m overfeeding but he is eating it all and still nursing an hour after before bed. It just seems like a lot of food for one meal.
What about stomach problems, my granddaughter already having problems with her bowel movement as well fur her mom and her family, I just found out has been giving her solid food since 5 months old. And a month ago she kept carrying her to doctors and three times back to back to emergency rooms, her stomach were in so much pain. I know it’s ok to feed solids but I believe you should speak with your doctor first, especially if you starting too early, because of the problem even we as adult have and we know to stay away from starch foods and sugar. Please explain
Thank you for these great tips! I want to share my experiences with my son here. Now he is 2 years old. Until 6 months old, I gradually introduce him to solid foods together with a formula. Each time I gave him one type of solid foods – 2-3 teaspoons. These can be mashed cooked carrots or potatoes, or sweet potato, or other solid foods. This was like a food tasting for him. He learned the new tastes. Gradually I increased the amount of the solid foods. At 9 months old he was eating one full dose of solid foods instead of formula each day.
Thank you again!
Thank you for sharing your experience!
Hi, my one year old has been diagnosed with mild microcephaly. I think all was well until we started solids. He really tucked in but the weaning guides i read said that if baby has milk before solids and feeds himself just let him tuck in. As we were weaning i possibly didnt provide complete nutrition as at first you just give certain foods. I now worry that he missed out on important nutrients for his brain or that caused a metabolic problem which led to slow brain growth. Do you think the way he was weaned might have caused the microcephaly?
No, all the things your baby needed were in the breastmilk/formula. If he was still getting the right amount of this with the solids you offered (we are still feeding 3 bottles of formula with woods throughout the day) the weaning did not cause the issue. If he is off formula and drinking cows milk all he needs is a healthy balanced diet with plenty of veg for vitamins. Avoid allowing them to just eat beans on toast if you can veg veg veg, or find their favourite fruits for snacks and add fruit to cereal. I’d read ‘only vitamin D needs to be supplemented’ but this is found in oily fish and now their skin is developing protection cells after one year controlled sun creamed exposure to sunlight will help them produce vitamin D naturally.
Hello Vee, this is Kelly, from The Start Baby on Solids Site and Baby Sleep Site. I am also a Registered Dietitian and I assume you, you did not cause microcephaly. If you are worried about his diet and very specific nutrient needs and if those needs are being met, please see a dietitian, the reassurance alone will be worth the visit!
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