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How Much is Enough? Portion Sizes for Babies and Toddlers

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Feeding your little one often seems like trial and error. Is she hungry? Ok, time to eat. Does she like peas? Doesn't look like it... let's try something else. Is she finished? And how much of it actually made it into her mouth, anyway?

Making sure that your baby gets the right amount of the nutrition she needs is important - not too little, not too much but just enough. The key is to follow your child's lead.

Baby Knows Best

It turns out babies instinctively know how much they need to eat. Your job as a parent is to make sure the food she needs is available to her when she wants it, and to stop feeding when she lets you know she's full. Follow her lead: If your baby turns her head away, chances are she's all done.

Eating a Little Bit, a Lot of the Time

At first, it may seem like your baby is hungry as soon as she stops eating. This is normal - babies' tummies are tiny. Babies fill easily and get hungry quickly. At first she'll need many small, frequent, meals. As she grows and eats more at each feeding, you'll be able to expand the time between meals. But don't expect three meals a day until baby is a bit older.

What about ACTUAL Food?

It's one thing when you're breast or formula feeding and there's only one choice available. But what about when baby starts eating everything else? Be sure to offer a range of nutritionally sound foods. Don't force-feed and don't limit how much nutritious food she's allowed to eat. DO avoid sweets and other less-than-optimal choices at this young stage; there's not a lot of room in those little bellies for more than what she needs to grow. Use common sense and pay attention to your child's cues. Be sure there's plenty of nutritious foods on-hand to offer; let her choose what she likes; and let you you know when she's done.