Are you confused about how and when to fit in meals around milk feeds? If so, you’re not alone. Parents ask me this every week.



Balancing food and milk feeds can seem complicated. However, be wary of the prescriptive, and dare I say unrealistic meal plans that you find in many popular weaning books on the market. Because while it’s helpful to have a general guide on creating a feeding schedule for your baby, these detailed plans can be restrictive when followed strictly. They often go against the philosophy of including your baby in family meals.



Create a flexible and realistic schedule


Variety is key during the weaning phase, so your baby has exposure to a wide variety of foods. But it’s unrealistic and unsustainable to prepare seven different dished for breakfast, lunch and dinner every week just for your baby.





Checklist of what to consider in your daily plan


Number of meals


At about 7 months, you should be offering your baby three scheduled meals a day. They might not be eating all of the food, and they may altogether refuse a meal, and that’s OK. It’s your job to provide the food; it’s their job to eat the food (or not!).


I’ve included times as a guide only-please don’t feel that you’re obligated to stick with these times. You’ll need to work out a schedule that works for your family.



Portion sizes


There are no recommended portion sizes for weaning. So, always feed your baby responsively. Start with a little food, and if they want more, then offer more. And keep in mind that it’s quite normal for babies appetites and food intake to vary from meal to meal and from day to day.



READ MORE: Portion sizes during weaning



Balancing breastfeeding and solids


Continue to breastfeed your baby on demand. You’ll find yourself breastfeeding before meals (starter), as well as between meals (snacks) and after meals (dessert or coffee!) and at night.


Some babies may reduce their number of feeds as they eat more. And some babies will breastfeed at the same frequency but for shorter periods. With others, you might not notice any change. Breastfed babies do a great job at regulating their milk intake. So, as their intake of solid food goes up, their milk intake goes down. Trust them, and you can’t go wrong.


How long you leave between milk and solids is up to you. Some babies will eat their lunch even if they’ve just had a breastfeed, others won’t and will benefit from a gap between milk and solids. You’ll work out a routine that’s right for you. A routine that changes as your baby starts to eat more meals and possibly more significant amounts at each meal. It also varies from day-to-day.


Some days your baby will want more milk and on other more food. Go with it.





Bottle feeds-how much?


Between 7-9 months, your baby needs about 20oz (or 600mls) of milk. How your baby drinks this will vary. Some babies might like this is three bottles and others in four bottles. Do what suits you and your baby.


There is no need for follow-on formula. You can stick with your first infant formula until your baby’s first birthday when you’ll make the switch to cows milk.



Find out more about follow on formula and answers to common questions about offering formula to your breastfed baby.



Snacks-yes or no?


Generally, babies of this age don’t need snacks between meals as the milk functions as a snack in most cases. And between three meals, milk feeds and naps it can be difficult to fit them in!



The food you choose is up to you!


At this stage, you should be offering your baby a range of vegetables, fruits, cereals, meat, fish or veggie alternatives like beans, lentils, tofu and any other foods that your family eats.


Check out this guide on how to introduce potentially allergenic foods.


However, HOW you serve this food is up to you! The best food for your baby is an adapted version of your family food as this is the food that you’ll be hoping they’ll learn to like!


One of the most common questions parents ask is ‘should I give my baby two dinners a day?’. Again this is totally up to you. As long as you’re covering the main food groups at all three meals, then it doesn’t matter if it’s a hot dish or a cold dish, a spoon-fed meal or finger food.







If you’re offering your baby food from a spoon, then by 7 months, make sure that most of your baby’s food is mashed rather than puréed. Although some purées like soups, yoghurt and hummus are fine.


By now, you should also be offering your baby finger foods at each meal, either alongside spoon-feeds or as an entire finger food meal.


RECIPE TO TRY: Sweet Potato Pancakes for babies-nutritious, safe and quick




You can offer your baby cooled boiled water to drink at food from an open or straw cup.



Sample feeding schedule for 7-9-month-old



TIME                   MEAL                             IDEAS MORE INFO
7 am






Breastfeed as much as your baby wants

5oz bottle of milk


8 am






Porridge or Weetabix with milk and toppings or eggs

Fruit or veggie finger food


More breakfast suggestions here!


10 am



Milk + Nap



Breastfeed as much as your baby wants

5oz bottle of milk






Iron-rich food + energy food + fruit/vegetable


Read more about iron-rich foods here


2 pm


Milk + Nap


Breastfeed as much as your baby wants

5oz bottle of milk


5 pm




Iron-rich food + energy food + fruit/vegetable


More ideas here for tea/lunchtime light meals


7 pm




Breastfeed as much as your baby wants

5oz bottle of milk




If you are currently weaning your baby, why not enrol in Ready, Steady, Wean for more realistic and easy weaning advice from now until your baby’s first birthday.


And why not subscribe to Solid Start and get tips on food, nutrition and feeding straight to your inbox every month?