Eating too much? (8 months)

My daughter is 8 months old, and a "great" eater. I'm a little concerned that she's eating too much.

Her schedule is generally as follows: nurses first thing in the morning, morning snack (cheerios/fruit), bottle of breast milk in late morning (about 4-5 oz), lunch (1 c cereal + 1/2 c veges); afternoon snack (cheerios/fruit), afternoon bottle (again, breast milk, about 3 oz), dinner (1 c cereal + fruit or veges) plus sometimes cheerios also; and then she nurses again before bed.

Should she be getting more milk, and less cereal? She eats a variety of foods, and really likes finger foods -- peas, carrots, pears, cheerios, etc.

I'm getting ready to introduce some other protein sources (chicken, etc.) So far, I've been making most of her food, steaming it as needed. Should I be adding other "fat" sources to her diet?

Also, is it possible for her to eat "too many Cheerios"?

She generally has water with all her snacks and meals (lunch/dinner), usually about 2-3 oz. She is currently 95% weight, and about 75% height. She's developing well, but I'm concerned that she eats too much volume of food.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Question:
ABOUT THE EXPERT

Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Amy,

My main suggestion to you is to keep up the good work! You are serving your daughter a great diet and she is obviously growing well. You ask a couple of good questions, one, whether she is eating too much cereal, and two, is she getting enough milk? It is possible to eat too many carbohydrates to the exclusion of other important foods.

You did not mention how many Cheerios she is eating so it is hard to say if it is too much. They are a wonderful finger food and are good from a developmental standpoint in that they help her learn to feed herself, plus give her some good chewing stimulation. Since she seems to be eating a great variety of other foods, it doesn't look as if eating them is interfering with the rest of her diet.

I tried to add up the amount of milk she was getting, assuming she was drinking about four ounces in the early am nursing and also in the bedtime nursing. It added up to about 15 ounces of milk. This is on the low side. However, she is eating almost two cups of cereal a day, and if that is being made with breastmilk or formula, than she is probably getting a good amount from there. If the cereal is not being made with formula or breastmilk, I suggest you switch to doing that. It will boost her protein and calcium intake, and create a better balance of nutrients in the cereal.

It is great to see you offering her water for thirst. Often people offer milk or juice, which are both foods, to quench thirst, sometimes resulting in over feeding.

When you begin to offer other protein sources to her diet, you will be adding fat to it as well, in most cases. Choose the fattier cuts of meats and fish for her, since the fat is important in her diet. Because she is growing so well, it doesn't seem necessary to try and go out of your way to put more fat into her diet. She is probably getting plenty from the breastmilk, and formula you use to make the cereal (if that is what you do use). When you begin to add dairy products, serve her the full fat varieties at least until she is two. This means, stay away from the non-fat yogurt and cottage cheese, instead, serve the full fat kind. The same goes for milk and cheeses.

With the quest for non-fat, it is often hard to find full fat yogurt in the grocery stores. If you can't, try your local natural food stores. As you add foods with more fat to her diet, you may see the actual 'volume' of food she eats go down somewhat. That is because fat is a more concentrated source of calories and so she will need to eat less to get what she needs.

The volume of food your daughter eats should be left up to her. She is the only one who knows when she is hungry and when she is full. Babies are pretty good self regulators when it comes to eating, especially when food is used as food only, and not as reward, punishment or bribery.

It is refreshing to hear such good news, and to get a sense of a very positive feeding relationship.

Thank you for writing.

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