We all know that feeling when you have eaten a little (or a lot) more than you needed, and all you want to do is lie on the couch and undo a notch or two!
While adults will find a way to overcome their ‘full cues’ infants and toddlers are a lot better at recognising theirs. . Try to let them decide when they have had enough. Even if it isn't enough by your standards, remember that babies are excellent at regulating their own appetite. By swapping it around and offering food before breast milk or formula at this age, you might notice your little one has more of an appetite for food now rather than filling up on milk.
You may come across suggestions or guidelines or packaging recommendations on how much to serve your 8 month old, but superseding all of these is what is right for your baby. Your baby is a little person, with his or her own appetite and it will change from day to day. It is comforting to remind yourself that healthy babies won’t starve themselves - if your baby needs to eat, they absolutely will!
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you are worried your baby isn't eating enough:
- There is no such thing as a typical 8 month old appetite. How much your 8 month old eats will depend on when they first started solids, since it takes time to build up their food intake. It is also depends on their personality, some babies just love food a lot more than others, as simple as that!
- Looks can be deceiving. The same quantity of food can appear different depending on how it is served – e.g. a bowl full of food that is pureed appears much smaller than the same amount diced. You could be feeding your baby more than you think.
- When a baby is teething or just a bit off colour, one of the first signs is a reduction in appetite. Don't push it, they simply won't be feeling like food but don't be surprised if their appetite comes back with a vengeance once they are better.
- There is so much to explore in the world for an 8 month old, so if they were busy playing when you took them away for a meal, their busy little minds might still be in play mode. They might not show any interest in their food simply because they want to get back to the all important business of playing!
- Babies will tend to eat more during a growth spurt. Similarly, their appetites will drop back to normal at all other times. Do remember that as long as your baby appears happy and they are growing well, they are on the right track and no doubt getting enough food. If you are concerned about your baby's weight or eating habits, do speak with your GP or maternal health nurse.