What Is Recommended for an Infant's Daily Caloric Intake?

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What Is Recommended for an Infant's Daily Caloric Intake?
Most babies triple their weight between birth and 12 months of age. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Sellers Patton)

Because babies go through cycles with eating and growth, it can be unsettling for parents trying to maintain a steady diet for an infant. But feeding a baby sufficiently doesn't have to be that complicated. In fact, you can let your baby take the lead.

Basic Needs

Infants require between 40 and 70 calories per day for each pound of body weight. So a seven-pound baby should get between 280 and 490 calories daily.

Food Sources

Until they reach six months of age, infants should receive all their nutrients from breast milk or formula. The average baby eats five or six times a day, consuming 591 to 1,064ml of formula or breast milk. Although formula provides a balanced diet until the baby can eat solid foods, studies indicate that breast milk helps babies fight illness and disease.

Balanced Diet

All commercial formulas provide the necessary nutrients for a baby's development. Breastfed babies depend on the mother's diet for their nutrients, so it's important for breastfeeding women to eat healthily. Your body will send the appropriate nutrients to the breast milk, so the baby's diet will be balanced. Any shortcomings in your diet will affect you before they affect your baby.

Growth Rate

During his or her first six months, your baby will probably grow up to one inch in length each week, and gain five to seven ounces weekly. This slows down slightly between six and 12 months of age, but you can expect your baby to double in length and triple in weight by the first birthday.


Infant growth is not regimented. Don't be concerned if your baby goes through periods when he or she eats a little less and doesn't seem to grow dramatically. You'll also probably notice weeks when he or she seems to want to eat constantly, because growth is taking place more rapidly. If you have concerns about your baby's eating habits or growth, talk them over with your doctor.

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