Baby Feeding Times for Solid Foods

When should you time your baby’s solid feedings when you are following an eat/wake/sleep schedule? Read this post to find out.

Baby eating solid foods

I really enjoy both the Babywise books and the Baby Whisperer books. They usually work really well together.

However, if you are familiar with both books, you will find yourself confused at some pretty key moments in your baby’s life.

Feeding times for solids is one of those.

The Babywise books suggest you feed baby solids immediately following the liquid feedings in the day.

The Baby Whisperer books suggest you feed solids two hours after feeding the liquid feedings. So what do you do?

I will tell you what I did and why.

Feed Solids WITH the Liquid Feeding

I fed solids with the liquid feedings.

The reason I stuck with this is that maintaining this schedule is fundamentally in sync with what both books claim to be important from the very beginning. 

Both books claim you want full feedings.

Both books warn against creating snack feeders who eat every 1-2 hours.

Both books discuss the importance of sleep.

Both books suggest you feed a baby every 2.5-3 hours, and most are eating every four hours by the time solids are introduced.

I cannot logically explain why Hogg suggests feeding solids two hours after breastfeeding.

I don’t know how that makes sense for a 6 month old to eat every two hours but not a 6 day old. I don’t know how that doesn’t lead to “snacking” and I don’t know how that creates a “full meal” situation.

I also don’t know how that doesn’t interfere with naps.

A 6 month old should be eating every 3-4 hours and napping 2-3 times a day. Naps should be 1.5-2 hours.

I suppose the way you do it is you wake baby up, feed solids, then nurse right before baby goes back down for a nap. Or you wake baby up, nurse, then feed solids right before baby goes back down for a nap. 

I don’t feel like Hogg addresses these issues at all. Since I believe in the “whys” behind feeding when you do with newborns, I stick to those whys later on as well. 

On Becoming Babywise Book Two states

“Experienced moms will tell you not to offer solids, then two hours later nurse, followed two hours later with more solids. This is creating a “snacker” and will disrupt your child’s hunger and sleep-wake stabilization.”

(page 30)

I completely agree with this. 

My very strong recommendation is that you feed solids with the milk feedings.

Feed your meal all at once–don’t start doing what you have been avoiding for your baby’s entire life (snacking).

Even if you are a full Baby Whisperer follower and not Babywise follower, I still strongly recommend doing this.

If you “start as you mean to go on” as Hogg puts it, then it seems you would want to go on as you meant to in the start.

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20 thoughts on “Baby Feeding Times for Solid Foods”

  1. i have a comment on this and the "snacking" in the book. I was paranoid about creating a "nsacker" as it was harped on in the book, BUT I do not think if you space the liquid feeding apart and the solid feeding that if they take a FULL feeding of each does it create a snacker. When my 2 were infants I didn't have this blog or group but I had another and the BW moms did often space out and found it created no issues at all, in fact worked much better in ways…….because if they drank, then had some solids but not really hungry (or whatever order you have) then baby would often wake early from naps hungry. I spaced mine about 1 hr apart. I had the times set so I don't think it affect metabolism. And I experimented with what worked and played around. For example, upon waking mine were real hungry and not patient so full liquid followed about 1 hr later by solids. At lunch first did the bottle followed 1 hr later by solids BUT then I actually flipped it around where they had solids first and a bottle later and a more full tummy for better PM nap when we dropped from 3 to 2 naps. Same for other times-we switched things up as needed.My point with all my rambling is that I don't think spacing is necessarily bad and you are doing solids when they are older and consistently STTN,etc. I think there is more flexibility and it is still a structured routine and consistent daily. And I really found it helped mine to take full meals of both without having spitup. We definitely had problems with too close together and spitup. That's what other moms found out too. As they got older it moved towards 3 solid meals lined up with family meals and the liquids pretty much with the meals (except bedtime feed, last to go) so not really any spacing then as they had bigger tummies and handled it more than. So just thought I'd share what we did.

  2. I have tried to find this on the websited but haven't been able to…When I first started using babywise I found it online and bought it. Little did I know it was a very old edition (1994) and though it has basically the same principles, I wanted the most up-to-date edition! Now I am looking for the Babywise II book online. From the pictures you have on the site, I cannot find the one that looks the same. I am wondering if there is a place where you have the most current editions listed so that people can know what to look for?

  3. I agree with you completely, Val. If your goal is to have full feedings and avoid having a snacker, then you must nurse first and then feed solids. Now for the first couple of times that I introduced solids, I gave the solid first so that the child would desire to eat. But I think the habit must be to give milk first and then the solids.

    • What would you do with a baby who is too full? I’ve been nursing followed by solids but my daughter is too full even an hour after nursing. She ends up spitting up when they are back to back.

  4. This is how I started when I started solids. But I also really wanted my son to eat meals with us, which eventually led to eating every two hours in the afternoon & evening. So around 8 months old this is when my son was eating:7am – milk & solids11am milk11:30 solids (lunch)3:30/4 milk5:30 solids (dinner)7pm milk before bedI did not feel like it created any issue… especially since I'm okay with an afternoon snack however old he is. I just viewed it that way. Also, it didn't disrupt his sleep or any other eating habits we worked to establish. He's still only 10 months old… so there's till time for me to see the 'problem', if any, that creates.

  5. I just started solids with my 4 month old last week! Just 1 T at his night feeding. Last night, he was too tired and not interested so I'm thinking of moving it up to his 5:00 pm feeding. This is how our schedule currently looks:6:30am early morning feed then bed10am nurse1:30pm nurse5:00pm nurse8:30pm nurse, 1 T oatmeal9:00pm bedHe sleeps from 9:00- 6:30 without waking as of last week. My goal is for him to be sleepig 9:00- 9:00 at night because we work for a church and are youth pastors and have some late nights. Any suggestions?Thanks! 🙂

  6. I currently feed my 1 year old son his milk first and then wait an 1 hour or so to feed him solids. It has worked great so far. Like other commentors have mentioned he took full feedings at both so I didn't feel like it was creating a problem. BUT…I am now trying to switch him to taking milk in a sippy cup during solids at meal time (so that his breakfast and lunch better line up with our family). And it's going to be a slow adjusting process and I am seeing the benefit of keeping the milk and solids feeding closer together 🙂

  7. This post was extremely helpful! Thank you for sharing. I am going to link it into my blog to pass on the suggestion. Thanks for the always helpful posts!

  8. Thank you for posting this today, it's perfect timing! My 6 month old is on solids now and I feel like the book doesn't give enough direction in this area. Thank you for your help! Do you have a recommendation as to how often and how much you feed solids? My son starts the day at 7:30 and his last meal is at 7:30pm with a bedtime of 8:30. Thanks!

  9. I think that, regardless of whether you do the every-2-hours thing or just do solids+liquids all at once, you're right – it doesn't make sense that a 6 month old would need to eat more often than a newborn, and it does make sense to go on as you have been going on.We didn't know any of this with our son, though, and he's a great eater now. He ate solids and nursed fairly randomly (we didn't know BW then) as a baby. I think that your post on how to make a Not Picky Eater (can't remember what it's called right now) has the most important advice for eating + children. I don't think there's anything wrong with just doing solids+liquids all at once, but I think it's much easier to get a child on an eating schedule "late" than it is to fix sleeping later. Around 1 year old, I think it's important to start being very consistent with 3 meals + 2 snacks (or whatever schedule is desired) and mostly to follow those tips in your picky eater post.

  10. I thought I would add that everything I have read says to nurse first, then feed solids since milk is still most important in the beginning. I tried that and my daughter wasn't interested in the cereal AT ALL! I decided to try the cereal as soon as she woke up, then change her diaper, then nurse. I have actually found that she nurses MUCH better this way. Just thought I would share my experience 🙂

  11. Hello there-thanks so much for your great blog and all the help that it provides! I don't really have a problem, but more of a curiosity question. My almost 6-month old has gone to a four-hour schedule pretty easily in the last couple of weeks. She is nursing at roughly 7, 11, 3, & 7. She is also taking solids, but only once per day in the evening. What we have been doing (and seems to work) is nursing at the above times and then giving her solids that align with our dinnertime, which is sometime around 6. Like I said, it has been working for us, but I was curious how you or other moms work the times out to nurse right before eating, but maintain a four hour schedule? I couldn't figure it out, which is how we fell into what we do now. It seems like it will be much easier to do for breakfast and lunch, as the times more naturally align, but the dinner part had me confused. 🙂 Also, my daughter seems to be like Natalie and Chris' above–when we first started solids, I was nursing right before, but then she wasn't interested in the solids at all. Is this just a development thing? Maybe as she grows she will be hungrier and want more? This is one reason I haven't even attempted solids except for dinner, because she doesn't act like she's very hungry–I don't even feel like I forced the four-hour nursing, she just sort of went to it. Thanks for any insight! 🙂

  12. Brooke, if you want him to start the day at 9, wake him each morning at 9 every day no matter what the night feeding was.

  13. My daughter is 6 1/2 months old and is not interested in eating solids. I've tried to move her to a 4 hour schedule but she will wake up really early and still will not eat solids that day. She is happy breast feeding every 3 hours with a DF at 9:30. She is a big baby 19lbs so i thought she would love the solids. I know that it's starting to effect her naps because she is waking up hungry earlier. I've tried rice cereal and oatmeal. Should I just take a break for a week or two and try again? Thank you in advance.

  14. Toni, a break can be a good idea. If I were you, I would try a vegetable like sweet potatoes. She might just not like cereal.

  15. I am so glad I found this post! We just started our 4-month old on oatmeal and I was reading in Baby Whisperer about how to start. I saw the suggested feeding schedule and it made NO SENSE to me! Everything you said here is what I was thinking… why would you not just do the feedings together? I do have a friend who does that and it just seems really incovenient; most of my mom friends feed the baby all at one time. But I do have a question – we are currently doing solids at breakfast (7am) and solids at dinner (7pm). Our routine has always been to feed at 7pm, bath, book, swaddle (and finish bottle), sing, sleep. She usually is asleep by 8/8:15. I see that you do solids at 5-ish but not at the latest feed. Is there a reason or is that just when you decided to feed? My theory is that "if it's not a problem, it's not a problem" but I wondered if we should try doing the solids at 5 instead of 7 in order to help her drop the 4th nap.


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