Children up to the age of 5 years are undergoing a period of rapid growth in their muscles, body tissues, and brain development. Their nutritional needs vary every month, and they need specific nutrients to support their growth. Breastmilk, fruits, vegetables, and grains play an important role in providing all the main food groups that babies need, and nutrients are vital in the first 1,000 days of life because they support the gut microbiome, strengthening the immune system and preventing diseases later in life.


However, one of the most common questions we are asked is how many calories babies require daily,  or how many daily meals infants need in this early growth stage. These questions pose quite a  challenge, especially for first time parents, so here at Little Inca, we have prepared a summary of some of the key questions that parents have, and we hope that the answers and advice will be useful in  your daily life.:


How much should I feed my baby?


Your baby’s eating varies in the first year of life. Babies will start with very small amounts of food at the introduction of solid food, around 6 months.


Most young infants need about 100-120 calories/kg/day, so this depends on your baby’s weight. For example, if your infant weighs 5.55 kilograms, multiply that value by 120. The result is 660, which is the number of calories that your baby needs in one day.


Before 6 months old, it is recommended that infants need between 6 to 10 feedings of breastmilk per day. It’s important to mention that an average bottle is 3 to 4 ounces or 90-120ml (1 ounce = 30ml, and 1ml = 1 calorie). Therefore, based on the weight example of 660 calories a day, the baby will need 5.5 feedings of 4 ounces of breastmilk.


Average calorie intake a day


According to the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), the recommended energy intake for infants and young children is as follows:


  • 7 months old:
    • Male: 645 kcal per day
    • Female: 573 kcal per day
  • 8 months old:
    • Male: 669 kcal per day
    • Female: 597 kcal per day
  • 9 months old:
    • Male: 693 kcal per day
    • Female: 621 kcal per day
  • 10 months old:
    • Male: 740 kcal per day
    • Female: 669 kcal per day
  • 11 months old:
    • Male: 740 kcal per day
    • Female: 669 kcal per day
  • 1 year old:
    • Male: 788 kcal per day
    • Female: 716 kcal per day
  • 2 year old:
    • Male: 1027 kcal per day
    • Female: 955 kcal per day
  • 3 year old:
    • Male: 1170 kcal per day
    • Female: 1099 kcal per day


The NHS department of nutrition recommend a regular and gradual move towards eating 3 small balanced and varied meals, as well as 2 – 3 nutritious snacks, as the best way of ensuring a young child can absorb all the key nutrients for healthy growth. Foods should be nutrient-dense to meet energy level requirements. We all know that this is challenging, especially for busy parents. That’s why here at Little Inca we use quinoa as the main ingredient, combined with vegetables and fruits, to provide the well-balanced nutrition that babies and young children need.