How long should my baby’s mealtime last?

Baby’s mealtimes can be a stressful part of the day, but it can also be lots of fun and a chance to share some learning with your baby. 

How long does my baby need to eat a meal? 

It’s important your baby has time to experiment with their food, to squish and squeeze, as well as taste everything they want to. Do not rush them through their meals, or force them to sit at the table for longer than they need.

If you get impatient waiting for them to finish their food, perhaps try eating together so you are occupied with your own meal, and some of the pressure is removed from your baby’s eating pattern. 

At 6-9 months 10-15 minutes is enough for most babies to sit in one place. For most babies 20 minutes would be the maximum they can sit happily in one place. 

Signs your baby has had enough food

If you’re spoon feeding:

  • Your baby will no longer open their mouth
  • They may turn their head away from the spoon
  • Push the plate or spoon away

If you’re feeding with finger foods:

  • Throw the food on the floor
  • Play with the food, and no longer feed themselves

NEVER force feed your baby

It’s really important to respect your baby’s decision not to eat any more at any given meal. We all go through times when our appetite is reduced, and this is especially true for babies.

Try not to worry if your baby eats less for a week or so, as long as they are happy in themselves and everything else seems normal, trust your little human being to know when they are hungry, and when they are full.

We run regular Baby Nutrition & Weaning classes where you can ask Anna, our registered Nutritional Therapist any questions to do with your baby’s diet, mealtimes or weaning support. Private group classes are also available at your home with a group of friends. Ask us for details.