Transitioning to Daytime Nutrition After 6 Months of Age

by | Apr 16, 2024

Once your baby reaches six months old, nighttime feedings often become less about nutritional necessity and more about comfort and habit. This is an ideal time to begin transitioning your baby’s calorie intake from night to day. Understanding the biology of how a baby’s body regulates calorie needs can help make this transition smoother and ensure that your baby continues to thrive.

The Role of Caloric Intake in Baby’s Growth

1. Biological Basis of Caloric Regulation

Babies are excellent at self-regulating their calorie intake. Research shows that, much like adults, if they consume fewer calories at one point in the day, they tend to compensate by eating more at another time to meet their energy requirements. This innate ability is crucial as it helps maintain their growth and development trajectory.

2. Caloric Needs and Development

As infants grow, their energy needs per pound of body weight decrease, but the total amount of calories they need increases as they get larger and more active. By the time a baby is six months old, they are typically ready to start solid foods, which helps them meet their increasing nutritional demands.

Transitioning Nighttime Calories to Daytime

Step 1: Calories Missed at Night equal Calories Made Up During the Day

When we begin to sleep train, it is often recommended that we reduce or eliminate all night time feedings. This will help ensure that the baby is not confused by the new expectations in the night, and learns to sleep through without consuming calories. This often concerns parents but the reality is that the baby’s body will demand this calorie deficit to be made up the next day. Usually through more oz in a bottle, a longer nursing session or more solid food at each meal. It’s not about pulling night time feed, but more about reorganizing calorie intake.

Step 2: Increase Daytime Feeding Opportunities

To compensate for the reduced calorie intake at night, offer more frequent feedings during the day. This can include both more opportunities to breastfeed or bottle-feed, as well as introducing nutrient-dense solid foods, if your baby is ready for them.

Step 3: Observe and Adapt

Monitor your baby’s response to these changes. Look for signs of hunger and fullness, and be flexible in your feeding schedule. Babies may need time to adjust their hunger cues, so pay close attention to their needs.

Step 4: Establish a Consistent Routine

As your baby begins to adapt, establish a consistent daytime feeding routine. This helps set their internal clock to expect nourishment during the day rather than at night, aiding in better sleep patterns for both baby and parents.

The Science Behind Calorie Shifting

The concept of shifting calorie intake is backed by understanding that a baby’s metabolic rate is adaptable. During the first year of life, an infant’s metabolic rate is highly responsive. This adaptability ensures they can meet their energy needs through varying feeding patterns. As nighttime calories decrease, their body adjusts to absorb and utilize more nutrients during the day. This is why consistent daytime feeding becomes crucial in maintaining adequate growth and nutritional status.

Ensuring Adequate Nutrition

As you work on transitioning your baby’s feeding schedule, it’s important to ensure they receive a balanced intake of nutrients. If you’re introducing solids, include a variety of foods to cover the nutritional spectrum, such as iron-rich foods, which are important at this stage of development.


Transitioning your baby from night to day feedings is not just about reducing nighttime interruptions — it’s about aligning their eating patterns with their natural developmental changes. By understanding the biological science behind calorie regulation and providing appropriate nutrition during the day, you can help facilitate this transition smoothly, ensuring your baby continues to receive the energy they need to grow healthy and strong.