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When to give your baby the evening meal?

The Ideal Time for Baby's Evening Meal: A Complete Guide

The transition to solid meals is a major milestone in baby's development, often raising many questions among parents. A common question concerns the optimal time to give baby the evening meal. This article explores best practices for introducing dinner into your child's eating routine, taking into account recommendations from pediatric and child nutrition experts.

Understanding Baby's Eating Rhythm

Before determining the ideal time for baby's evening meal, it is crucial to understand their eating schedule. Babies, especially in the first few months, typically follow a diet based on demand, whether for breastfeeding or formula. The introduction of solid foods usually begins around 6 months, a time when you can begin to establish a more structured eating routine.

Introduction of Solid Foods

Around 6 months of age, babies are usually ready to start solid foods. This process should be gradual, starting with simple purees and gradually increasing the variety and texture. The evening meal can be introduced once baby is used to eating solids at least once or twice a day.

The Best Time for the Evening Meal

The ideal time for baby's evening meal varies depending on several factors, including their age, energy level and sleep pattern. Generally, it's a good idea to plan dinner around 2-3 hours before bedtime. This gives baby enough time to digest food before bed, helping prevent nighttime discomfort and promoting better sleep.

Tips for a Successful Dinner

  • Stable Routine : Try serving the evening meal at around the same time each day to help establish a regular eating routine.
  • Calm Ambience : Make sure the mealtime environment is calm and free of distractions to encourage baby to focus on the food.
  • Listen to Baby : Pay attention to your child's signs of hunger and fullness. Forcing your baby to eat when he's not hungry or stopping him too early can disrupt his natural relationship with food.
  • Variety and Balance : Include a variety of foods to expose baby to different tastes and textures, while ensuring nutritional balance.

Foods to Favor in the Evening

The choice of foods for the evening meal is crucial. Choose easily digestible foods that will not disturb your baby's sleep. Vegetable purees, iron-rich baby cereals, and gentle proteins like pureed chicken or fish are great options. Avoid foods that can cause gas or digestive discomfort, especially those that are very spicy or high in fiber.

The Importance of Hydration

Hydration is an often overlooked aspect of baby's eating routine. Make sure baby gets enough fluids throughout the day, especially if it's hot or your child is particularly active.


Determining the ideal time for baby's evening meal involves understanding their individual needs and carefully observing their responses to feeding routines. By establishing a consistent dinner routine, choosing appropriate foods, and creating a calm, eating-friendly atmosphere, you will help your child develop healthy eating habits that will contribute to their overall well-being. Remember, every baby is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Don't hesitate to adjust routines based on your child's reactions and always consult a healthcare professional if you have any doubts or specific concerns.

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