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Infant Meal Pattern

Requirements (for all Child Nutrition Programs*) for serving reimbursable meals to infants.
Meal Birth through five months Six through eleven months
Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper
4 to 6 fluid (fl) ounce (oz) breast milk1or formula2

6 to 8 fl oz breast milk1or formula2 and

0 to 4 tablespoon (tbsp) infant cereal2,3 meat, fish, poultry, whole egg, cooked dry beans or cooked dry peas; or
0 to 2 oz cheese; or
0 to 4 oz (volume) or cottage cheese; or
0 to 4 oz or ½ cup of yogurt4 or combination of the above5 and

0 to 2 tbsp fruit, vegetable, or combination of both5, 6

Snack 4 to 6 fl oz breast milk1 or formula2

2 to 4 fl oz breast milk1or formula2; and

0 to ½ slice bread3,7; or
0 to 2 crackers3,7; or
0 to 4 tbsp infant cereal2,3,7 or ready-to-eat breakfast cereal3,5,7,8; and

0 to 2 tbsp fruit, vegetable, or combination of both5,6

1Breast milk or formula, or portions of both, may be served; however, it is recommended that breast milk be served in place of formula from birth through 11 months. For some breastfed infants who regularly consume less than the minimum amount of breast milk per feeding, a serving of less than the minimum amount of breast milk may be offered, with additional breast milk offered at a later time if the infant will consume more.

2Infant formula and dry infant cereal must be iron fortified.

3Beginning October 1, 2019, oz equivalents (eq) are used to determine the quantity of creditable grains.

4Yogurt must contain more more than 23 grams (g) of total sugar per 6 oz.

5A serving of this component is required when the infant is developmentally ready to accept.

6Fruit and vegetable juices must not be served.

7A serving of grains must be whole grain-rich (WGR), enriched meal, or enriched flour.

8Breakfast cereals must contain no more than 6g of sugar per dry oz (no more than 21 g sucrose and other sugars per 100 g of dry cereal)

*Child and Adult Care Food Program
  • Child Care Center and Day Care Home Sponsors may claim reimbursement for up to two meals and one snack or two snacks and one meal per infant per day.
  • Homeless Shelter Sponsors may claim reimbursement for up to three meals or two meals and one snack per infant per day.
*National School Lunch Program
  • Sponsors may claim reimbursement for one lunch meal per infant per day. One snack may be claimed per infant per day if the sponsor is enrolled in and the infant participates in an after school care program.
*School Breakfast Program
  • Sponsors may claim reimbursement for one breakfast meal per infant per day.
*Summer Food Service Program
  • Sponsors may claim reimbursement for up to two meals per infant per day at open or enrolled sites. The meals may consist of either one lunch and one breakfast or one lunch and one snack. Migrant sites may serve up to three meals per infant per day or two meals and one snack per infant per day.
Questions: Joseph Cormack | jcormack@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-7133 
Last Reviewed: Monday, July 16, 2018
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    Forms and resources for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and National School Lunch Program sponsors serving infant meals in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) child nutrition programs.
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