Early life nutrition and feeding practices are important modifiable determinants of subsequent obesity, yet little is known about the circadian feeding pattern of 12-month-old infants. We aimed to describe the 24-h feeding patterns of 12-month-old infants and examine their associations with maternal and infant characteristics. Mothers from a prospective birth cohort study (n 431) reported dietary intakes of their 12-month-old infants and respective feeding times using 24-h dietary recall. Based on their feeding times, infants were classified into post-midnight (00.00–05.59 hours) and pre-midnight (06.00–23.59 hours) feeders. Mean daily energy intake was 3234 (sd 950) kJ (773 (sd 227) kcal), comprising 51·8 (sd 7·8) % carbohydrate, 33·9 (sd 7·2) % fat and 14·4 (sd 3·2) % protein. Mean hourly energy intake and proportion of infants fed were lower during post-midnight than pre-midnight hours. There were 251 (58·2 %) pre-midnight and 180 (41·8 %) post-midnight feeders. Post-midnight feeders consumed higher daily energy, carbohydrate, fat and protein intakes than pre-midnight feeders (all P<0·001). The difference in energy intake originated from energy content consumed during the post-midnight period. Majority (n 173) of post-midnight feeders consumed formula milk during the post-midnight period. Using multivariate logistic regression with confounder adjustment, exclusively breast-feeding during the first 6 months of life was negatively associated with post-midnight feeding at 12 months (adjusted OR 0·31; 95 % CI 0·11, 0·82). This study provides new insights into the circadian pattern of energy intake during infancy. Our findings indicated that the timing of feeding at 12 months was associated with daily energy and macronutrient intakes, and feeding mode during early infancy.