Adapted from the South Dakota Department of Health
Congratulations! You’re the proud (and nervous) parent of the world’s most beautiful baby! Giving your baby love and nurturing comes so naturally to you. So does showing him off to your family, friends, and even perfect strangers! But when it comes to feeding, you may feel a little unsure of what to do. Here are some guidelines.
Breast milk is the only food recommended for the first six months of life. A breast-fed baby should be fed on demand. If you cannot breastfeed or express milk, your infant should be fed iron-fortified formula. A bottle-fed baby should drink every 2-3 hours at first.
A newborn baby that is breastfed may feed 8-12 times a day or more. You should breastfeed your baby whenever he is showing signs of hunger.
In the first few weeks, infants should be awoken to feed if four hours have passed since the beginning of the last feeding. As your baby gets older, he will develop a more regular feeding schedule, which may occur about eight times a day. However, your infant may need more than this with growth spurts.
Newborns that are formula fed may drink 1-½ to 3 ounces every 2-3 hours. The amount per feeding will increase as your baby grows. For example, by two months, he may drink 4-5 ounces every 3-4 hours.
When babies go through growth spurts, they will want to eat more. Growth spurts may occur around the ages of:
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in the first six months, water and juice are unnecessary. Some babies may be ready to add solid foods after 4 months.
Look for the following signs that your baby is ready for solid foods:
Breast milk or iron-fortified formula is best.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in a many products, including plastic containers or bottles (with recycling number 7), as well as canned goods. While BPA's effects in humans is still being studied, some experts recommend that you limit your baby's exposure to this chemical. To learn more, read the article BPA Raising Concerns.
American Academy of Pediatrics
Food and Nutrition Information Center
About Kids Health
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Bite-sized milestones: signs of solid food readiness. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children.org website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/pages/Bite-Sized-Milestones-Signs-of-Solid-Food-Readiness-.aspx. Updated May 1, 2012. Accessed September 12, 2012.
Bottle feeding basics. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children.org website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/pages/Bottle-Feeding-How-It's-Done.aspx. Updated June 29, 2012. Accessed September 12, 2012.
Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics. 2005;115(2): 496-506. American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;115/2/496. Accessed September 12, 2012.
Breastfeeding FAQs: how much and how often. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/breastfeed/breastfeed_often.html. Updated January 2012. Accessed September 12, 2012.
Formula feeding FAQs: how much and how often. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/formulafeed/formulafeed_often.html. Updated January 2012. Accessed September 12, 2012.
Formula feeding FAQs: preparation and storage. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/newborn_care/formulafeed_storing.html#. Updated February 2012. Accessed September 12, 2012.
How to protect your baby from BPA. Bureau of Environmental Health Massachusetts Department of Public Health website. http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/environmental/exposure/bisphenol-a-brochure.pdf. Updated July 2009. Accessed September 12, 2012.
Jones P. BPA raising concerns. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated October 2011. Accessed September 12, 2012.
Wagner CL, Greer FR, American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding, American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Prevention of rickets and vitamin D deficiency in infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2008;122:1142-1152.
Why formula instead of cow's milk? American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children.org website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Why-Formula-Instead-of-Cows-Milk.aspx. Updated July 30, 2012. Accessed September 12, 2012.
10/12/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Baker R, Greer F, the Committee on Nutrition. Clinical report—diagnosis and prevention of iron deficiency and iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children (0-3 years of age). American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/peds.2010-2576v1. Published October 5, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2010.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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