Breastfeeding will give your baby the very best start in life; click here to see why. We can offer you all the support you need to successfully breastfeed your baby, including classes at your local Mother's Classes Center (also known as Women's Health Resource Center) and trained professionals that can answer your questions by telephone.

Some basics

1. Babies eat every 3-4 hours (8-12 times per day) in the first month. This is because they have tiny tummies, and milk digests quickly. It does not mean they are not getting enough milk.

2. How do you know when baby is hungry? Look for these cues: rooting, tongue thrusts, sucking, hands in mouth, and crying (but this is a late sign; try and feed baby before she needs to cry).

3. Feed baby on demand not on a schedule. Let baby eat till done; not to a certain time if breastfeeding or a certain bottle size if formula feeding.

4. Growth spurts typically occur at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months. So baby will eat more, and sleep will probably be disrupted.

5. If you plan on breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, best to wait until 4-8 weeks before introducing the bottle to avoid nipple confusion.

How to know baby is getting enough:

  1. Diaper output - your easiest clue, 4-6 wet diapers and 3-6 soiled diapers per day during weeks 1-6. Urine should be clear-to-pale yellow in color.
  2. Weight gain – baby regains birth weight within two weeks, but keep in mind baby will lose 5-10% of their birth weight in their first 3-4 days of life.
  3. Relaxed baby – baby seems relaxed and happy after a feed.

If breastfeeding there are two other clues: i) softer breasts after a feed, ii) you hear or see swallowing during feeding.

Most experts agree to wait until baby is at least six months before introducing solids. Only giving baby breastmilk or formula provides all the nutrition they need. Baby isn't physically ready to eat solid food until then and introducing too early can lead to digestive and other health troubles, such as overfeeding/weight issues.

Feeding guide for Baby’s first year

1.        Infants 0-6 Months

Breastfed Babies

  • Nurse baby on demand, which means whenever she wants and for as long as she wants on each side.
  • During the first two weeks, you should feed every 2-3 hours (8-12 times per day) allowing baby as long as she wants on each breast.
  • Between 2-6 weeks continue to nurse on demand, but baby can go longer between feeds; nurse around 8 times every 24 hours. Nursing frequently will help your milk supply. Cluster feeding is still common at this age. Babies start to become more efficient and nursing time often shortens.
  • Between 2-6 months, breastfeed baby 6-8 times every 24 hours.

Formula-fed Babies:

  • Baby will need approximately 150-200ml of formula per 1kg of body weight per day (less in the first week) and this will continue until baby starts solids.
  • During the first two weeks, offer baby approximately 60-70ml every 2-3 hours.
  • Between 2-8 weeks, offer baby 75-105ml 5-8 times every 24 hours. Baby’s appetite will vary from feed-to-feed and from day-to-day, so watch for baby’s cues to learn if he wants more (finishes feed quickly and looks for more, continuing to suck or crying when bottle is finished) or less (turning head away, pushing bottle out of mouth, refusing to open mouth). Don’t overfeed as this can cause vomiting, stomach pains and too much weight gain.
  • Between 2-6 months, offer baby 105-210ml 5-6 times every 24 hours.

How to know baby is getting enough:

  • Diaper output - your easiest clue, 4-6 wet diapers and 3-6 soiled diapers per day during weeks 1-6. Urine should be clear-to-pale yellow in color.
  • Weight gain – baby regains birth weight within two weeks, but keep in mind baby will lose 5-10% of their birth weight in their first 3-4 days of life.
  • Relaxed baby – baby seems relaxed and happy after a feed.
  • If breastfeeding there are two other clues: i) softer breasts after a feed, ii) you hear or see swallowing during feeding.

2.        Introducing Solids

Signs of readiness:

  • Can sit and hold head up unassisted.
  • Lost tongue thrust i.e. no longer pushes food out of mouth with tongue and can he move food from a spoon into his throat
  • Shows significant weight gain (doubled birth weight) and weighs at least 6kg.
  • Shows interest in food and makes chewing motions.

All babies are different and while one baby might show signs of readiness for solids at 4 months, another might not seem ready until 7 or 8 months. Even if your family is pressuring you to feed your baby solids, or your friend’s baby starting eating solids at 4 months, that doesn’t mean your baby is ready. Your baby will receive all the nutrition it needs from breastmilk in particular, and/or formula. Introducing solids too early may displace the important nutrition your baby needs and can cause intenstinal problems and allergies. This is why the World Health Organization and many other national health authorities, like the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend waiting until baby is 6 months old. Also remember that babies often have a growth spurt between 3-4 months of age, which will mean more frequent eating and night waking. It is not an indication of readiness for solids. Try offering additional milk and often within a week or two baby will be back to his normal feeding patterns.

Starter Tips:

  • Go slow - introduce new foods one at a time and it is usually a good idea to wait 2-3 days before introducing a new food.
  • Ease in – to prevent baby from getting frustrated when hungry, try offering a little breastmilk/formula first, then very small half-spoonfuls of food, and finish with more breastmilk/formula.
  • Keep trying - don't be disheartened if your baby doesn't seem to like solids or makes funny faces. It is all very new for him. Keep offering and encouraging and he will catch on.
  • But don’t force it – don’t make your baby eat if she cries or turns away when you feed her. Go back to nursing or bottle-feeding exclusively for a time before trying again.
  • Include baby – wherever possible, time baby’s meals for when you or the family eat so that he feels included and can watch and learn.
  • Expect a mess - be prepared for food to be on baby’s face, hands, bib, highchair, floor and you!   
  • Lots of breastmilk/formula – make sure baby continues to drink lots of breastmilk or formula. It will ensure he gets the right nutrition and will help minimize constipation, which can occur when introducing solids.
  • Read baby’s cues – if baby wants to eat she will open her mouth or lean in for the spoon. If she is done, she will close her mouth or turn away to prevent the spoon from entering, or spit food out.

Great First Foods:

  • Fruits – apple, avocado, banana and pear
  • Vegetables – butternut squash, carrots, green beans, sweet potatos
  • Grains – barley, oatmeal, rice

3.        Infants 6-12 Months

Following is a suggested feeding guideline for babies 6-12 months. This table should be used as a guide only; always consult your baby’s doctor about solid foods.

Daily Feeding Guideline

 

6-8 months of age

9-10 months of age

11-12 months of age

Milk intake

Breastfeed every 3-4 hours

Formula 24-37 oz

Breastfeed every 4-5 hours

Formula 24-31 oz

Breastfeed every 4-5 hours

Formula 24-31 oz

Solid Foods

 

 

 

- # meals, total tbsp

2-3 meals, 9-24 tbsp

3-4 meals, 17-30 tbsp

3-4 meals, 17-30 tbsp

- Texture

Pureed or strained + finger foods

Mashed + small pieces + finger foods

Mashed + small pieces + finger foods

- Cereals

3-8 tablespoons

5-8 tablespoons

5-8 tablespoons

- Fruits

1-3 tablespoons 2x day

2-4 tablespoons 2x day

2-4 tablespoons 2x day

- Vegetables

1-3 tablespoons 2x day

2-4 tablespoons 2x day

2-4 tablespoons 2x day

- Meat/Protein

1-2 tablespoons 2x day

2-3 tablespoons 2x day

2-3 tablespoons 2x day

- Water

No more than 60-90ml

No more than 60-90ml

No more than 60-90ml

Source consulted: Wholesome Baby Food: http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com, Johns Hopkins Medicine: http://m.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/pediatrics/feeding_guide_for_the_first_year_90,P02209/, and BabyCenter: http://www.babycenter.com/0_age-by-age-guide-to-feeding-your-baby_1400680.bc

Things to avoid for babies under 12 months:

  • Cow’s milk as a drink to replace breastmilk or formula.
  • Honey as the bacteria in it can cause botchelism.
  • Nuts as these are more likely to cause an allergic reaction.
  • Cereal in baby’s bottle (also known as thickening feeds) as this can cause baby to choke and result in weight issues. Thickening feeds should only be done under doctor’s advice for diagnosed reflux.
  • Recommendations vary about giving babies the following foods before 12 months of age: fresh strawberries, citrus fruits, grapes, corn, egg whites, and shellfish. Check with your baby’s doctor before giving these to your baby.

For advice on weaning baby when breastfeeding, click here.

 

 

Category: Feeding

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