New parents will always have questions and doubts when it comes to a baby’s health and how to manage their nutrition.
This baby nutrition guide will help alleviate the burden that comes with gaining the ton of knowledge only experience and time can provide.
We won’t only stick to newborn nutrition information. We will also mention a few things to avoid and some steps you can take to assure your infant’s nutrition leads to a healthy and happy baby.
Always keep in mind that your baby’s pediatrician or health care provider is the best source you may rely on and will have any answers and information you may need that aren’t covered in this article.
What To Avoid
It is important to know the things that can hurt your baby. See your baby’s pediatrician for instructions on allergies or illnesses your baby could or may have. Before we get into what to feed your newborn, I believe we need to point out the things that you shouldn’t even try and the negative effects they can have.
- Honey should not be given to babies under a year of age since it may contain bacteria that can cause botulism which is an illness that leads to paralysis and can be fatal.
- Cow’s milk cannot be digested by babies that are under the age of one nor does it provide enough nutrients.
- Unpasteurized foods and drinks can cause E. Coli.
- Avoid drinks with a large amount of sugar, like soda and juice, for babies under one year of age.
- For children under three years of age, watch for foods that are a choking hazard like nuts, raw fruits and vegetables that aren’t cut small enough, popcorn, hard candy, etc.
- Any formula, breast milk, or food unused but touched by baby’s mouth should be discarded after two hours. Formula untouched by baby’s mouth can last refrigerated up to two days and freezing is not recommended. Breast milk on the other hand lasts refrigerated up to five days and frozen up to six months. Foods can be refrigerated up to two days and frozen up to two months. Some foods may vary and labels specify these instructions. You can also contact your baby’s pediatrician with any questions or concerns.
- Babies under four months of age should not be fed home-prepared carrots, green beans, spinach, squash, or beets since they are high in nitrates and can cause anemia. Commercially prepared varieties of these veggies are better for your young one.
- Never leave a baby unattended while bottle feeding or feeding solid foods.
First Three Months Of Age
Whether you are breast feeding, formula feeding, or both, it is important to pay attention to feeding schedule and cues from your baby.
As a rule of thumb, in a day, babies will roughly consume in ounces double their weight amount in pounds. For example, an eight pound newborn may need to consume around sixteen ounces in a day where as a fifteen pound baby will require around thirty ounces in a day. This is solely for formula fed babies being that breast feeding cannot be measured.
In either case, a baby should gain weight rather than lose it, be alert and active, feed six to eight times a day, and wet or soil diapers. Contact your baby’s pediatrician if any of these is not happening.
As your baby grows, he or she will feed more each time and that can mean fewer feedings in a day and more sleeping at night. During growth spurts, you will notice your baby may feed more and feedings may continue to increase as your baby may need it.
Your baby may show signs of hunger by the way their hands come up to their mouth, their mouth opening and closing, how they react when they see a bottle or a breast, and being full may be noticed by them facing away, slowing down, or spitting milk or formula out.
Remember, spitting up is totally fine as long as it is after eating or during burping and it is not more than an ounce.
Four To Seven Months Of Age
In this section, we talk about introducing solid foods to your baby. Your baby can also start tasting water at about four months. The pediatrician will suggest how much water your baby may be able to handle or need. Usually it’s no more than two ounces a day.
It is recommended to start introducing solid foods at six months of age since starting earlier could raise risks of allergies. Being that said, once you and your pediatrician have decided to introduce solid foods, it is good practice to test a single food at a time giving a couple of days in between in case any allergic reactions occur.
If you’re shopping for foods for your baby, you will see they are properly labeled. Once your baby can hold his or head up and can sit up with support would be the first phase of foods introduced while the second is baby sitting up on his or her own.
Before having your baby try solid foods, it is best to start with single-grain cereal mixed with breast milk or formula and spoon-feed it. Some babies will start enjoying it while others may reject it. Don’t give up. It is best to slowly introduce these foods a bit by bit while other babies will jump right in and enjoy them right from the start.
Once baby can handle solid foods, you can introduce home-made foods that have been pureed. Make sure the consistency is not too thick or chunky as it may become a choking hazard.
You can also introduce a sippy cup to your baby at around six months of age to get them used to holding a cup. At this age, a baby can start drinking 100% juice, not juice drinks or drinks from powder, and always serve it in a cup, not in a bottle. Juice should be limited to four ounces in a day since it adds too many calories without nutrients needed and can cause diarrhea.
Eight to Twelve Months of Age
By eight months, your baby should great at handling solid foods along with their breast milk or formula. Table foods is the next step to look at.
Just as with solid foods, table foods should be introduced slowly giving enough time through the week to make sure there is no allergic reaction.
You can give your baby store bought baby foods that are new in taste and in texture or you can serve what the rest of the family eats. Make sure these table foods are mashed up enough to prevent choking. You can also cook these foods a little more as to make them softer and cut them into small pieces.
Baby should be trying to hold food on their own by this time. It is perfectly fine for them to experience holding the food and putting it in their mouth. Even if this is the case, do not leave your baby unattended.
As babies eat more of these foods that will provide them with necessary nutrients, they will drink less breast milk or formula.
Wish You Well
No baby comes with a set of instructions and no two babies are the same. This guide might be perfect for your newborn and yet it could be off by a month or two here and there.
Always pay attention to your baby and you will get to know what their signals are, what to check for, and how to respond to their cues.
I wish you well in your journey with your new baby and may you have a great, healthy, and happy baby.