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Quick reference medical handouts used by Pediatric offices


Feeding Suggestions for the First Year


For the first 4 to 6 months, breastmilk or a supplemental infant formula is all your baby needs to satisfy their nutritional needs. When to introduce solid foods to the diet depends on your baby. It is important to remember that even with solid food being eaten, the significant source of nutrition for your baby comes from the breast or bottle. It is always best to seek the advice of your baby's doctor concerning when to introduce solid foods.

The typical age of eating first solid foods is around 4-6 months. It is recommended that the first solid food be rice cereal. Mixed with infant formula or breastmilk rice cereal is an easy food for your baby to digest. It also provides a good source of nutritional iron and it is least likely, of all the foods, to be one that your baby is allergic to. For the first few feedings it should be mixed to a consistency just a little thicker than the milk itself. When the baby excepts the cereal like this it can slowly be increased to a thicker consistency.

Once your baby is comfortable with rice cereal (he/she eats it at least once a day and consumes most of it)other strained baby foods can then be introduced. Other single grain infant cereals, vegetables or fruits are recommended to start with first. Usually physicians will recommend fruits or vegetables first. There are advantages to both. Fruits have a sweet taste and may encourage baby to eat more. Vegetables introduce your baby to single foods and also prevent your baby from becoming dependent on the sweet taste of fruits.

When starting with vegetables, yellow veggies such as squash, sweet potatoes or carrots are usually more accepted by babies. When yellows are introduced properly then green vegetables can follow. Introduce new foods one at a time and feed only one new food every three or four days. The delay in feeding new foods all at once is to rule out any allergy possibilities.

Formula Feeding Guide

These are guidelines to the amount your baby may drink, but let your baby's appetite be your guide. Don't coax your baby to finish a bottle. If he/she seems hungry, feed him/her more often.

Age in
Months

TotalDaily
Amount (ml)

Number of
Daily Feedings

Amount per
Feeding (ml)

0-3

720 - 960

5 - 7

100-200

4-6

960 -1080

4 - 5

200-250

7-12*

600-900

3-4

150-250

Age in
Months

Total Daily
Amount (oz)

Number of
Daily Feeds

Amount of
Feeding (oz)

0-3

24-32

5-7

3-6

4-6

32-36

4-5

6-8

7-12*

20-30

3-4

5-8

*As your baby eats more solids, he/she may drink less formula.

Introducing Solid Foods

Remember: these are general guidelines. No two babies are exactly alike. Don't compare your baby with others as to how much he/she eats, or when he/she accepts a new food. Always consult with your baby's doctor before trying new foods.

  • Babies don't need solid foods before 4-6 months.
  • Offer only one new food every two to three days, so you can see if your baby is allergic to any new food.
  • When introducing each new food, start with only 1-3 teaspoons, in case it doesn't agree with your baby. Gradually increase the amounts according to your baby's appetite.
  • If your baby rejects a food, try it again a few days later.
  • Serve foods separately (for example, don't stir meat and vegetables together) so your baby can learn to like different flavors and textures.

When What Why
0-4 months

Your baby isn't ready
to digest solids yet.

Breast milk or
commercial iron-
fortified infant
formula
This meets all your baby's needs.
It is best for your baby to continue
mainly on breast milk or formula for
the first year.

4 - 6 months

Can transfer solids
from front to back of
mouth. Can sit up,
supported. Ready for
spoon feeding.

Infant cereal Introduce
one type of grain at a
time. Start with rice,
then try barley or oatmeal
and then wheat, soy
and mixed grain infant
cereal.
Infant cereals are fortified with iron
and are an important source of iron
for the first 18 months. Do not put
infant cereal in the bottle at any age.

5 - 7 months

Ready to try new
flavors and textures.

Pureed or mashed
vegetables; pureed
or mashed fruits
Your baby may be more willing to
eat vegetables if she tries these before
trying naturally sweet fruits. Both of
these start your baby on good eating
habits. Pureed foods are only needed
for a short time, perhaps a few weeks.
Then go on to mashed table foods,
which promote chewing skills.

6 - 8 months

Growing rapidly.
Grabs spoon. Ready
to chew.

Pureed or ground up
meat, fish, poultry,
and meat alternatives
(beans, peas, lentils).

Gradually change to
mashed table foods
without sugar, salt,
seasonings, butter or
margarine.

Egg yolks

Plain cheese,
unsweetened yogurt,
cottage cheese

These provide additional protein,
vitamins and iron for rapid growth.

This introduces firmer textures to
help your baby develop chewing
skills.

Egg white may cause an allergy if
given at an early age, so wait until
12 months before offering it.

Finger foods

For finger food use
toast, plain unsalted
crackers, soft fruit
(cooked, or canned
in fruit juice or water), lightly
cooked vegetables, unsweetened
ready-to-eat cereals
These encourage chewing and
help develop your baby's
coordination.

Unsweetened ready-to-eat cereals
are fine as finger foods, but
your baby should still have iron-
fortified infant cereal as his/her main cereal.

9 - 12 months

Eats a variety of foods.

May begin feeding whole milk
from a cup (not 2%, 1% or skim
milk) after one year

 

As a reminder, this information should not be relied on as medical advice and is not intended to replace the advice of your child’s pediatrician. Please read our full disclaimer.

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