Feeding Your Infant: Ages 0 to 4 Months
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.
What Foods Are Best?
Breast milk is the only food recommended for the first six months of life. 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.
How Much Breast Milk or Formula Should I Give?
A newborn baby that is breastfed may feed every two hours even overnight. As your baby grows feed whenever the baby shows 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. Your baby will eventually develop a more regular feeding schedule, which may occur about eight times a day. Your infant may need more breastmilk during certain times like a growth spurt. Follow your baby's hunger signals to know when to provide breastmilk.
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, your baby may drink 4-5 ounces every 3-4 hours.
Growth spurts will make your baby hungrier. Increase breastmilk or formula as indicated by your baby's needs. Growth spurts may occur around the ages of:
Do Not Give Solid Foods Until Your Baby Is Ready
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breastmilk and formula are adequate nutrition alone in the first six months. Water and juice are unnecessary during this time.
Solid food is not recommended until your baby demonstrates that he/she is ready for solid foods, often around 6 months of age. Your baby may be ready for solid foods if you baby:
Do Not Give Cow’s Milk, Honey, Syrup, Kool-Aid, or Soda to Your Baby
Breast milk or iron-fortified formula is best.
What Are My Choices?
What Can I Expect?
Tips on Bottles and Storage
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.
American Academy of Pediatrics
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.healthy.... Updated May 1, 2012. Accessed September 12, 2012.
Bottle feeding basics. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children.org website. Available at: http://www.healthy.... 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.a.... Accessed September 12, 2012.
Feeding your 4-7 month old. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth..... Updated January 2012. Accessed September 16, 2013.
Formula feeding FAQs: how much and how often. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth..... Updated January 2012. Accessed September 16, 2013.
Formula feeding FAQs: preparation and storage. Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth..... Updated February 2012. Accessed September 16, 2013.
How to protect your baby from BPA. Bureau of Environmental Health Massachusetts Department of Public Health website. http://www.mass.go.... Updated July 2009. Accessed September 16, 2013.
Why formula instead of cow's milk? American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children.org website. Available at: http://www.healthy.... Updated July 30, 2012. Accessed September 16, 2013.
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..... Published October 5, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2010.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Brian Randall, MD