Smart Moves When Feeding Your Baby

What do I feed my baby?

The American Academy of Pediatrics states that breastmilk is the best milk for babies during their first year. Breastfeeding and human milk are the normal way to feed your infant. Given the many advantages of breastfeeding, infant feeding should not be considered as a lifestyle choice, but rather as a basic health issue. Feeding time is a special time to bond with your baby. You show your baby your love and care.

When can I start giving my baby other foods?

Feed your baby breastmilk or formulas throughout the first year of life. Add solid foods when your baby shows signs of being ready -- usually between 6 and 12 months.

Make learning to eat solid foods a pleasant experience for your baby. Wait to start solid foods until your baby is ready to participate in feeding. Clues your baby may be ready for other foods include:

  • Able to hold his or her head up
  • Able to sit alone or with support
  • Opens his or her mouth when food is presented
  • Turns head away if doesn't want it
  • Able to use lips to work food off a spoon
  • Able to move food from the front of the tongue to the back of the mouth instead of forward and out of the mouth

When introducing solid foods, start with iron-fortified rice baby cereal mixed with warmed breastmilk or formula. Start with thinned cereal from a spoon. As your baby gets better at eating, thicken the cereal and eventually leave a few lumps. As your baby improves, he or she will be eating at least a couple tablespoons of cereal twice a day. It could take a month or more for your baby to master eating cereal from a spoon.

Once thick cereal is mastered, then feed 1 to 2 tablespoons of pureed or fork-mashed fruits or vegetables along with the cereal 2 to 3 times a day. Offer one new food every 3 or 4 days and watch for signs of intolerance (rash, spitting up or diarrhea).

Add foods in the following order:

6 months: Baby cereal mixed with breast milk or formula
Strained fruits and vegetables
7 to 9 months: Strained meats and poultry
2 to 4 oz. unsweetened fruit juice in a cup
Plain toast
10 to 12 months: Chopped soft fruits and vegetables
Meats
Unsweetened dry cereal
Soft bread
Pasta

By the end of the first year, most babies are able to finger feed themselves soft foods and drink from a cup.

Enjoy this new adventure in feeding your little one!

How is my baby growing?

Follow the growth of your baby with your doctor to be sure your baby is growing enough.

Babies usually double their birth weight in four to six months and triple that weight by one year of age.

For more information about feeding infants, check out Ellyn Satter's website at http://www.ellynsatter.com You can find The American Academy of Pediatrics website at http://www.aap.org

The WIC Program can provide additional information about feeding infants. If you believe your baby qualifies for WIC, contact your local WIC Office at 1-800-26BIRTH.