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Baby Feeding Tips from 0-12 Months Old

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Baby Feeding Tips from 0-12 Months Old

Looking for quick baby feeding tips for your little one’s first year of life? We’ve broken it down into do’s and don’ts to keep it simple.

The first year of a baby’s life is full of changes. Finding the right baby feeding tips for the first year is essential. Baby is adjusting to life outside the womb and learning to eat and move at an incredibly fast rate. At the same time, parents have to adjust their lives around a baby’s eating and sleeping schedules, fitting in their own meals and rest whenever they can. In order to ease some of the anxiety around feeding during this time, here’s a compiled a list of top tips for parents when their baby is 0-6 months old, 6-8 months old, and 8-12 months old.

Baby Feeding Tips Age 0-6 months

DO

DON’T

  • Ensure your baby is getting enough to eat. You can tell your baby is getting enough breast milk or formula if they have six or more wet diapers a day and three or more stools a day (after the first few days); if they appear satisfied after eating; if there is visible milk during feedings; or if they are gaining weight after the first four or five days of life. (1)
  • Increase your milk supply by getting plenty of sleep, offering both breasts, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining skin-to-skin contact. (2) Work with a lactation consultant if issues arise, when possible.
  • Prepare infant formula properly. Under-diluting or over-diluting can put stress on an infant’s kidneys or contribute to growth problems and nutrient deficiencies. (2)
  • Your milk supply may drop if you are smoking, drinking alcohol, are stressed, dehydrated, not getting enough sleep, or are taking certain medications. (2)
  • Don’t push the infant to finish their bottle to avoid waste or pressure the infant to finish breastfeeding. (2)
  • Don’t wait until after you return to work to come up with a plan for breastfeeding. Talk to your employer earlier rather than later to allow for appropriate measures. Employers are required to provide employees with break time and a private place other than a bathroom to express milk or feed infants. (3)
  • Do not breastfeed if you have any acute illnesses (e.g., tuberculosis), are taking specific medications, or if your infant has any metabolic disorder (e.g., PKU). Check with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns. (2)
  • Do not introduce solids before 6 months unless indicated by your child’s pediatrician or pediatric dietitian.

For more tips, check out the breastfeeding section.

Baby Feeding Tips Age 6-8 months

DO

DON’T

  • Feed your baby with a soft baby spoon.
  • Focus on iron-rich food sources. Be sure to include a source of iron (ex. beef, iron-fortified cereal, black beans, eggs, broccoli) at least once per day as your baby’s iron stores will need replenishing around 6 months.
  • Continue breastfeeding or formula for the first year. (4)
  • Ensure the texture of solid foods is mashed, pureed, or very soft.
  • Expose your baby to a wide variety of healthy foods and textures. (4)
  • Mix up your grains. Try oats, rye, or other whole grains and use brown rice more sparingly due to potential arsenic poisoning that babies can’t handle.
  • Encourage your baby to drink from a cup starting at 6 months.
  • You can introduce foods as purees or cut up pieces as long as they don’t pose a choking hazard. Make sure cut pieces are easy for your baby to grasp.
  • Don’t mix baby cereal with fruit juice.
  • Don’t add baby cereal to a bottle – it’s a choking hazard.
  • Don’t give your baby honey or cow’s milk for the entire first year.
  • Do not supplement with Vitamin D or iron before checking with your pediatrician. (5)
  • Avoid adding salt and sugar to your baby’s food during the first year of life.
  • Don’t mix new foods. Allow 3-5 days between introducing a new food. Avoid combination meals until you are sure there are no food allergies.
  • Don’t offer juice before 6-9 months, but  it’s best to avoid it altogether until the child is a toddler (4)
  • Don’t think you have to introduce rice cereal first! There’s no evidence that says you have to start with rice cereals – you can start with protein (meats, legumes, soy), vegetables, grains, or fruits. As long as they are prepared properly so your baby can hold them and chew/suck on the food. Some practitioners recommend introducing fruits last as babies already prefer sweet foods.

Baby Feeding Tips Age 8-12 months

DO

DON’T

  • Feed less breastmilk or formula feedings.
  • Offer 2-3 healthy snacks per day. (4)
  • Follow your baby’s lead on how often and when to feed. Remember, their stomachs are small, so they need to be fed more frequently.
  • Make sure to include variety! This is a time of food exploration for your baby. The more they get the try, the more willing they may be to eat those foods as they grow older.
  • Include some fresh herbs like basil, oregano, and mint in their diet and spices like turmeric and ground cardamom.
  • Foods can be either finger foods or chopped – limit purees.
  • Serve no more than 24 ounces (oz.) of breastmilk or formula per day at 12 months of age.  This will promote an increase in the amount of food your baby eats. Too much breastmilk and too little food can lead to iron deficiency anemia.

For a more detailed introduction to solids that includes readiness signs, baby’s first foods, and suggested portions, see Introduction to Solids – Baby’s First Foods.

Updated 09/2019

References


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About the Author
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Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a masters in nutrition education. She is founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. where she is “saving the world, one healthy food at a time.” Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the founder’s page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her on-line courses and subscribe to her blog, Melissa’s Healthy Living, for nutrition updates.

Website: https://www.superkidsnutrition.com


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