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Western Maine Health - Feeding your infant (birth to 12 months)
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Feeding your infant (birth to 12 months)

It's much easier to enjoy the special times spent feeding your infant when you know what to expect. At Western Maine Pediatrics, we hope that you review the following information, and that you spend many happy hours taking care of your newborn.

Tips for feeding your newborn

  Start out right
  • Make feeding a special time to enjoy your baby and relax!
  • Do not give your baby cow's or goat's milk his/her first year.
  • Do not give your baby Kool-Aid or soda.
  • Wait until your baby is one year old before giving him or her orange or grapefruit juice.
  • Don't put your baby to bed with a bottle; it could contribute to ear infections and cause tooth decay.
  • Start weaning your baby off of the bottle by one year.
  • Only give infant formula in a bottle; use a "sippy cup" for juice or water.
Introduce solid foods
  • Wash all feeding dishes in warm, soapy water.
  • Serve foods at room temperature.
  • Only add one new food at a time.
  • After introducing a new food, allow five days before starting another, in order to gauge your child's reaction to the new food.
  • Start a new food in the morning-you'll know before bedtime if it does not agree with your baby.
  • Do not add sugar, salt, honey or spices to your baby's food.
  • If baby refuses food, don't worry! He or she may not be hungry.
  • Babies should not eat any peanuts or peanut butter before two years of age.
Ensure safe feedings
  • Never leave your baby alone while eating.
  • Do not use a microwave to heat bottles.
  • If you use a microwave to heat food, stir after heating and check temperature before feeding.
  • Some foods can cause choking. Do not feed your child whole hot dogs, nuts, hard candy, popcorn, berries, raisins or hard chunks of food.
  • Make sure the tops of baby food jars pop the first time they are opened.
Feeding stages for baby's first year

  Birth to 4 months
  • Breast milk is all your baby needs for the first four months of life.
  • If you cannot breastfeed, use iron-fortified infant formula. Babies need to be breastfed every one to three hours (even at night) or given formula every two to four hours (16 to 20 ounces for a newborn and 26 to 30 ounces for a 2 to 4 month old).
  • Cuddle and hold your baby close during the feeding.
4 to 6 months
  • Continue breastfeeding if possible. Nurse your baby five to nine times per 24 hours.
  • Formula-fed babies will drink 28 to 32 ounces per day.
  • When your child is ready, offer iron-fortified baby cereal mixed in a bowl with breast milk, water or formula. Your baby is ready when he or she can hold his head up, sit with help and when he or she doesn't push food out with his tongue. Start with one tablespoon of rice cereal mixed with four tablespoons of breast milk or formula and increase slowly. Later, you can introduce oatmeal or barley cereal.
  • Offer cereal twice a day-breakfast and dinner are good times to do this.
6 to 9 months
  • Continue breastfeeding your baby if possible. Formula-fed babies will drink 24 to 32 ounces per day.
  • Offer new foods; start with pureed single vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, peas and green beans. Once baby accepts vegetables, introduce soft, mashed fruits. Also introduce 100 percent white grape, pear or apple juice or water from a "sippy cup" (not a bottle).
  • At this stage, you may introduce plain yogurt, cottage cheese, plain mashed fish, chicken, meat, egg yolk, beans and rice soup.
9 to 12 months
  • Continue breastfeeding if possible. Formula-fed babies will drink 24 to 32 ounces per day
  • Offer your baby finger foods such as: cooked soft vegetable pieces, peeled soft fruit pieces, Cheerios or other unsweetened cereal, toast pieces, teething crackers, cooked noodles, finely chopped soft meat, chicken, fish and eggs.
  • Serve 100 percent juice from a "sippy cup," (not a bottle).

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181 Main Street, Norway, Maine 04268 | (207) 743-5933, TTY (for the hearing impaired): (207) 743-1597