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 or her 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.
Breast milk is the only food recommended for the first 6 months of life. If you cannot breastfeed or express milk, your infant should be fed iron-fortified formula.
A newborn baby that is breastfed may feed every 2 hours, even overnight. A bottle-fed baby should drink every 2-3 hours at first. As your baby grows, feed whenever the baby shows signs of hunger.
In the first few weeks, infants should be awakened to feed if 4 hours have passed since the beginning of the last feeding. Your baby will eventually develop a more regular feeding schedule, which may occur about 8 times a day. Your infant may need more breastmilk or formula during certain times like a growth spurt. Follow your baby's hunger signals to know when to feed.
Newborns that are formula fed may drink 2-3 ounces every 3-4 hours. The amount per feeding may vary and will increase as your baby grows. For example, by 2 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 at any time.
Do not give cow's milk, honey, syrup, sugared juices or sodas to your baby. Breast milk or iron-fortified formula is all they need.
|Benefits of Breastfeeding||Benefits of Iron-Fortified Formula|
|Why not cow’s milk?||Why not low-iron formula?|
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.
Department of Agriculture
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
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How often and how much should your baby eat? American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/How-Often-and-How-Much-Should-Your-Baby-Eat.aspx. Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed June 8, 2016.
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Nutrition (pediatric preventive care). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 19, 2016. Accessed June 8, 2016.
Why formula instead of cow's milk? American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/feeding-nutrition/Pages/Why-Formula-Instead-of-Cows-Milk.aspx. Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed June 8, 2016.
10/12/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: 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). Pediatrics 2010;26(5):1040-1050.
4/7/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Lamberti LM, Zakarija-Grkovic, Fischer Walker CL, et al. Breastfeeding for reducing the risk of pneumonia morbidity and mortality in children under two: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health. 2013;13 Suppl 3:S18.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Michael Woods, MD Last Updated: 6/8/2016