THE BASIC BABY FEEDING GUIDE
Posted on March 23 2017
Often times, what expectant parents are most excited about is feeding their little ones. It’s such an iconic thing: soothing your baby in your arms with a bottle and a gentle rocking motion. Honestly, feeding time truly is a major bonding moment during the first year of your baby’s life. But remember, your baby will only be reliant on milk or formula for a few months in the beginning.
There has been a general idea of what your baby can eat, when he/she can eat it, and how much of it should be consumed. However, this is a very flexible “schedule” since we all know that babies develop at different rates. But there are a few well-established guidelines that run along with basic skills development, as well as the baby’s development to adapt to different kinds of food. For your benefit, we have prepared a rundown of the developmental milestones, timeframes, and the general signs that determine when your baby is ready for something new.
Newborn babies don’t have a fully developed digestive system just about yet, so it’s very important to refrain from feeding them anything other than breast milk or formula. At this age, however, breast milk is always the best option, unless of course there is a complication with either the mother or the baby’s reaction towards it. In addition to your child’s digestion, there are several antibodies and nutrients in breast milk that your newborn needs. You can read more about the breastfeeding and bottle feeding debate in another article we’ve published HERE.
NEW POSSIBLE FOOD: Breast milk or Formula ONLY
QUANTITY PER DAY: 2.5 ounces per pound of body weight daily
- Early signs of hunger include lip smacking, sucking and rooting
- Crying can be a late sign of hunger, but it’s usually not the primary reason for a baby crying, so try to see what else could be wrong before reaching for the bottle.
- Vomiting is a sign of overfeeding, so if you’re getting spit-up after feeding, then you may need to adjust the amount next time.
- Babies are usually hungrier during growth spurts (10-14 days after birth, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months)
- A lack of appetite is usually the first sign of sickness or discomfort.
Your baby is getting stronger and learning to become a little more independent. He/She is probably capable of holding his/her head up, sitting in a high chair, and it showing interest in food. What’s more, your baby has probably gained a significant amount of weight, practically having doubled in size. Though experts usually recommend milk or formula dependence for about six months, once the signs are showing, it’s completely fine to start introducing solids in the mix.
Signs of readiness include the ability to close mouth around a spoon, ability to move food from the front to the back of the mouth, more control over their tongues, making chewing motions and the loss of the tendency to push food out of the mouth.
NEW POSSIBLE FOOD: Breast milk or formula mixed with well-cooked and pureed vegetables, fruits, meats, or iron-fortified cereal
QUANTITY PER DAY: Begin with 1 teaspoon of pureed food/cereal mixed with 4-5 teaspoons of milk or formula, twice a day. This can increase to one tablespoon of food mixed with milk, gradually decreasing the amount of milk mixed in.
- Don’t rush. If your baby won’t eat what you’re offering the first time, don’t force it and try again another day.
- Introduce new foods one at a time, allowing about two to three days before introducing a new food.
- Keep a food log of what your baby has sampled and when. This will make it easier to point out allergies.
This stage is basically where your baby is showing readiness for solid food. It’s very much similar to the previous stage. However, your child will be capable of dealing with a little more texture and a wider array of food products. Keep in mind that dairy products are still very much OFF the menu, since doctors recommend that cow’s milk should only be given to children of 1 year old and older.
NEW POSSIBLE FOOD: Pureed tofu, small amounts of unsweetened yogurt, and pureed legumes
QUANTITY: 1 teaspoon of fruit and/or vegetables gradually increased to 2 or 3 tablespoons four times a day; 3 to 9 tablespoons of cereal two or three times a day
- Though there is no particular order in which food should be introduced, it’s more common to see meat being introduced after cereals, fruits and vegetables. Your paediatrician knows what’s best.
By now, your baby should be starting to get more motor skills and control. He/She is starting to pick things up with his/her thumb and forefinger and can transfer items from hand to hand. In addition, your child should be teething by now, so he/she is starting to put everything in his/her mouth. These are all great signs that your baby is ready for some actual solid foods.
NEW POSSIBLE FOODS: Mashed fruits/vegetables, soft pasteurized cheese and cottage cheese, small bits of meat and lentils, cereals, finger foods (small bits of scrambled eggs, O-shaped cereals, well-cooked spiral pasta, teething crackers)
QUANTITY PER DAY: ¾ to 1 cup of fruits and/or vegetables, ¼ to ½ cup iron-fortified cereal, ½ ounce cheese, 3-4 table spoons of protein
Things are starting to get a little bit easier, since your child should be showing signs of additional independence. He/She now has more teeth, can swallow more easily, is starting to lose that pesky spit out habit, and is trying to use a spoon by himself/herself. You may even start leaving them to feed themselves with finger foods, fruit and vegetable slices.
NEW POSSIBLE FOOD: Bite-sized, soft-cooked veggies, mashed or sliced fruits, combo foods/table food (no dairy, no bones or intense spices)
QUANTITY PER DAY: See previous, 1/8 to ¼ cup combo food
Final tip: when feeding your baby, you don’t want to be using metal utensils as these may cause injury to your child. It’s also important to remember that feeding time is usually a very messy time when dealing with very young children. Ashtonbee has got you covered on both counts! Check out our baby spoons and baby bibs in the shop page!