Feed your baby right from the start
Whether nursing or bottle feeding, our baby feeding guide explains how to give him a healthful start.
Your baby's nutrition is critical to his successful development and growth. This helpful baby feeding guide will show you how to give your baby a healthful head-start.
The newborn stage
Newborns spend most of their time sleeping and eating. During the first few weeks, you'll be feeding your baby every two to three hours. Watch your baby's cues to judge when he is satisfied, especially if you're nursing. Your pediatrician may recommend checking for a certain number of wet diapers per day — it'll help you judge feeding frequency. As a general guide:
- Baby formula-fed newborns eat an average of 30 ounces a day.
- Breast-fed babies generally nurse for 10 to 15 minutes on each side.
Choose the right bottle
There are dozens of bottle feeding options. But you won't know your baby's favorite type of bottle until you start feeding. Sample two or three brands to start. Then, buy more after you learn what works best.
- Fussy babies may prefer bottles with gas-preventing features.
- If you're nursing, shop for bottles made specifically for breast-fed babies.
Bottle care and cleaning
Wash baby bottles in hot, soapy water. Using a dishwasher? Place the small parts in the dishwasher basket. Also sterilize your bottles and pacifiers periodically using a sterilizer.
- Use a steam or microwaveable bottle sterilizer to save time.
- Clean your dish-drying rack once a week. It'll prevent the spread of germs.
- Purchase an electric breast pump, especially for frequent pumping.
- To save space, lay breast-milk storage bags flat in the freezer.
- Apply skin cream; it prevents nipple soreness and cracked skin.
- Visit a lactation consultant or support group for help, if necessary.
Most pediatricians suggest starting solid baby food around five or six months. Ask your personal pediatrician before changing your baby's food. Many parents first try infant rice cereal mixed with formula, breast milk or water. Start with a light, watery consistency until baby learns to swallow small spoonfuls of food.
- To avoid picky eating, introduce a wide variety of flavors.
- Try organic baby food or make your own!
Baby-feeding safety tips
- Does your family have a history of food allergies? Introduce new foods every three days.
- Sanitize countertops and cutting boards. It'll help you avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen.
- Chop finger foods into very small pieces.
- Don't save leftover milk or formula in a bottle.
- Never leave an eating baby unattended.
- Don't put baby to bed with a bottle.