If your newborn is not premature and has regained his birth weight, we recommend feeding on demand for the first 4-6 weeks. That is offering breast or bottle whenever your child is hungry. For bottle-fed babies, slowly increase the amount of formula in each bottle to satisfy the baby (up to 8 ounces) without any increase in spitting up every 3-4 hours. Once they hit their stride, babies tend to drink 24 to 38 ounces per day. If yours is significantly out of this range, talk to your pediatrician.
Introduction of Solid Foods
Anytime between four and six months is an excellent time to begin solid food (in puree form). One clue that your baby is ready for this is if he watches every bite of food you eat. A single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal is a great first food for babies, as it will help them to replenish their iron stores. Infants are born with enough iron that should be sufficient for the first six months of life. Around the six month mark, their iron stores will likely be exhausted, and they will need iron-fortified foods to help replenish their iron stores. Other high-iron foods include spinach, kale, broccoli, green peas, green beans, white beans, lentils, Cheerios, fortified oatmeal, and pasta.
Food allergies are usually not an issue for most children, as only about 5% of babies will show some allergic reaction to any food. However, it is never a bad idea to be cautious, as a food allergy can cause reactions such as a rash, itching, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some of the foods that most often produce allergic reactions include eggs, nuts, peanuts, cow's milk, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish.
There are three rules when it comes to food allergies:
- Offer only a small quantity of any new food, about 1 tablespoon. Double that the second time it's offered. After that, if your baby has no adverse reaction, you can offer that food in larger quantities.
- Wait 3 to 5 days before introducing new foods, and advance them the same way.
- Do not offer meats or proteins (e.g. eggs) before nine months, then add them one at a time as you did with fruits and vegetables.
This page was authored by Dr. Melissa Adams