Baby Feeding Guide for Parents: First Three Months

Breast milk or formula feed? 

Cereal or rice?

Store brought baby food or homemade food?

Take elders’ advice or stick to what the internet says?

Have these and many more such questions kept you up at night thinking about what is best for your baby?

This article will give you all the information that you need regarding the newborn feeding schedule as well as an insight as to what to give your child as they embark on their journey of growth with the help of a baby feeding guide.

NEWBORN (0 – 6 MONTHS)

What to give?

Milk Milk Milk. 

That is all you should think about when you say newborn feeding.

For the first 6 months of their life, a baby should be fed only breast milk. Breast milk is nutritious and dynamic and changes according to the child’s requirements. It is also a source of immunoglobulins (antibodies) like IgA that are low in a newborn baby’s blood.

However, if for some reason, a mother is unable to pump enough milk or the baby is not able to suck in enough milk through nipples, you can give formula milk as well. But all types of solid food should be avoided until at least 6 months.

How much Milk should a Newborn Drink?

Every child is different, and so are their food habits. Your child is the best person to tell you what they need. 

The below given newborn feeding schedule highlights the standard amount and feeding times that are expected at this stage.

NEWBORN FEEDING SCHEDULE

AgeIntervals between feeds in 24 hoursAmount (ml)
1 -2 days2 – 314.78
2 weeks2 – 359 – 88
2 months3 – 4118 – 147
4 months4 – 5118 – 177
6 months4 – 5236.5

6 MONTHS – 1 YEAR BABY

Yay! Your baby has crossed the first phase and has entered the next phase of life, where you can start giving solid food to your baby along with breast milk or formula milk. However, the golden rule is to be patient. Don’t rush into giving every kind of food to your baby in one go. The process takes time, and one should stick to one type of food for at least 3-5 days before introducing a new one. 

Studies show that, in general, a baby needs to be given a new food 6–15 times before they can accept it. Introducing one food at a time will also help parents identify the foods that can cause an allergic reaction in their children easily.

Also Read: How Everybody can do Best for their Babies?

What to give?

Now that your baby has completed the first 6 months, their energy requirements have increased, and so does the food intake. Breast milk/formula milk will no longer be sufficient enough to satiate the hunger of your growing child. Solid food can be introduced at this point of time in the form of mashed fruits and vegetables. Care needs to be taken that the food is soft so that the baby can easily chew and swallow it.

Feeding table for infants:

AgeAmount of food to be given at a time in a dayNo. of times in a dayTypes of food
6 months2 – 3 tspTwicePureed fruits like banana, apple, pear, papaya, avocado, etc.Pureed vegetables like carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes etc.
6 – 8 monthsHalf a cup2 – 3 timesAlong with the above-mentioned food items, rice water, clear lentil soup, vegetable broth can be included.
9 – 11monthsHalf a cup3 – 4 timesAt this stage small-bite size pieces of food can be introduced instead of mashed food. Can start introducing animal protein like eggs, meat, fish and poultry. A little oil/fat should also be included in meals.

The above-given feeding table for infants is a guide to the solid foods that should be introduced into the diet of a baby according to the corresponding age. However, you shouldn’t stop feeding breast milk/ formula milk at this point of time. The amount of milk shouldn’t be reduced either, and new foods should be introduced in between meals consisting of breast milk/ formula milk.

Also Read: How Everybody can do Best for their Babies?

What to avoid Including in the Infant Feeding Guide?

  • You should avoid giving honey to infants under one year of age. There have been instances of infant botulism in babies fed with honey that could have been contaminated with the spores of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
  • Do not include sugar and salt in your food.
  • Whole cow’s milk is a complete NO NO before the age of one year.
  • You should avoid giving formula milk that is low in iron, according to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics).

1 YEAR – 3 YEARS

Now that your child has completed his/her first year, they are ready for new adventures and changes in life, which includes changes in the food that they eat as well.

Now is the right time to introduce cow’s milk into their diet. Their intestines are much more prepared for the proteins present in the cow’s milk and can digest it well.

Also, your baby will now try and grab food from your plate, do not stop them, instead encourage them to try new foods. If by any chance they develop rashes, fever, or any allergic reaction, consult your pediatrician and avoid giving that food in the future. But don’t be scared to introduce new foods.

Below is a baby feeding chart that will help a toddler’s parent during meal time.

AgeAmount of food to be given at a time in a dayNo. of times in a dayTypes of foodFoods to avoid
1 – 3 years3/4th – 1 cup3 – 4 times + 1 – 2 snacks in between mealsMilk, dairy, eggs, meat, poultry and fish.Legumes, nuts, fruits and vegetables. (Fruits can be given as a healthy snack). A little amount of oil/fat.Junk food, soft drinks and processed foods like chips and cookies.

What are the Alternatives to Cow’s Milk?

Some alternatives are soy milk, which is the most common alternative. Others include tree nut milk like almond milk and cashew nut milk. rice, oat and hemp milk.

What to do if the Baby is not Ready to Eat?

No matter their age, the problem of your baby refusing to eat may arise at anytime. The best thing to do is to be patient. The introduction of new foods is a challenge for the baby as well as the parents. A baby might dislike the food initially, might throw it up or simply avoid it, but give your baby some time. Don’t force it. In a few days’ time, reintroduce the same food. 

All in all, raising a child needs a lot of patience.  The baby feeding charts given above are a perfect guide to all those parents out there who are looking for answers when it comes to newborn and toddler feeding.

Also, Learn: Essential parenting tips for parents of toddlers