Feeding a newborn and introducing solids will always be great concerns for mothers. New moms are usually confused whether their little ones are hungry or it’s something else they need. They always hear myths about normal baby weight, breastfeeding, and formula milk. This is a complete feeding guide for mothers starting birth and up to 12 months, in addition to a baby feeding chart for each age including frequency and number of feeds and solids introduction.
Feeding during the first 24 hours of birth
Breastfeeding should be initiated within the first hour after birth whenever possible. A naked newborn should be placed in skin-to-skin contact with the mother on her bare chest in a prone position. Skin-to-skin allows your baby to maintain appropriate body temperature and to seek your breast.
In the first 24 hours, infants receive small amounts of colostrum – a thick, yellowish or orangish liquid also known as the first milk – ranging from a few drops to barely 5 ml. However, that small amount is extremely essential in providing the baby with important antibodies and other immunological components that give them protection against many diseases. Colostrum also acts as a laxative to help clean the meconium out of your baby’s digestive tract. Thus, it aids in removing the excess bilirubin resulting from excess red blood cells that can contribute to jaundice.
Healthy full-term infants who nurse eight or more times during the first day will urinate three times and poop about three to four times. This is of course subject to personal differences. Over the next several days to two weeks, the colostrum will gradually change to milk. You will recognize that the breast fluid is turning white.
Baby feeding chart
(breast or formula feeds)
|Amount of formula per feeding||Solid foods|
|Newborn||Every 3-4 hours||60-90 ml||No solid foods.|
|1-3 months||Every 4-6 hours||120-150 ml||No solid foods.|
|3-6 months||Every 4-6 hours||120-240 ml||Introducing solid foods at 4 months is optional after checking with your pediatrician.
At 6 months, you should start with soft foods like soupy one-grain cereals and pureed vegetables and fruits.
The recommended amount is 1 to 4 tablespoons per day, once or twice per day.
|6-9 months||Every 3-4 hours||180-240 ml||4 to 9 tbsp. of cereal, veggies, or fruits in 2-3 meals.
1 to 6 tbsp. of pureed protein.
|9-12 months||Every 6-8 hours||210-240 ml||1/4 to 1/2 cup of cereal, veggies, or fruits twice a day.
1/4 to 1/2 cup of pureed protein.
How can I tell if my baby is hungry?
Mothers are always confused about whether to stick to a feeding schedule or feed according to babies’ hunger cues. If you have a premature baby or one suffering from certain medical conditions, it’s better to follow a feeding schedule by your pediatrician.
However healthy full-term infants can be fed on demand whenever they show a hunger cue. It’s extremely important, when following a schedule, to observe your baby’s weight and your breast milk supply. Sometimes applying a feeding schedule decreases milk production and causes breast engorgement which might lead to a slow weight gain of your baby.
It’s important to know that not every cry means they’re is hungry. Sometimes babies cry seeking comfort or cuddling, or when a diaper is full.
Hunger cues to look for:
|Early cues||The baby is hungry||Stirring, opening mouth, turning head or looking for a nipple|
|Mid cues||The baby is really hungry||Restlessness, sucking fist or licking nipples, stretching|
|Late cues||The baby needs to be calmed
first before feeding
|Crying, agitated body movements, color turning red|
How to know my baby is eating enough?
During the first weeks after birth, there are two main things that can help you know whether your baby is eating enough or not.
- Wet diapers: The number of diaper changes per day is a good indicator of the newborn’s feeding. In the first few days, an infant should have two to three wet diapers per day. After the first four to five days, the baby should have at least five to six wet diapers a day. Stool frequency is variable and depends on the baby’s source of nutrition.
- Growth charts: They are reliable standard methods to make sure your baby is well-fed. At each pediatrician’s visit, the doctor should weigh the child to check his/her weight according to the growth charts. Always remember that a baby’s weight depends on many factors like genetics, gender, mother’s age, mother’s health, habits during pregnancy, and length of pregnancy. You have to know that that regular growth charts don’t apply to premature babies who are born between weeks 24 and 29.
Baby growth chart from 0 to 12 months:
|Age||Baby boy||Baby girl|
|Birth||3.3 kg||3.2 kg|
|1 month||4.5 kg||4.2 kg|
|2 months||5.6 kg||5.1 kg|
|3 months||6.4 kg||5.8 kg|
|4 months||7 kg||6.4 kg|
|5 months||7.5 kg||6.9 kg|
|6 months||7.9 kg||7.3 kg|
|7 months||8.3 kg||7.6 kg|
|8 months||8.6 kg||7.9 kg|
|9 months||8.9 kg||8.2 kg|
|10 months||9.2 kg||8.5 kg|
|11 months||9.4 kg||8.7 kg|
|12 months||9.6 kg||8.9 kg|
Overfeeding usually happens when the baby is formula fed because it’s easier than breastfeeding. Unfortunately, in our society, extra weight in babies is considered a sign of health. However, overfed babies always suffer from stomach pains, gas, spitting up, vomiting. More importantly, they are more likely to struggle with obesity later in life.
A growth spurt is a period in which your baby has an intense growth rate. Each baby experiences a growth spurt at a different time, but growth spurts usually happen at week 3, week 6, 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months. During this period, they want to nurse more frequently, wake up more frequently in the middle of the night or even during naps, and their mood is always cranky.
- Don’t give liquids other than breastmilk or formula milk to your baby before 12 months. Introduce water at 6 months of age, preferably in a sippy cup.
- Don’t put your baby in bed with a bottle in his/her mouth. This has been linked to ear infections, risk of choking, and tooth decay once they are developed.
- Don’t add baby cereals in a bottle as it is a choking hazard.
- Never introduce solids before your baby can hold his/her head up. Introduce one food at a time and stick to it three to five days before introducing a new one. This will helpto spot any allergic reaction. Common first allergic reactions are rash, diarrhea, and vomiting. Never add salt or sugar before your baby is one year old.
- Average Baby Weight In First Year: Month by Month
- When Can Babies Drink Water?
- Checklist: Foods to Avoid For Babies Under 12 Months
Sources used in this article:
- How Often and How Much Should Your Baby Eat? – American Academy of Pediatrics
- Baby Feeding Schedule: A Guide to the First Year – Healthline
- Understanding Baby Growth Spurts – Healthline
- Frequency of Feeding – La Leche League International
- Health – Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Feeding Guide for the First Year – Stanford Children’s Health
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