Newborn NutritionYour baby will get all of his nutrition from breast milk or an iron fortified infant formula until he is four to six months old. There is no need to supplement with water, juice or cereal at this time. He will probably be eating every two to six hours and if feeding on-demand and following your baby's cues remember that not all cries are 'hunger-cries' and you may have to set some limits (for example, not allowing him to feed every hour).
Most breastfeeding babies will eat for 10-15 minutes on each breast (although you shouldn't time your feedings) every 1 1/2 to 3 hours and bottle feeding babies will take 2-3 ounces every 2-4 hours. By 4-8 weeks, your baby will likely be on a more predictable schedule.
Your newborn will spend most of his time either sleeping or eating. At first, wake your baby for a feeding if he is sleeping for more than four to five hours. Later, if he is gaining weight well, you can let him sleep as long as he likes. Remember that a newborn should usually breastfeed about 8-12 times a day. He will probably not begin to sleep through the night until he is three to four months old.
Feeding practices to avoid are giving a breastfed baby a bottle before he is 4-6 weeks old, putting the bottle in bed or propping the bottle while feeding, putting cereal in the bottle, feeding honey, introducing solids before 4-6 months, or heating bottles in the microwave.
Also, avoid the use of low iron formulas, which are nutritionally inadequate to meet the needs of a growing infant. These types of infant formula do not contain enough iron and will put your child at risk for developing iron deficiency anemia (which has been strongly associated with poor growth and development and with learning disabilities). Iron fortified formulas do not cause colic, constipation or reflux and you should not switch to a low iron formula if your baby has one of these problems. For more information on your baby's nutrition:
- Pumping and Storing Breast Milk
- Breastfeeding Goals
- Breastfeeding Tips
- Breastfeeding Time
- Infant Formula
- Frequent Feedings and Fussy Babies
- When to Give a Baby Juice
- Water for Babies and How Advice Changes Over Time
- New Baby Daily Logs
- Breastfeeding Quiz
- Is My Baby Getting Enough Breastmilk?
- Vitamin D Update
Newborn Growth and DevelopmentYour baby will probably have regained most or all of the weight that he lost in his first week. At this age, you can expect your baby to look at your face, startle with loud noises, lift his head and begin to smile spontaneously. He may even begin to recognize familiar objects and sounds.
If using a pacifier, try and restrict its use to when your baby seems to need the self-comforting behavior of sucking. Avoid using it every time your baby cries (it is usually better to pick and hold your baby to comfort him when he is crying) and to be safe, use a one-piece commercial pacifier and do not hang it around your baby's neck.
Remember that all babies are unique and they have different temperaments. Many are quite and calm, while others are very active and some are very sensitive and get fussy easily (and may need less stimulating environments to stay calm). Try and keep your babies temperament in mind as you react to his needs. For more information on your new baby's growth and development: