The general recommendation about newborns is to feed them
on demand. This means you should breast- or bottle-feed your baby whenever he
or she seems hungry rather than setting a strict schedule. The American Academy
of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends
breast-feeding your baby for at least 1 year, using
breast milk exclusively for the first 6 months. This
means not supplementing your baby's diet with water, formula, juice, cereal, or
other foods. After 6 months, the AAP recommends gradually introducing other
foods to your baby while continuing to breast-feed.
During the first few days or weeks, on-demand
feedings occur every 1 to 3 hours (about 8 to 12 sessions in a 24-hour period)
for breast-fed babies. Formula-fed babies may have slightly fewer feedings,
about 6 to 10 every 24 hours. You may have to wake a sleepy baby to feed in the
first few days after birth.
These early feedings often are short.
Sometimes a newborn nurses or drinks from a bottle for only a few minutes. Over
time, feeding sessions will become longer. You will learn to recognize when
your baby is satisfied with enough milk.
Babies younger than 4 to
6 months should be fed only breast milk or infant formula. Around 6 months of
age, you can gradually introduce solid foods.
Do not give your
baby any milk other than breast milk or infant formula until he or she is 1
year of age. Cow's milk does not contain the amount of fat and iron that very
young babies need to grow and develop properly. Also, cow's milk may contain too
much protein for young babies.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.