Nov 3, 2014

Dr. Gellner: Feeding your baby step by step, that's what we'll talk about today on Dr. Cindy Gellner, on The Scope.

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Dr. Gellner: We talk about feeding your baby at pretty much ever single visit that you come to with your pediatrician. Quite often we'll talk about the different things that you should be feeding your baby depending on their age. For babies who are 0 to 4 months old, breastfeeding on demand or formula feeding if you're not able to or not wanting to breastfeed, is all that your baby needs. Your baby should not have any solid foods before 4 months old. Their digestive system isn't quite ready for it. Make sure that you're not trying to over feed your child. As long as your child is having six wet diapers or more a day, your baby is getting enough fluids.

Most babies who are between 0 and 1 month old will have about 2 to 4 ounces in their bottle. Usually 2 closer to the first two weeks of life and then they can advance to 4 ounces. Between 1 and 4 months your baby could have anywhere between 3 and 6 or 7 ounces. You want to make sure that your baby is letting you know when they've had enough. When they start not showing as much interest in the bottle or the breast or they're sort of pushing it away, then they're done. Babies will let you know when they're done. Don't make them finish the formula bottle if they don't want to. If you're nursing and the baby is done nursing but you still feel full, go ahead and pump that extra breast milk and store so you can have it later on.

For babies that are 4 to 6 months old, we still recommend for babies who are breastfeeding to just have the breast milk until about 6 months old. If they're formula feeding, sometimes we go ahead and say, you can have baby foods. For babies, we usually say to do rice cereal as one of the first foods. Rice cereal will actually add an iron source to the diet of a breast fed baby. It's important for those. Babies who are formula fed and have rice cereal, that's sometimes, since they both have an iron in them, causes a little bit of constipation. You can back off on the rice cereal for formula fed babies if it's a problem.

For babies who are 4 to 6 months old, we recommend one of the Stage 1 baby foods per day. We want to make sure that you know not to put the baby's cereal or foods in the bottles. They need to be fed on the spoon. We don't recommend putting rice cereals in the bottles to make babies sleep more anymore because it actually was shown not to be a big factor. For babies who are 6 to 9 months old, we recommend doing the Stage 2 foods. They can have two jars a day. Continue to give breast milk and formula but you will notice that your child's liquid content will decrease as their solid intake increases.

When babies start to turn 9 months old, then you'll start introducing table foods. You can have the Stage 3 foods as well three times a day, or you can start giving the table foods. The big thing with the table foods is you want to make sure they are not choking hazard size. You want to make sure that the fruits and vegetables are strained or mashed. If they're having meat, then they're tiny, tiny, tiny pieces of meat or that they're strained chicken or beef or beans. Never give hotdogs to a baby under a year old. Actually you should give hotdogs to anyone that is not able to chew their food really well because that is one of the biggest choking hazards.

As far as sippy cups, most people will try to introduce a sippy cup with breast milk or formula in it around 9 months old. Babies also will take water from a sippy cup but you want to make sure not to have them take too much water. They should only have about 4 ounces of water a day. More than that, and they're going to slow down on all the other things that have more nutritive value.

When your baby gets to be about 8 months old, you want to make sure that they're sitting in a highchair as well, because then they're going to get used to sitting at the table with you. As far as little snacks, those are really good for sitters, so 8 months and up. Make sure that they're the dissolvable kinds, like the puffs, things like that, things that babies can learn how to pick up that helps with their fine motor skills and start feeding themselves little finger foods. But they're not choking hazards as much as crackers and things. You also still want to make sure that you're by your baby at all times whenever you're giving any sort of food.

Babies can also start having yogurt and cheese at about 9 months old as well to start advancing their diet. You do not want babies to have whole milk until they are 12 months old. Continue the formula or breast milk until their first birthday. After they turn 1, you'll want whole milk until they're 2, so that they can have the fat content in the milk for brain development.

Things that you should not give to a baby under the age of 1, anything that's really acidic. That's going to hurt their stomachs, so like orange juice, things like that a lot of babies find they can't handle very well, and honey. Honey can cause a serious disease called botulism in children that are less than 1 year old.

As your child comes in for their well visits as a baby, when it's time for a vaccines and seeing how their growing and everything, they are due to adding. Your pediatrician should talk to you about the types of foods you can add to your child's diet at that time. If you have any questions, feel free to ask your pediatrician. We're always there to help.

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