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Babies: A Nutrition and Development Guide

From newborns to 1-year-olds, learn what babies should be eating and what milestones they should be reaching in the first year of life.

By
Sanaz Majd, MD,
July 19, 2013
Episode #128

Page 1 of 4

Babies are such precious gifts.  Nothing beats their smiling faces when they first greet you in the morning, when their eyes light up when you surprise them with a new toy, or when you witness their first roll or few steps. 

But it can also be quite stressful when you realize the amount of responsibility you bear when you bring another being into this world.  What do you feed them? When can you start filling their bellies up with anything other than milk? When do they start rolling? Sitting up? Walking and talking? 

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There’s seemingly an endless list of questions that arise when caring for an infant.  Most of the questions I receive from parents are about nutrition and development.  So I thought it would be an informative episode for some new (and even guru) parents to provide some general guidelines in regards to these two topics. But please remember that every child is truly different. I urge you to discuss everything with your doctor to see what is right for your child specifically.

Newborns

The newborn period is really one of the sweetest, most precious times in your children’s lives…and also often one of the most tiring.  If you’ve cared for a newborn, you know that their nutritional requirements are one of the most exhausting to keep up with.  They are mostly doing two things as a newborn – sleeping (about 16-20 hour per day, for up to 4 hours at a time), and feeding when they’re not sleeping, about every 2-4 hours.  If there is an issue with weight gain, your doctor may ask you to awaken the baby every 2-3 hours to feed, which is no easy task for sleep-deprived parents. Most babies will lose about 10% of their birth weight during that first week of life, but will regain it by the second week.

Wait a minute, how could I forget the third most popular newborn activity – diaper changing!  For the first week of life, the number of wet diapers typically equals to the number of days old the baby is – so for a 3-day-old, it’s about 3 wet diapers per day.  Bowel movements are at least once daily.  Having good wet diapers and bowel movements are one potential indication that a baby is receiving appropriate nutrition (but weight checks are also important).

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