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.
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What to feed them? Definitely no solids or water at this stage please. And no cow’s milk until age one. Breast is best. Formula lacks those precious antibodies that you pass off to your baby’s immune system. But of course it’s not always feasible. For some mothers, problems with breastfeeding can be an obstacle, especially in the first month (which I will address in a future episode). But just remember: any amount of breast milk is helpful and better than none.
Infants of about 2 months old are downing about 4-6 ounces of milk about 5 times a day. Still no water or solids are recommended. Their gut is changing, and at this stage, it’s common to find that some babies may be stooling less frequently (even up to every 2-3 days). However, if the stool is hard or the baby is straining, it may be a sign of constipation. Average weight gain at this stage is about 20 grams/day.
2-month-olds start to show a social smile – so get your cameras ready! They also are able to follow you past the midline, and raise their heads off the floor about 45 degrees at “tummy time” (an important activity to perform promote proper motor development). They can also grasp your fingers, which is a particularly sweet experience.
Don’t forget your 2 month well-child visit and vaccines!
These hungry babies feed about 5-7 ounces about 5 times a day, still gaining about 20 grams a day. At this stage, you can introduce rice cereal (mixed with milk), but milk should still be the primary nutrition for this age. Introduce the rice cereal gradually – start with one teaspoon twice a day. Still, no water or other solids are recommended. This is because 4-month-olds are typically growing rapidly, and their nutritional requirements are best met with breast milk or formula.
These babies are now starting to give back – your hard work is finally being rewarded with more interaction from your baby! At this age, babies now can vocalize, coo, and even laugh! They can bring their hands together, put toys in their mouth, and follow you 180 degrees. They also can typically sit with a steady head when held. They may also sleep up to 8 hours at a time, but perhaps not yet through the whole night just yet (if yours does, consider yourself very lucky!).
Don’t forget to make your 4-month-old well-child appointment that include vaccines.