What is it?
- Infant nutrition means making sure your baby is getting enough nutrients during his first year. Nutrients are calories, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Making sure your baby has good nutrition can protect him against disease. It also helps him stay healthy as he grows older. Every infant is different. Your baby may need more or less of the items in each food group and may also need a special diet.
- Your baby needs regular check-ups to make sure he is growing properly. Consult your caregiver or dietitian if your child is not gaining weight. They can help you if he has trouble nursing or is not eating enough formula each day. Talk with your caregiver if your baby has diarrhea or vomiting, or can not take breast milk or formula for more than 1 day. This may mean that they are not able to digest the feedings you are giving them.
- The lists below shows the amounts of breast milk, formula, and food that most infants up to 1 year of age need. This feeding plan provides 8 to 15% protein, 35 to 55% fat, and 30 to 50% carbohydrate. This also gives the right amount of calories and protein that your baby needs.
- Try giving one new food to the baby only once every 2-3 days, so you can tell if they digest each one well. When trying new foods that are dry or chewy, such as peanut butter, cheese, or dried beans, watch your infant closely to make sure they don’t choke.
Serving Sizes: Use the serving size list below to measure amounts of food and liquids.
- 1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) of liquid is the size of a soda-pop can.
- 1 cup (8 ounces) of food is the size of a large handful.
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of food is about half of a large handful.
- 2 tablespoons (Tbsp) is about the size of a large walnut.
- 1 tablespoon (Tbsp) is about the size of the tip of your thumb (from the last crease).
- 1 teaspoon (tsp) is about the size of the tip of your little finger (from the last crease).
DAILY SERVINGS FOR AN INFANT DIET
- Breast milk or infant formula: Breast milk or infant formula are the only nourishment needed by most healthy babies until they are 4-6 months old. Cow’s milk or other dairy products should not be given until at least one year of age. Your baby’s kidneys cannot handle the high protein and mineral content well until that age.
- 0-3 months: 18-32 ounces
- 4-6 months: 28-40 ounces
- 7-9 months: 24-36 ounces
- 10-12 months: 18-30 ounces
- Cereals and other starchy foods: Rice infant cereal is the only grain suggested before six months of age. Other cereal grains such as wheat, barley, and oats can be given after 6 months of age.
- 0-3 months: None
- 4-6 months: 1/4-1/2 cup cereal (mixed)
- 7-9 months: 1-2 1/2 cup servings, including mashed potatoes, pasta, rice, breads, crackers, toast, rolls, soft muffins
- 10-12 months: 3-4 1/2 cup servings
- 0-3 months: None
- 4-6 months: 1/4-1/2 cup, pureed
- 7-12 months: 1/2-1 cup pureed, canned, or soft fresh fruits, such as bananas
- 0-4 months: None
- 5-8 months: 1/4-1/2 cup
- 9-12 months: 1/2 cup
- Meat, poultry, eggs, fish, cooked dried beans, peanut butter
- 0-5 months: None
- 6-8 months: 1-2 Tbsp pureed
- 9-12 months: 1/4-1/2 cup (include cottage and regular cheese, fish, eggs, small pieces of tender meats, or chopped meats.)
- Plain yogurt
- 0-5 months: None
- 6-12 months: 1-2 Tbsp/day after 6 months of age
- Water: Most infants get the water they need from breast milk, formula, or juices. In very hot climates though, they may need 1/2 to 1 cup a day to make up losses.
- 0-5 months: Not needed except during very hot weather, or if baby has diarrhea.
- 6-12 months: As often as infant will drink.
SUPPLEMENTS FOR INFANTS: Check with your doctor or caregiver before giving supplements on the list below to your baby. Their needs will depend on their diet.
- From 4 to 12 months infants need about 1 milligram (mg) per kilogram (2.2 pounds body weight), or 10 mg per day at the most.
- Include all formulas and cereals in daily iron intake.
- Vitamin D
- May be needed if baby is not exposed to sunlight.
- 300 IU per day for 0-6 months
- 600 IU per day for 6-12 months
- May be needed if water supply is low in fluoride.
- Check with you care giver for dosage of fluoride and the name of the product to buy.
- Vitamin B12
- May be needed by babies of vegan (strict vegetarian) mothers.
- Check with your caregiver for the dosage and the product to buy.
You have the right to help plan your child’s care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your child’s dietary health. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care will be used to treat your child.