Your baby will get all of his nutrition from breast milk or an iron fortified infant formula until he is four to six months old. There is no need to supplement with water, juice or cereal at this time. He will probably be eating every two to six hours and if feeding on-demand and following your baby's cues remember that not all cries are hunger-cries' and you may have to set some limits (for example, not allowing to feed every hour).
Most breast feeding babies will eat for 10-15 minutes on each breast every 1 1/2 to 3 hours and formula feeding babies will take 2-3 ounces every 2-4 hours. By 4-8 weeks your baby should be on a more predictable schedule.
Feeding practices to avoid are giving a breastfed baby a bottle before he is 4-6 weeks old, putting the bottle in bed or propping the bottle while feeding, putting cereal in the bottle, feeding honey, introducing solids before 4-6 months, heating bottles in the microwave, or feeding goats milk.
Also, avoid the use of low iron formulas, which are nutritionally inadequate to meet the needs of a growing infant. These types of infant formula do not contain enough iron and will put your child at risk for developing iron deficiency anemia (which has been strongly associated with poor growth and development and with learning disabilities). Iron fortified formulas do not cause colic, constipation or reflux and you should not switch to a low iron formula if your baby has one of these problems.
|In most cases, breast milk is the most perfect food for your baby. Breast milk contains easily digestible proteins, many factors that support your new baby's immature immune system, and other factors that aid in digestion. It is also low in cost and requires no preparation. Breast fed babies are also less likely to have colic, upper respiratory infections, ear infections, constipation, asthma or allergies. And breast feeding will burn up almost 500 of mom's calories each day.
Despite all of these advantages of breast feeding, you should not feel guilty if you decide that you would rather feed your baby formula. There are many formulas available that will provide your baby with good nutrition to promote his growth and development.
See the Breast Feeding Guide for more advice on breastfeeding.