Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nutrition Pocket Guide for Infants

Every infant has unique nutritional needs that should be given for optimal growth, development and health. Therefore, a general month-to-month infant feeding guide would really come in handy even though consulting your pediatrician to make sure that your infant is getting what he or she needs is a must. Now, to make it easier, fluids are measured in your new pocket guide are given in mL which would be helpful because most baby bottles in Lebanon follow this measurement unit and other foods are usually given in tbsp, meaning tablespoons found in every Lebanese household.
Photo credit: Babycare.hoopos.com

From Birth to 3 months 
  • Breast milk is the best and nutritious food you can give your infant in this stage. In fact, the American academy of pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and that breastfeeding continues for at least 12 months. So for the 1st month, breastfeed 10 to 12 feedings per 24 hours in the 1st month and 8 to 10 feedings per 24 hours in the 2nd and 3rd months. And yes, it’s ok to wake up your baby and feed him; it’s not a good sign if he sleeps the night away.
  • Now, if you chose to give him an infant formula, let it be an iron fortified one.
    From birth till 1 month: 500-680 mL
    From 1 to 2 months: 600-780 mL
    From 2 to 3 months: 680-900 mL
  • No cereals, breads, juices, fruits, vegetables, proteins and water should be given in this period of time.

From 4 to 6 months
In this stage, the ability to swallow non-liquid foods start to develop and chewing action slightly begins.
  • If you are breastfeeding, 7-9 feedings in 24 hours would be good.
  • If you are using and iron fortified infant formula:
    From 4 to 5 months: 700-1100 mL
    From 5 to 6 months: 750- 1250 mL
  • In this period, you can introduce iron fortified infant cereal given by spoon. Start by 2 to 4 tbsp of infant cereal mixed with breast milk, formula or water twice per day.
  • And as well, no juices, vegetables, fruits, protein and water should be given.

From 6 to 8 months
Your baby now is able to feed himself foods in the shape of fingers; introducing a cup would a smart move too.
  • Breastfeeding is now about 4 to 6 feedings in 24 hours and if you are giving your baby an iron fortified infant formula, offer 680-900 mL in a cup.
  • As for breads and cereals. All varieties of plain boxed infant cereal could be given twice a day, 2 to 4 tbsp. You could also start to introduce dry unsweetened cereals or toasts, 1 piece twice a day.
  • Moreover, 100% fruit juices could be offered in a plastic child size cup, 28-60 mL twice a day. You may want to remove the pulp to avoid any choking.
  • Vegetables such as mashed zucchini, peas, green beans, carrots, potatoes and spinach could be given: 2 tbsp, twice a day.
  • Also, fresh or cooked mashed fruits like bananas, cooked apples and jarred fruits could be given to your baby in 2 tbsp, twice a day.
  • Now to talk about protein foods, meats or poultry should be well cooked, plain and chopped into very small pieces given in 1 to 2 tbsp twice a day. Plain yogurt would also be a good source of protein and could be given as 1 to 2 tbsp a day.
  • As for water, well yes, you start giving your baby water when food is introduced into his diet. Around 200 mL could be given in a plastic cup twice per day.

From 8 to 10 months
In this period of time, your baby’s feeding skills develop. He could start holding his own bottles and he more capable of reaching for and grabbing food and spoons.
  • As you can notice, breast milk is gradually being decreased in your infant’s diet; just as other foods are being introduced category by category and more specifically, type by type. From 8 till 10 months, offer breast milk around 4 feedings in 24 hours and if you are offering infant formula, 680 to 900 mL would be good.
  • At this stage, soft breads, soft rolls, unsweetened dry cereal or plain muffins could be given in 2-3 small servings as well as all varieties of infant cereals.
  • 100% fruit juices are still offered in the same amount as before and yes, in plastic child sized cups is best.
  • In addition, just like before cooked and mashed vegetables could be given but in this stage, you can introduce soft bite sized pieces of veggies.
  • Fruits also take a step up now. You could offer 3-4 tbsp, twice per day of peeled, soft, fresh fruits, or fruits canned in water or juice such as pears and peaches, and soft bite size pieces not just mashed. Note that seeds could cause choking for your baby so it’s best to avoid fruits like strawberries, grapes and kiwis.
  • As a protein source, you could offer 2-3 tbsp of well cooked moist bite size pieced of meat, poultry and fish, cooked beans, egg yolk and wrapped pasteurized cheeses.
  • As for water, 200 mL is considered to be enough.

From 10 to 12 months
Your baby now is starting to be the master of the spoon!
  • Breastfeed about 3 times per day or offer around 450-680 mL of infant formula in a cup.
  • In addition to unsweetened dry cereal, toast, bread, plain muffins, you can now add rice and noodles in about 2 to 3 small servings.
  • As for fruits and vegetables, give your child 120 mL of 100 % fruit juice, ½ cup of cooked mashed and soft bite sized vegetables and ½ cup of peeled, soft, fresh or canned, bite size pieces fruits with no seeds. Note that, it would be a great idea if you divide these portions around the day; that is, ¼ cup of vegetables and lunch and another ¼ cup at dinner or ¼ fruits as an afternoon snack and another after dinner. Don’t force a lot of food quantity at the same time, scatter it around the whole day!
  • Now, in addition of proteins your infant can eat, strips of tender lean meats, chicken, fish, and ground chopped meats and cheese strips could be given. Around ½ cup per day is good.
  • And add 200 mL of water.

Most importantly, consider what your baby asks for. If he needs more water, then offer some more. This is not a strict dietary program; it is as flexible as you want it to be. Just make sure to maintain a healthy non fatty, non sugary diet. And no matter if you see other mothers do it or not, there are some foods that cannot be given to babies, such as:
  • Firm and slippery foods: hot dogs, sausages, peanuts, hard candy, corn syrup, jelly beans, whole beans, whole grapes, strawberries, cherries, whole pieces of canned fruits.
  • Small, dry, hard foods: popcorn, nuts, seeds, raw carrots, hard vegetables or fruits, potato chips, cookies
  • Sticky foods: peanut butter, raisins, dried fruits, chewing gum, large chunks or tough meats, caramel, marshmallows.
  • Fatty/sugary foods: sweet drinks, sodas, candies, deli, cakes, bacon, fries
  • Honey. Yes it is a category on its own because it shouldn’t be given to children under the age of one since it may contain harmful bacteria.
Bon Appetite!

Brought to You by Paty M! You can also find this published in Moms and to Be Magazine.


  1. I'm a new mom this is wow! Could u put shi about breastfeeing??

  2. There you go, i just posted about perfecting your breastfeeding techniques :) http://patymsnutritionworld.blogspot.com/2011/05/perfecting-breastfeeding-technique.html