The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that malnutrition impacts more than 2 billion people worldwide. Unfortunately, infants are the population most vulnerable to undernourishment.
As a first time mother, you know infant nutrition is critical to raising a healthy, happy child. But with so many new events happening in your life, we know it’s hard to keep up with all the recommendations and guidelines around feeding time.
We want to make your life a little easier, and that’s why we’ve compiled all the top newborn nutrition tips in this handy guide. Check them out below!
The Top Infant Nutrition Guidelines
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends feeding newborns breastmilk or fortified infant formula exclusively for the first six months. This is because breastmilk and some formulas are the best sources of nutrition for growing babies.
Wait to introduce formula to your baby’s diet for the first few days after birth. If you’re having trouble getting your newborn to latch, speak to your pediatrician about introducing formula earlier.
We’ll talk more about how to choose the best formula for your baby below but, first, let’s go over some additional guidelines for feeding your newborn.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Infants
Mothers exclusively breastfeeding their infants don’t always realize that babies need more vitamins and minerals than what breastmilk provides alone. If your infant only or partially feeds on breastmilk, you need to add a vitamin D and iron supplement.
From birth, breastfeeding babies should supplement with 400 IUs of vitamin D per day. Add 1 mg of a liquid iron supplement per kilogram of your baby’s weight to his or her diet beginning at 4 months.
You should also incorporate supplements if your baby drinks less than 32 ounces of formula per day or is receiving half of their meals from breastmilk.
Your baby won’t need to supplement if he or she only or primarily drinks infant formula. The best baby formulas come pre-fortified with these vital nutrients. Drinking 32 ounces or more of infant formula per day is adequate to get enough iron and vitamin D.
Vegan and vegetarian mothers may also need to supplement certain B vitamins. We ingest B vitamins from meat products, and they’re essential to a growing baby’s diet. Talk to your physician about the right vitamin B supplement for you and baby.
How Much Should You Feed Your Infant?
No baby is the same when it comes to how much and how often you should feed them. Let your infant’s hunger cues lead feeding sessions. In general, though, the amount your baby eats depends on his or her stage of development.
Newborns don’t need much milk, but your baby will want to feed every one to three hours. If you’re feeding your newborn infant formula, give him or her about 1–2 ounces per feeding. Healthy breastfeeding babies will eat until they’re full.
As your baby grows, he or she will want more breastmilk per meal. Your baby may not want to feed as often now, maybe every two to four hours. In twenty-four hours, the average week to a month-year-old baby feeds 8 to 12 times.
A 6–12-month-old baby should start to feed less often, especially as he or she starts to reach for solid foods. By now, you may only need to feed your baby milk 5 to 6 times in twenty-four hours.
When to Introduce Solid Foods
Infant nutrition experts recommend waiting to introduce solid foods until your baby is 6 months old. Your baby will still rely mostly on breastmilk and formula as the primary nutrient source during this weaning period. Add whole foods to the diet gradually.
Foods to incorporate in your 6-month old’s diet include:
- Infant cereals
- Chopped up fruits and colorful veggies
- Fortified baby food
At 12 months old, many parents start feeding their children cow’s milk. Your baby will slowly begin to transition from breastmilk and formula to a diet of whole foods and dairy milk between the ages of 12 months and two years.
Remember that the decision about when to stop feeding your child infant formulas and breastmilk is 100% your own — there is no “right” answer to when to stop breastfeeding.
Most experts recommend feeding your baby milk for at least 1 year. Some children will continue to breastfeed up to 7 years of age.
How to Choose the Best Baby Formulas
The best infant formulas are organic and fortified with vitamin D and iron. Search for products containing 400 IU per liter of vitamin D and 4 to 12 mg of iron. Otherwise, there are five different formula types you can choose from for your baby:
- Cow’s milk formulas
- Soy-based formulas
- Protein hydrolysate formulas
- Lactose-free formulas
- Goat’s milk formulas
Cow’s milk formula is highly nutritious, well-tolerated by most infants, and the closest to real breastmilk. These formulas contain protein, lactose, minerals, and added nutrients for a complete newborn diet.
Some infants experience food allergies to dairy-based formulas. If this happens to your newborn, a lactose-free, soy-based, or hypoallergenic formula can help. Soy formulas are also excellent options for babies on vegan diets.
Another option for newborns who don’t tolerate cow’s milk is a goat’s milk formula. Goat’s milk infant formulas like NANNYcare and Kabrita contain less lactose, allowing for better digestibility and a lower likelihood of an allergic reaction.
Why Organic Infant Formula Is the Best Choice for Your Baby
Organic infant formula is always preferable to non-organic options. Why? Because, though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors all US-made infant formulas, organic formulas are held to an even higher standard.
Organic formulas are free of toxic pesticides, GMOs, preservatives, added flavors, and other additives. Choosing an organic option will minimize exposure to harmful chemicals. This is especially important if you feed your baby formula exclusively.
Your One-Stop-Shop for the Best Organic Infant Formulas
Breastmilk and organic infant formulas are the most critical part of your newborn’s diet. While cow’s milk formulas are the closest you can get to breast milk, some babies tolerate goat’s milk formula or lactose-free options better.
Have you been searching for one place to fulfill all your infant nutrition needs? Formuland is your one-stop-shop for the best baby formulas like HiPP, Holle, and more. Browse our products to find the organic formula that’s right for baby and you!