Mother breastfeeding her baby

Breastmilk 

The CDC has reported that black infants are 15% less likely to have ever been breastfed compared to white infants. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition, it is free, and has many health benefits to the mother and baby. The mothers health and diet can alter the nutritional properties of the breast milk. Eating healthy, exercising and refraining from harmful substances can provide your child with optimal nutritional properties.

Infants who are breastfed have lower risks of: 

  • Asthma 
  • Obesity 
  • Ear infections 
  • Sudden infant death syndrome 
  • Type 1 diabetes 
  • Mothers who breastfeed have lower risks of: 
  • Breast cancer 
  • Ovarian cancer 
  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Visit CDC’s Breastfeeding page for information on proper storage and preparation of breastmilk. Other services include resources and information on breastfeeding.
  • WIC Breastfeeding Support offers resources and information at different stages of breastfeeding. Whether you are trying to learn, start, overcome, or thrive visit the website for more information. Other services that WIC offers to support breastfeeding includes: 
  • Designated breastfeeding expert 
  • Peer counselors  
  • Buddy program 
  • Find out if you are eligible here

 

Formula  

Breast milk might be the best source of nutrition for a newborn, however there are many factors that contribute to a parent’s choice in choosing formula. Formula can also provide nutritional benefits to your child and is formulated to mimic the nutritional properties of breast milk.

  • Choosing an infant formula can be very overwhelming with the various types and brands out there. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends iron-fortified formula is appropriate for babies up to 12 months of age. There are 3 major classes of formulas:
  • Cow-milk based formula
  • Soy- based formula
  • Specialized formula 
  • Note: Soy-based formula is typically used when the infant has an lactose intolerant.
  • If you are unsure about what formula is best for your baby, talk with your child’s healthcare provider to find the best one that will fit their needs. 
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics has a website healthychildren.org that provides information on choosing an infant formula, formula feedings, formula buying tips and more. 
  • Visit CDC How to Prepare and Store Powdered Infant Formula for more information on formula preparation and storing basics. 

 

Feeding  Schedule

Newborn’s stomachs are very tiny; therefore, it doesn’t need much to feel full. As they grow, their stomachs get bigger and the amount of milk they need increases. Below are General Guidelines for Baby Feeding:  

  • Newborns: eat every 2-3 hours (or 8-12 times every 24 hours) 
  • For formula, each feeding should be 1-2 ounces. If your baby is showing signs of hunger give a little bit more. 
  • If a newborn is sleeping for more than 4 hours, they should be woken up and offered breastmilk or formula 
  • 2 months: 4-5 ounces every 3-4 hours 
  • 4 months: 4-6 ounces per feeding 
  • 6 months: 8 ounces every 4-5 hours 
  • 6-12 months: Solid foods are introduced during this time and amount of formula and breast milk can be decreased 
  • It is important to note that the goal is not a strict feeding schedule for your newborn or infant. Pay attention to your baby’s cues to indicate if they are full or hungry. They will eventually fall into their own feeding schedule needed for their growing bodies. Overfeeding can cause babies to have stomach pains, gas, spit ups and have a higher risk for obesity later in life. One recommendation to avoid overfeeding and underfeeding is responsive feeding: 

 

Responsive feeding has many benefits for a growing baby. Practicing responsive feeding can: 

  • Help your baby develop healthy eating habits 
  • Lower your baby’s risk of becoming obese or overweight later in life 
  • Make feedings easier 
  • Be a great time to bond with your baby 
  • One of the reasons a baby cries is due to hunger. However, a crying baby can be difficult to calm down and feed. Babies show hunger cues before they resort to crying for feeding. Below are typical hunger cues: 
  • Baby puts hands to mouth 
  • Licking lips, sucking noises 
  • Turns head towards breast or bottle 
  • Clenches hands 
  • It is important to, while breastfeeding and formula feeding, not to force your baby to finish feeding. Below are some cues to indicate that they are full: 
  • Baby releases breast or bottle 
  • Baby turns away from breast or bottle 
  • Relaxes hands 
  • Over time your child will show other signs of hunger and fullness. You can practice responsive feeding with breastmilk, formula or when introducing solid foods. 
  • The United States of Agriculture provides a guide for use in the WIC program called the Infant Nutrition and Feeding. The guide provides in-depth information on nutrition needs of infants, development and infant feeding skills, breastfeeding, infant formula feeding, complementary foods and more. 

 

Introduction to Solid Foods

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children be introduced to solid foods starting at 6 months. However, you can begin introducing your child to solid foods earlier (about 4 months) if your baby:

  • Is able to hold their head upright on their own
  • Reaches or shows interest in your food
  • Able to bring objects to their mouth
  • Grasps small objects
  • Able to swallow
    • Introduction of solid foods is about establishing and maintaining good eating habits for your baby that is rich in nutrients. Taste preferences begin to develop during this time as you introduce new foods. Avoid feeding infants food and beverages with added sugars (fruit juice, sugar in cereal, ect.). It is important to note that the introduction of solid foods should be complementary and not a replacement for breast milk or formula. Infants only need a few spoonfuls. 
      • Below are great first foods to start with for spoon-feeding:
  • Cereal. Infant cereals that are single-grain and iron-enriched. Check the label to ensure that it is single-ingredient. 
  • Vegetables. Either smashed up or pureed to have a smooth consistency.
  • Fruits. Digestible fruits include finely mashed bananas, baby applesauce, peaches and pears.
  • Avoid feeding infant cereal or solid foods through a bottle.
        • Gradually introduce new foods one by one. 
    • Foods to avoid until baby is 1 year
      • Honey contains a bacteria that is harmful to infants and can cause infantile botulism that can cause difficulties in eating and breathing.
  • Cow’s milk and soy milk. Children under 1 year have a hard time digesting the contents in cow’s milk and soy milk.
Center For Health Equity Transformation

Center For Health Equity Transformation

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