What and how you feed your baby is important – especially during the first year when he grows so fast. The average baby doubles his birth weight by five months of age and triples his weight by his first birthday. A smaller than average baby often grows even more rapidly. Breast milk or formula is baby’s most important food in the first year, and should be his/her ONLY food the first six months. Talk to your baby’s health care provider about what is best for your baby.
Breastfeeding is recognized as the best choice for most infants by all health professionals.
Advantages to the Baby:
- Fewer allergies
- Fewer gastrointestinal tract diseases
- Fewer respiratory tract diseases
- Less inflammation of the ear
- Lower chance of obesity in childhood
- Creates a special bond between baby and mother
Advantages to the Mother:
- Helps reduce the size of her uterus
- Expends extra calories and, therefore, may help her reduce weight faster
- May lesson the risk of breast cancer
- Delays return of ovulation, but is not a reliable form of birth control
- Messy diapers have a very mild odor
- Creates a special bond between mother and baby
Ask your health care provider if you need help. There are many resources throughout the county to help you with successful breastfeeding.
Infant formula is available in ready to feed, liquid or powder that you mix with water. If you choose to formula feed, talk to your health care provider to find out which formula is right for your baby. Follow your health care provider’s instructions for preparing formula and sterilizing equipment. Make only enough formula to last one day. Warm the formula in the bottle in a small pan of water on the stove. Do not boil. Never use a microwave to warm formula. When feeding your baby, tilt the bottle so the nipple is completely filled with formula. Hold your baby while feeding; never prop the bottle. Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle.
Ask your baby’s health care provider about when and how to introduce your baby to solids.
Information provided in part by: Cooperative Extension Service University of Kentucky College of Agriculture