Infant Nutrition PDF Print Write e-mail
Breast Feeding
 
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of life. This recommendation is based on the knowledge that the biofactors found in human milk protect the infant from infections. Additionally, human milk may protect against a host of diseases including:
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  • Otitis media (middle ear infection)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
Of note, Vitamin D levels in human milk may not be sufficient. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breastfed infants receive 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D each day starting at 2 months of age.


Formula Feeding
 
Infant formula should be provided to the infant if breastfeeding is not initiated. Although infant formula does not completely replicatealt human milk (it does not have the biofactors), ingredients are based on the nutrient profile of human milk.
 
The Infant Formula Act ensures that all commercially available products contain the minimum and maximum amount of essential nutrients. Many varieties and brands of infant formula are available in stores and include:
 
  • Standard cow milk-based formulas
  • Soy formula
  • Protein hydrolysate formulas
  • Amino acid based formulas
Pediatricians determine which type of formula is appropriate for the infant. In most cases, a standard cow milk-based formula is suitable.

Introduction of Solid Foods
 
Solid foods are introduced between four and six months. New foods are introduced one at a time (3 to 5 days apart) in order to rule out allergies.
 
Practical Guidelines for Feeding Infants
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  1. Start with rice cereal and slowly introduce pureed baby foods (3 to 5 days apart).
  2. Introduce a variety of nutrient-rich foods.
  3. Incorporate iron-rich foods, including rice cereal, fortified ready-to-eat cereals.
  4. Do not provide candy.
  5. Do not provide cows milk during the first year of life.
  6. Do not give fruit juice during the first 6 months of life. Infants > 6 months should not consume > 4 oz of juice each day.
For more information regarding nutrition while Breastfeeding consult a Registered Dietitian or  Ask the Experts.