From breastfeeding to burping, discover your guide to feeding babies
For the first four to six months, feeding babies consists of breastfeeding or formula-feeding. During those months, babies consume breastmilk or formula exclusively. Between four and six months of age, infants may show signs that they are ready for solid foods, in addition to breast milk or formula. Our Plano pediatricians understand that parents have many questions about providing proper nutrition for their babies, so we’ve created this basic feeding guide.
Feeding babies begins at birth with breastfeeding or formula-feeding
Feeding infants starts with breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breast milk exclusively for the first six months of life. However, our Plano pediatricians know that not all mothers breastfeed. Thankfully, today’s baby formulas also provide the proper nutrition that babies need.
Breastfeeding provides benefits to mothers and babies
Mothers who are able or choose to nurse provide their babies with healthy breast milk that contains protective antibodies. Breast milk also contains easily digested nutrients for newborns. Not only that, but breastfeeding also helps moms burn more calories, and it is quick, convenient and economical.
When moms go back to work, pumping and storing breast milk helps them continue to provide their babies with nutrition for the first six months and beyond. Pumping milk also allows dads, siblings and grandparents to participate in feeding babies.
Formula feeding also provides the nutrition babies need
Mothers and fathers who opt for formula feeding also give their babies the nutrition and emotional bonding they require. Bottle-feeding does require some preparation and care with the formula. Parents must follow the directions on the label to ensure the formula is safe and nutritious. Here are some tips for bottle-feeding.
- Discard bottles if they are unrefrigerated for more than one hour.
- Prepared bottles are fine in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before use.
- Heat bottles by running warm water over them or placing them in a pan of warm water, but never microwave them.
What parents should know about burping babies and spitting up
Caregivers need to burp babies after they finish their breastmilk or formula to help get rid of air they swallow while feeding. For the most part, all parents need to do is cup their hand and gently pat their baby on the back, while holding the baby in one of the following positions.
- Upright against parents’ shoulders
- On parents’ laps in a sitting position with head and neck supported
- Across parents’ laps or knees with babies on their bellies
Babies spit up when they swallow too much air, gulp their formula or get too active right after eating. Burping babies more often during feeding is a good way to prevent spitting up.
At about four to six months, babies may be ready for solid food. Parents should talk to our Plano pediatricians when they think it’s time to add solid foods to their infant’s diet. To learn more about feeding babies, contact us for an appointment.
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