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This one is about: Feeding Your Baby from Birth to Age 1

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I am forwarding some information from a Dr. who consults for our department (Division of Children and Family Services - CPS) and occasionally puts out some advice/information for social workers in response to questions submitted to her.  The attached item talks about what foods should babies be getting when (months of age) and which foods should not be given.  I thought some of you might be interested in it.  Since the children we typically deal with are placed in foster care, she is talking from that viewpoint; the information would pertain to any babies birth to age 1.  Obviously, infants who are with their birth parents may be breastfed.

What is a normal diet for a baby from birth to one year of age entering foster care?

Since almost all of our infants in foster care are there because of reasons that eliminate breast feeding by the mother (and since “wet nurses” are hard to find these days) formula is always the first answer.  The progression through the year looks like this…..

                                        Newborn – 4-6 months…

Standard iron fortified formulas only.  Similac with iron, Enfamil with iron, or Good Start are examples.  These formulas have stood the test of
time.   Newborns are fed on demand and this usually works out to 3-4 ounces every 2-3 hours.  Over time, the volume and the time between feeds increases.  The baby’s behavior and cues make this happen usually.  The usual formula maximum is 32 ounces in 24 hours.  And, formula is to be used until one year of age.  Also, all formula has the full vitamin content needed and the only additional supplement would be fluoride if it’s not in the water.

Other formulas such as soy (Isomil, Prosobee) or specialized ones, are only to be used for special conditions which should be discussed with the PCP, nutritionist or WIC.

Regular cow’s milk is never used in the first year because it does not digest.

Juice is not to be given at this age unless prescribed by the PCP for constipation.

Water is only given if the baby may be losing water secondary to hot weather or some other situation.

Cereals and solids are not given at this age.

The bottle should never be propped or given in bed, and should never be heated in the microwave (the formula gets too hot, but the bottle may not feel hot).

                                       4-6 months…

Baby cereals can be begun, specifically, rice, oats and barley.  These should be fed in a spoon (not a bottle) and after formula.

This begins the MESSY phase.  Be prepared.

                                       5-7 months…

Baby (stained and pureed) fruits and vegetables can start now.  New foods should be added one at a time with 5-7 days before the next one.
Feeding should never be forcing and baby cues such as turning away , bubble blowing, and out and out hitting the spoon are signs of being done.

Now it’s messy and colorful.

                                       6-8 months…

Now strained meats and beans, cottage cheese,  and egg yolks can be added.

                                       7-9 months…

Baby wheat and mixed cereals can be added.  The point of all of the gradual additions and exposures to different foods is to avoid allergies and sensitivities.  Also mashed fruits and vegetables, and soft cheeses can be added.

And now comes the best part…finger foods (or, how cheerios and avocado got in her ear).  This does include chunks of peeled soft fruit and vegetables, cheerios, crackers and toast pieces, and small tender pieces of meat or tofu.

This does not include chips, nuts, seeds, popcorn or gum.

                                       8-9 months…

Cup feeding begins and can be formula, juice or water.  This was the era when I wished that I had an indoor garden hose and that my kitchen floor was concrete and sloped to a drain in the middle.

                                       10-12 months…

Finger foods and self feeding and fish and whole eggs can be added.  At 12 months formula stops and should be replaced by WHOLE cow’s milk until age 2 years.  Babies actually need the good fat in whole cow’s milk.  Weaning from the bottle to the cup should occur from 12-15 months.

Babies should NEVER have…

Honey (even organic) because of botulism.
Salted foods, spices or soy sauce, etc. (They hate cayenne).
Alcohol (even Bud Lite).
Caffeine (even Seattle babies).
Pop, kool aid, Red Bull.
Chronic juice or chocolate milk in a bottle.
Chokers..chips, corn, candy (especially Gobstoppers…they will stop your
gob), raw peas, apples, celery, and carrots, raisins, popcorn, and please,
no hot dogs.
Take home message….

-All mealtimes should be with people sitting down (the car doesn’t count),
relaxed and happy. Believe it or not, kids and babies get more and healthier
calories this way.

-Messy is good.  This is a Montessouri mealtime….food is not only for eating
but for experiencing with all of your senses.

-Forcing, bribing, tricking and punishing are not good.

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