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Ultimate Month-to-Month Baby Feeding Guide

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When you’re a new mama, every decision feels like a life or death situation. Will this bottle cause nipple confusion? (What is nipple confusion?!) When can I give my baby her first bowl of rice? Is she choking, or just gagging? It can be exhausting, and even meeting a need as basic and natural as feeding can seem massively complex.

Fear not, mamas. We’ve broken down how to feed your infant, month by month, including timeless tips, modern recipes, new research, and reminders that you are doing a really great job. Whether you’re breastfeeding, following baby-led weaning, or just trying to figure out how to use that bottle steriliser, we’ve got you covered.

Feeding Guide 1

But first, six important things to keep in mind as you feed your baby:

  • You paediatrician should provide you with primary, high-level information on nutrition for children. Consider the ideas that follow in light of what you and your doctor agree works best for your family.
  • Every culture’s approach to eating and food, especially babies and food, is unique. This guide is primarily a Western approach (the specific feeding suggestions are based on Johns Hopkins Medical advice). There are many ways to approach feeding within the context of your own culture, but why not consider some of the interesting practices of someone else’s? You just never know what might click for you.
  • Research on hot-button issues like food allergens is rapidly changing some long-held infant feeding practices. Gone are the days of mandatory rice cereal and peanut butter bans, but keeping abreast of the latest news is important and worthwhile. Pay attention. (See: Work with a doctor who knows how to communicate on this stuff!)
  • Listen to your gut, and watch your baby’s gut. If baby isn’t responding well to a new food, or a new feeding practice, watch her cues and adapt.
  • Just because a banana is your dream breakfast doesn’t mean your child will love it — be flexible and don’t take it personally when the tot rejects your gourmet purees.
  • Relax! Humans have been fumbling through feeding their babies for millennia, and as long as you’re approaching it with a little information and a lot of loving patience, you’re both going to be perfectly fine.

As for how you feed your baby, each family has to make its own healthy choice about breastfeeding or bottle-feeding (which is usually baby’s exclusive diet for the first six months — more on that later). And just like everything else in life, other people will have an opinion.

Our best advice: Listen to your body, your baby, and your instincts, and make a decision without regret. Breastfeeding is an amazing opportunity to nourish and bond with your baby, of course. Bottle-feeding is also a modern miracle that works beautifully for many families. It’s a privilege to have a choice at all, and we at Sassy Mama like to celebrate that.

bottle feeding_month by month guide

Month 1

Welcome to motherhood! You’ve made it through delivery, maybe even a C-section, and a hospital stay. And although you may be taking advantage of postnatal services from a confinement nanny, a Jamu lady, your helper or your own family, when it comes to feeding, the buck often stops with mama. The good news is that there is a ton of support available as you get the hang of this!

How much and how often should baby eat?

Breastfed newborns typically eat at least every two hours for the first few weeks of life. That means it could be twelve times a day, maybe more. It feels constant, because it practically is. Hang in there!

Bottle-fed babies will eat one to three ounces every three to four hours — usually a little less frequently than breastfed babes, since it takes longer to digest formula.

Tips for the first month:

  • Learn how to mix the perfect bottle of formula.
  • Kelly Mom is like the breastfeeding bible. No nursing stone has been left unturned here.
  • If you will be pumping at home and portability is not essential, the efficiency of the Medela Symphony cannot be beat. And when it comes to pumping, the faster it goes, the better, we think. Check out a variety of options from Pupsik Studio, or rent directly from your hospital’s maternity ward.
  • Learn to watch for the early hunger cues in baby — rooting and lip smacking are the big ones — and you’ll stave off some major meltdowns.
  • Brown’s bottles are immensely popular, as are Tommee Tippee products. Many more brands are available, but these two are among the easiest to find in Singapore (Comotomo all the way! -Ed.)Mothercare and Motherswork both have a great selection.
  • Look into a baby formula delivery service and never run out in the middle of the night again!
  • Master the art of burping. (And, yes, it’s an art form!)

Month 2

Congratulations, you’re waking up from the newborn coma! And so is your baby. Continue breastfeeding or formula-feeding exclusively, and be prepared for some new challenges as baby really begins to “wake up” and is perhaps a bit more distractible.

If you’ve established breastfeeding and are ready to begin some bottle feedings as well, read up on how to help a breastfed baby take a bottle. Mamas and papas alike have often been reduced to tears in the “please take a bottle” scenario, so if it feels hard, it’s because it can be! Just a few weeks in, and you’re still doing a great job — promise!

How much and how often should baby eat?  

Baby will nurse a little less frequently by the second month — every three to four hours in a 24-hour period. It still feels pretty constant, but it should be more rhythmic by now.

Bottle-fed babies will eat two to four ounces per feeding every three to four hours by the second month. Don’t forget to burp baby after each feeding.

Tips for the second month:

  • Start to plan your return to work even if it feels ages away. Learn about your rights in Singapore (particularly if you’ll need a place to pump), and ask other working mamas for strategies to make a smooth transition.
  • Even if you’re drinking bottled water at home, it’s always a good idea to boil water for baby’s bottles. Better safe than sorry.

Feeding Guide 2

Month 3

Let’s be honest. You’re in love with this child on a level you never thought possible. Also, you’re probably still sleep-deprived on a level you never thought possible (or maybe you’re on your second kid, and you just thought it wouldn’t be as bad this time around).

The good news? Baby is still 100% nourished by breast milk or formula at this point, and you’ve pretty much gotten the hang of it. Think of it as exhaustion on cruise control.

How much and how often should baby eat?

Baby will continue to nurse roughly every three to four (sometimes even five!) hours in a 24-hour period.

Bottle-fed babies will eat five to six ounces per feeding every three to five hours by the third month. Baby shouldn’t consume more than 32 ounces in a 24-hour period.

Tips for the third month:

  • Make sure you’re getting enough protein! And water. And time for yourself even when it seems impossible. These snacks are a good place to start.
  • Read about why it’s good to wait on serving solids… even though you’re dying to try it.

Month 4

According to the World Health Organization, UNICEF and many national paediatric associations, most babies are not developmentally suited for solid foods at four months, even though they may start reaching for a taste of that ice lolly (Who can blame them?). Breastmilk or formula should continue to be baby’s exclusive menu item.

Babies are most successful with solid foods after losing their tongue thrust reflex, which pushes foreign objects out of the mouth. They also need time to develop critical digestive enzymes, which are generally established around six months of age.

Case in point: Hang on a little longer, mama. Real food is on the horizon!

How much and how often should baby eat?  

At four months, baby will nurse every four to six hours in a 24-hour period. That means you might be actually getting something like a full night’s sleep!

Bottle-fed babies will eat six to seven ounces per feeding every three to five hours by the fourth month. Baby shouldn’t consume more than 32 ounces in a 24 hours period.

Tips for the fourth month:

  • Take a break from the mommy blogs and watch some cooking demos on YouTube, because soon enough you’ll be at the table with baby chowing down together. BuonaPappa is always a hit.
  • If you plan to make your own baby food, it’s a good time to buy a food processor or a blender. Get familiar with it by making yourself some smoothies! (Or, ahem, these margaritas.)

Feeding Guide 3

Month 5

If your baby is showing interest in food — maybe she’s leaning forward with a drooly grin when you take a bite of dinner, maybe even grabbing for your spoon — these are all great signs that she is readying herself for solid foods.

If you think your little one is ready for a snack beyond milk (breast or otherwise), check with your doctor. It can’t hurt to wait until six months to introduce solid food because your breastmilk and/or formula still covers all nutritional needs. But it’s a mama’s own decision, so do your research and make an informed decision for you and your baby.

How much and how often should baby eat?

Five months is often a feeding plateau, in the sense that baby will keep eating about the same amount as last month. Many babies will nurse every four to five hours in a 24-hour period.

Bottle-fed babies will eat six to seven ounces per feeding every three to five hours by the fourth month. Baby shouldn’t consume more than 32 ounces in a 24 hours period.

Tips for the fifth month:

  • Let baby practise sitting upright, as that’s a key requirement before she starts eating solid foods.
  • Start researching different approaches to solid-feeding. Baby-led weaning is fascinating and incredibly popular. So is homemade baby food from feeding blogs like Momtastic’s Wholesome Baby Food.
  • If you have no time to figure out a super complicated plan, know that even though this sounds hard, it’s not going to be. Don’t panic.

Month 6

Baby’s first solid food — it’s a major milestone and the beginning of a very messy dining table. Experts from many cultures now recommend saving solids for six months.

Conventional Western wisdom prescribed rice cereal (or at least brown rice cereal in more recent years) as a first food, but many physicians now simply say a mild, soft vegetable like sweet potato or avocado is just as suitable. Keep in mind that your baby’s palate is incredibly sensitive.

One strategy that’s roaringly popular in the last few years is called baby-led weaning. (That’s weaning in the British sense — adding complementary food to a baby’s diet.) As much as we love the idea of a raspberry coconut baby smoothie in an itty bitty ice cube tray, we also love the simplicity of this strategy: baby feeds herself a baby-sized bite. And if she likes it, she eats it. They might be onto something… and we’ve got plenty of great recipes to try out!

How much and how often should baby eat?

By six months, most breastfed babies need four to six feedings each day.

Bottle-fed babies eat 28 to 32 ounces per day, and need between four to six feedings.

Tips for the sixth month:

  • Does baby-led weaning sound too good to be true? Here’s another overview that will break it all down.
  • Read up on how to screen for allergic reactions with this handy four-day rule.
  • Buy yourself a splat mat and get used to being sticky more often than you’d like. It’s going to be okay — it’s all part of the mama experience.
  • Baby FoodE’s blushing applesauce sounds like something mama might want for breakfast too!

Feeding Guide 4

Month 7

Practice, practice, practice! By now you have probably learned not to wear white pants at mealtime. Or maybe you’ve just gone directly to poncho-wearing, if your baby likes to babble while dining. The joy of all this mess? Your baby is building healthy habits with his nutrition but also bonding with you around the table.

It’s a good idea to keep introducing as many delicious vegetables as possible to baby’s diet. Of course, he/she will devour anything with a little banana mixed in, but if you can help baby acquire a taste for broccoli without the added sweetness of fruit, it will make for a broader appetite in the long run.

How much and how often should baby eat?

Seven months is a delightful age, and not just because baby is going for longer stretches between feedings! But he/she is: three to five feedings per day is typical for breastfed babes.

Formula babies consume 30 to 32 ounces each day over three to five feedings.

Tips for the seventh month: 

  • Read about all the benefits of sharing a meal together. It’s unbelievable how much your children stand to gain from a nightly conversation with mom and dad — even as babies!
  • It’s a fine time to introduce iron-rich lentils and beans, as baby has used most of the iron received via mama during pregnancy by now.
  • Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen baby recipes are amazing, because anything Smitten Kitchen is amazing and Deb Perelman is a food goddess. And she’s cooking in a teeny NYC kitchen just as small as our Singapore apartments so, respect. But most of all, she’s a down-to-earth mama who wants to do right by her child. You’ll love her.

Month 8

You’re cruising toward toddlerhood, and it feels so good! Try some more interesting food combinations now that you’ve found a few basic staples. Many mamas choose to introduce meat at this age, now that baby’s stomach has gotten accustomed to all the fruits and veggies of the rainbow. Braises (like the Best Chicken Recipe of All Time) and ground meats are a good start.

One more thing: Don’t forget that baby might like food that you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Mashed peas not your thing? Don’t be surprised if baby finds them irresistible. It is always a good idea to offer a wonderful variety of foods.

How much and how often should baby eat?

Eight months looks a lot like seven: three to five feedings per day is typical for breastfed babes.

Formula babies consume 30 to 32 ounces each day over three to five feedings. Babies are still getting their primary nutrition from breast milk and formula, so don’t taper off even though solid food is becoming more of a habit.

Tips for the eighth month:

  • Most infants don’t need to drink water since breast milk and formula provide plenty of hydration. The exception may be in very hot weather, so talk to your doctor about how to get by in the stifling Singapore summer. Same goes for juice — no need!
  • Check out first meals for babies around the world, and be inspired to try a little something you wouldn’t have thought of yourself (within your doctor’s recommendations of course!).

Feeding Guide 5

Month 9

Many moms are ready to wean breastfed babies around the ninth month, if you haven’t already. Remember to wean slowly to prevent mastitis — some mamas drop feedings down to nights-only at this point.

In the realm of solid food, start to feed your baby what you’re eating (or try new recipes that work for everybody in your family). This approach blends beautifully with baby-led weaning, if you’ve decided to take that route. It’s also good practice for taking baby out to dim sum eventually.

Weelicious has a really practical motto that makes so much sense: One family, one meal. Encouraging your kids to eat what’s on the dinner menu will not only expand their palate, it will help them be adaptable in other areas of life. What a gift!

How much and how often should baby eat?

Feedings are still about the same at nine months: three to five feedings per day is typical for breastfed babes.

Formula-fed babies consume 30 to 32 ounces each day over three to five feedings.

Tips for the ninth month: 

  • Questions about winding down your breastfeeding? Read these FAQs.
  • Check out these adorable sippy cups, since 9-month-olds are usually successful at drinking from them about now.
  • It’s not easy reading, but if you need help treating baby’s constipation, here’s a good guide.

Month 10

It’s not a scientific fact, but it’s definitely common mama-knowledge that 10-month-old babies are the absolute sweetest and chubbiest age in the first year of life, and therefore it’s also the most kissable age. You are in the sweet spot of mothering an infant — sleeping through the night (hopefully), getting the hang of solid foods, less feedings, and watching a tot begin to motor around on all fours. So fun!

It’s also a sweet spot for feeding, in that baby can continue to explore new flavours and often eat what you’re eating — assuming there’s not too much chilli oil drizzled up top. A phase in parenting where you can catch your breath? We’ll drink to that.

How much and how often should baby eat?

Nursing the baby is finally becoming less and less frequent. Three to four feedings per day is typical for breastfed babies.

Formula-fed babies also eat a little less at this point — three to four feedings daily is typical, ranging from 24-30 ounces each day.

Tips for the tenth month:

Month 11

The big one-year marker is on the horizon, and baby is likely developing some favourite foods and a few that continue to land on the floor. If you haven’t introduced eggs yet, start with hard-cooked yolks, for an easy source of protein.

It’s tempting to start feeding baby a lick of an ice cream cone or a cup of juice, but it’s still a good idea to carefully monitor sugar intake (natural or otherwise). Science is uncovering all kinds of health problems linked to sugar, so better to pace yourself and help curb baby’s sweet tooth while you can.

How much and how often should baby eat?

Three to four feedings per day is typical for breastfed babies.

Formula-fed babies eat 24-30 ounces each day, usually feeding three to four times in a 24-hour period.

Feeding Guide 6

Month 12

After several months of learning to digest new textures and flavours, the vast world is now your darling’s oyster. It’s pretty much all fair game at this point, so bake that baby a cake, mama! She’s probably eaten enough beet puree to deserve real frosting too.

We know you can find a Paleo recipe that’s sugar-free (here, take it), but if you cave and give her Martha Stewart’s chocolate cake? Well, we will simply be raising our glasses to a year of amazing hard work and love.

How much and how often should baby eat?

  • Some women consider baby’s first birthday a milestone in breastfeeding, and it is! Some mothers continue to breastfeed at night, but most don’t feed more than a couple of times daily.
  • Formula-fed babies can switch to cow’s milk, although a gradual transition is advised. Ask your doctor for a schedule recommendation, since each child’s growth may impact how much is appropriate.

You made it, mama! Congratulations on nourishing and loving one little person into toddlerhood. Here’s to a wonderfully delicious first year!

Lead image via Pinterest, Image #1 via Pinterest, Image #2 via Pinterest, Image #3 via Pinterest, Image #4 via Pinterest, Image #5 via Pinterest, Image #6 via Pinterest, Image #7 via Pinterest

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