Nutrition for your baby

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Discover the various stages of your baby's nutrition and how to handle issues such as spitting up.

Key points

  • For the first four to six months, your baby will get all their nutrition from breast milk or formula.
  • Spitting up is common but can be eased by giving smaller amounts of milk or formula and keeping your baby more upright during and right after feeds.
  • See a doctor if your baby is spitting up and not growing properly or if they are in pain during a feed.
  • Your baby can start solid foods from six months onwards.

Your child will go through many stages on the path to eating a varied and healthy diet. Feeding your baby can be both a rewarding and challenging experience!

Breast milk and formula

For the first four to six months, your baby will get all of their nutrition from either breast milk or formula.

Breastfeeding is recommended for the first year of life. However, some moms are not able to feed their babies breast milk for 12 months and may use formula instead.

When you are ready to wean your baby from the breast, make it a gradual process. You may consider dropping one feed a day at a time and waiting another week or so before dropping another feed.

It will also take time to introduce a bottle or a sippy cup to a baby who is used to the breast. Do not be concerned if this process is difficult. It can take babies a few days or a few weeks to understand how to suck from a bottle or drink from a cup.

If your baby is close to one year of age when you are weaning from the breast, skip the bottle and try to teach the baby to take liquids from a sippy cup. Studies show that children who are over 12 months and drink from a cup tend to drink a healthy amount of milk (rather than drinking too much, which can happen in children who take a bottle).

Transitioning from a bottle to a cup will also take some time. And once they transition, children will usually need a few weeks to adjust to a sippy cup. Try giving your child water or a small amount of juice mixed with water in the sippy cup before trying milk.

Spitting up

It is common for babies to spit up their feeds. Spitting up is usually harmless as long as your baby is growing well and does not seem to be in pain. Most babies outgrow the process of spitting up by 12 months.

If your baby spits up after feeds, try:

  • giving them a smaller amount of milk or formula more often
  • holding them in a more upright position while feeding
  • keeping your baby upright for 30 minutes after a feed rather than allowing them to lay down right afterwards.

These simple strategies are worth trying, but many babies will continue to spit up no matter what you try to do.

When to see a doctor

See a doctor if your baby is spitting up and not growing properly or not meeting their developmental milestones. You should also have your baby checked by a doctor if your baby arches their back or appears to be in pain during a feed or if they cry and stop feeding before the end of the feed. Your doctor may recommend anti-reflux medications.

Solid foods

Your baby can start solid foods anytime from around six months. Introducing solids opens the door to a broad range of foods and textures that your baby can enjoy.

Last updated: September 27th 2013