3855 Trueman Court | Hilliard, Ohio | 43026
Hilliard Pediatrics, Inc. - Dr. Tim Teller, MD
This protocol hopes to help you understand how much and when to feed your infant from birth until their 1st birthday. The amounts listed are guidelines that apply to most infants. There are many happy, healthy, well-fed infants who do not follow these amounts – they may take more or less. If there are big differences between what is here and what your child does, ask us at your child’s check-up or call during routine hours if you have questions.
Although it is fine to offer juice and water in small amounts at 4 months of age and above, for infants with soft, regular bowel movements who do not need an extra few ounces to drink per day can skip the juice. We do not want the juice or water to take the place of more important nutrition from breast milk or formula.
By 4 months of age, most infants are ready for cereal. Their digestive system can properly digest cereal at this age. Also, infants at this age have the back and neck strength to propped into a sitting position while being fed. A normal reflex called “tongue thrust” (where infants stick their tongue out of their mouth when something is placed on their tongue) fades that would make spoon-feeding cereal difficult.
The right time to start vegetables and fruits for most infants is 6 months of age. Infants are ready to digest these foods and they are ready for the texture. It is recommended to start with vegetables. We hope your infant gets a taste for vegetables and learns to like eating them before they try the fruits. It may be more likely your child will reject vegetables if they have already eaten the naturally sweeter fruits. The different stages of vegetables and fruits are divided this way: stage 1 is single items and thin texture, stage 2 is combinations with a thicker texture, and stage 3 is combinations with a thicker texture and chunks of food.
If your child has a history of food allergies or there is a family history of food allergies, ask us about when to introduce peanut products. There is a significant increase in the number of children with peanut allergies over the last 20 years. It is now believed by the national allergy specialists that we should introduce small amounts of peanuts at 9 months of age if there is no worrisome personal or family history of food allergies. It is hoped that these early exposures will allow the child to tolerate peanuts as they grow. Once a child is doing fine with the texture, tree nut butters are fine as well.
Small amounts of yogurt and soft cheese are fine from 9-12 months of age. It is still recommended to wait on milk until on or just before your child’s first birthday.
Two recent scientific studies found that starting cereal, vegetables, or fruits before 4 months of age or after 6 months of age significantly increased the infants chances of developing diabetes or celiac disease (gluten sensitivity) in the later years. This is one of many reasons we highly recommend following the routine schedule.