Infant Diet: Newborn Baby Diet Food & Nutritional Overview

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Congratulations, you have given birth to a baby! However, your duty does not end here. Instead, your responsibilities now augment and you may have to take care of your child to the best extent during the first year.

The reason behind this is that the first year of the life of a child is one of the most important phases of his or her life. It determines the health of your child due to which you may feed him or her a healthy diet that provides him all the nutrients.

The major growth of a child occurs during the initial first year of his or her life. Generally, in the initial few months, formula or breast milk is all that is required by a child. However, as your baby grows, you might start including a variety of healthy foods at proper times that can help in the growth and development of your child.

Moreover, implementing healthy and good eating happens in the early stages of life could help in setting up healthy eating patterns in the further life of your child.

Before learning further about the diet, food and nutrition of a newborn baby, you should know the meaning of infant nutrition.

What Is Infant Diet Nutrition?

As the name suggests, infant nutrition means providing the required nutrients to your baby in the first year. The different nutrients that you may provide to your baby to facilitate the child’s development could include fat, calories, minerals, protein and vitamins.

Providing the best infant nutrition could help to evade different diseases in your child. At the same time, it might also help your child to stay healthy while he or she grows old.

Since every child is different and has different requirements, the diet of your child may be different. So sometimes the baby might need more or less of some items. Some of the small children might even require a special and modified diet according to their requirements.

To determine the infant nutrition, you might make regular checkups with your physician or doctor to ensure that your baby is growing properly. Your caregiver and dietitian might even recommend your child a special diet if he or she is not gaining weight.

At the same time, the dietitian might even help you if you face trouble while nursing. You could even consult your caregiver if your baby has frequent vomiting or diarrheas’ or is not able to consume the formula or breast milk for more than one day.

Nutrition Required In The Infant Diet By The Growing Baby

According to the experts, the best source of nutrition for babies during the initial 6 months could be breast milk or infant formula. This is because both these sources could provide the required nutrition to your growing baby. Let us have a look at the different nutrients which the babies require to stay healthy and combat different diseases.

  • Iron– The presence of Iron could be of great benefit for the development of the newborn child. This nutrient could help to build the blood cells and brain of the child. Due to this, breastfed babies might receive iron supplements to make up for this nutrient in their bodies.

    More on iron and breastfeeding here.

  • Calcium- Calcium is another important nutrient that could help to build the teeth and bones of the baby.

  • Zinc- The presence of zinc may help the cells of the baby to repair themselves and grow.

  • Fat– Fat has several benefits for a newborn child. It provides energy to the child and helps in his or her brain development. At the same time, fat might also facilitate healthy growth of the skin, hair and prevent certain infections.

  • Protein and carbohydrates– Protein and carbohydrates serve as fuel for the baby’s body and helps him or her to grow by providing energy.

  • Folate. The folate might help the child by facilitating cell division.

Vitamins Required In Infant Diet By The New Born Baby

Just like different nutrients, the new born might do also require different types of vitamins for different purposes. The different vitamins required by your baby are as follows.

  • Vitamin A- The major purpose of Vitamin A could be to facilitate healthy hair, skin, vision, and immune system.
  • Vitamin B1- Also known as Thiamine, vitamin B1 might help to convert the food into energy in your baby.
  • Vitamin B2- Also known as riboflavin, the major purpose of vitamin B2 could be to protect the cells from damage and also convert the food into energy in the newborn baby.
  • Vitamin B3- The purpose of vitamin B3 could be to convert the food into energy and even use the protein and fat present in the body.
  • Vitamin B6. This vitamin is required by the newborn child to keep his or her immune system and brain healthy.
  • Vitamin The functioning of vitamin B12 may be to form the DNA and to facilitate the healthy development of the blood cells and nerves.
  • Vitamin C. The major purpose of vitamin C might be to heal wounds and protect your baby against several infections. At the same time, this vitamin might also help in building the muscles and bones of your baby.
  • Vitamin D. The breastfed babies may be given vitamin D supplements. This is because Vitamin D plays a crucial role in keeping your bones and teeth healthy. At the same time, this vitamin might also help your baby to absorb calcium from the food.
  • Vitamin E. This vitamin might help to bolster the immune system of your new born baby and protect his or her cells from getting damaged.
  •  Vitamin K. In the end, your baby might require Vitamin K to stimulate blood clotting.

More on it here.

Infant Diet During The First Four Months

Initially, you may not provide any solid foods to your baby unless your healthcare provider or dietitian advises you. Generally, new born babies may not be provided with any solid foods for the initial four months. There are several reasons for not providing solid foods to the new born child.

First of all, formula or breast milk provides all the important nutrients required by the baby for growth and development. Secondly, giving solid food to a small baby might even lead to overweight or overfeeding.

Besides this, since the baby is very small, he or she is not physically developed to eat solid food from a spoon. The last reason for not providing solid food in the initial four months to the baby might be because solid food may not facilitate a healthy sleep at night.

More detailed article.

Formula Feeding During Infant Diet

In the initial one month, you may provide 2 to 4 ounces of formula or breast milk to your baby In a single feeding. The frequency of feedings for 24 hours during the initial one month could be 6 to 8 times. The maximum volume of feedings in 24 hours should not exceed 24 ounces.

Then in the second month, the amount of formula per feeding might increase to five to six ounces. On the other hand, the frequency of feedings might truncate down to 5 to 6 times the maximum volume. The maximum amount of breast milk or formula fed to the baby might not exceed 32 ounces in 24 hours during the second month.

In the end, from the 3rd to the 5th month, the amount of formula per feeding might augment to 6 to 7 ounces. However, the number of feedings in 24 hours remain the same from five to six times. Similarly, the maximum formula fed per 24 hours also remains 32 ounces during this period.

However, you may become doubtful whether your baby is getting enough food or not. In such situations, you should consider the fact that what goes inside should come out as well. Keeping this statement in mind, you may count the number of wet diapers to know whether your baby is getting plenty of nutrients or not.

Generally, in the initial few days after the baby is born, he or she might wet at least five diapers each day. However, if you find that your baby is having lesser diapers, then you might contact your doctor immediately.

The in-depth discussion here.

Infant Diet From 4 to 6 Months

From the 4th month, you may start providing food items to your child other than breast milk or formula. Let us have a look at the different food items and the quantities that you may provide to your child from the 4th to the 6th month.

  • Breast milk or formula. You may provide 28 to 40 ounces of breast milk or infant formula to your child.
  • Cereals and starchy foods. The only infant cereal that you might provide to your child before six months of age could be the rice infant cereal. You may provide ¼ or ½ cup of cereal to your child.
  • You could provide ¼ or ½ cup of pureed fruits to your child during this phase.
  • Generally, the infants might get water from the formula or breast milk. However, in an extremely hot climate, or if the baby has diarrheas’, you may provide ½ to one cup of water in a day to make up for the losses.

Foods To Avoid As Infant Diet For Babies Under One Year

Generally, after your baby turns six months old, you may provide certain types of food items to him or her. However, there are certain foods that you may avoid feeding your child. Let us have a look at these food items.

  • Honey could lead to the production of botulinum toxin in the body of your baby that could lead to weakness in the muscles and even cause constipation. So, if you feed honey to your baby then he or she might show signs of dizziness and irritation.
  • Peanut or peanut butter. Before you introduce peanuts into the diet of your baby, you might conduct an allergy test.  You may try out peanut butter and feed it to your child in small quantities to see its reaction.
  • Chocolate. The major reason for not adding chocolate into the diet of your baby is because it could contain a high sugar content along with caffeine. Caffeine might not be suitable for the baby and should be fed to the baby only after a year in moderation.
  • Egg whites. Feeding egg whites to your child might lead to different allergies like rashes, agitation and even diarrheas’. So you may first conduct an allergy test by feeding egg whites in moderation to your baby.
  • Citrus fruits or berries. Citrus fruits or different berries like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, etc. have a high content of vitamin C in them that could lead to diaper rashes or even an upset stomach in your baby.
  • Raw vegetables. The raw vegetables consist of high levels of nitrates. They may not be fed to the small babies. Moreover, raw vegetables could also lead to choking hazards in infants.
  • Grapes or Raisins. You might not feed grapes or raisins to your babies until and unless they are big enough not to choke on them. This is because the firmness and the size of grapes or raisins might lead to the fruit getting stuck in the food pipe of the baby. They might get stuck in the food pipe even if they are cut into small pieces.

Foods to avoid are also discussed in these governmental guidelines.

Final Words On Infant Diet

Thus, you may select a diet for your baby according to his or her digestive system. Moreover, you may consult a pediatrician who could recommend you the different types of food items for your baby. Not only this, but you should also not limit the food choices of your baby to just certain items. You may try out a variety of foods early that could even develop good eating habits.

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