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Feeding & Nutrition

Not all babies are the same, so it should come as no surprise that whatever your little one finds yummy may differ from other newborns. Huggies answers your questions and provides some food for thought when it comes to feeding your baby.


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How To Feed A Newborn: Answers to Your Most Perplexing Puzzlers

Open mouth, insert food: Those have long been the eating instructions you’ve followed. But when you have a little mouth to feed, all sorts of questions crop up. We’ve got the answers!

It’s been four hours since I nursed my baby, but she’s fast asleep. Do I wake her up to feed?

Your mother might have told you to never wake a sleeping baby, but the truth is some babies do need to be woken up to feed if they’re not gaining weight as expected. "My first child wasn’t gaining weight normally, so I had to get him up every two hours in the beginning to nurse," says Kelly Stringer, a mother of two in DuBois, Pennsylvania. Your doctor can best guide you. If you’ve got a newborn who’s growing well and is sleeping for long stretches between feedings, count your blessings.

I’m trying to get my 8-week-old to start taking a bottle in preparation for my return to work in a month, but he refuses. What can I do?

"Try having Dad, a relative, or a caregiver give the baby the bottle a few times," says Roy Benaroch, M.D., assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Emory University in Atlanta. Your baby associates you with breastfeeding, so it can be easier and less confusing for him if someone else offers the bottle. Experiment with a variety of bottle nipples to find the one your baby likes best.

How do I know when to start my baby on solids?

Most babies are ready for solids somewhere between four and sixth months of age. Signs that your baby may be ready: He can sit up with some help, he puts his fingers or toys in his mouth, he opens his mouth to show he wants food, and he can close his lips around a spoon and swallow food. For his first meal, go with an iron-fortified infant cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. "Don't worry in the beginning about how much the baby’s getting," says Dr. Benaroch. "These first feedings are more about practicing eating than getting a lot of nutrition." If your baby doesn’t seem interested, back off and try again in a few days. Rest assured, he’ll be eating like a champ very soon.

I’d like to start pumping to build up a stash of breast milk. What’s the best time of day to pump?

Many moms find their supply is greatest either first thing in the morning or late in the evening. "If my freezer supply is dwindling," says Lisa Staton, a mother of two from Seattle, Washington, "I’ll pump for 15 or 20 minutes right before I go bed. It’s actually relaxing."

I’m unable to breastfeed for a variety reasons, and want to give my baby the best kind of formula. Is organic formula worth the higher price tag?

Pediatricians’ opinions vary. While some believe feeding babies a mostly organic diet is healthiest, others point out that infant formulas are highly regulated in the United States and there’s no evidence that organic formulas are any better for babies than the regular kind. Talk it over with your pediatrician to make the best decision for you and your child.


The Breastfeeding Diet

It's the couch potato's dream — burning up the calories of a five-mile run without leaving your lounge chair. And guess what? That dream is your reality now that you're breastfeeding your little tater tot. It's true — milk production burns 500 calories a day, which means that when you're breastfeeding, you'll get to eat an extra 500 calories a day (up from your pre-pregnancy numbers) to meet that need — just one of the many benefits of breastfeeding.

Hello, potato chips? Not exactly. Quality matters as much as quantity, especially if you expect to stay vertical during those long postpartum days (and even longer nights). The good news is that you're an old pro at eating well — what with all the practice you've had for the past nine months during your pregnancy. The even better news is that eating well while breastfeeding is very much like eating well while expecting (see The Pregnancy Diet), with (best news of all) slightly more relaxed rules. You'll still be aiming for plenty of healthy foods and steering clear of the less healthy ones (though there's more leeway for indulgences). Plus, while calories definitely count, you still won't need to count them — just follow the Breastfeeding Diet as best you can:

What to Eat When You're Breastfeeding

Like eating well during pregnancy, eating well while breastfeeding entails getting the right balance of good (and good for you) food. Try to get the following each day:

  • Protein: three servings
  • Calcium: five servings (that's an increase from your pregnancy requirement of four)
  • Iron-rich foods: one or more servings
  • Vitamin C: two servings
  • Green leafy and yellow vegetables, yellow fruits: three to four servings
  • Other fruits and veggies: one or more servings
  • Whole grains and complex carbohydrates: three or more servings
  • High-fat foods: small amounts — you don't need as much as you did during pregnancy
  • Liquids: Eight cups of water, juice, or other non caffeinated, non alcoholic beverages
  • Omega-3s: Two servings per week to promote baby's brain growth (look for it in wild salmon and sardines, as well as DHA-enriched eggs)
  • Prenatal vitamin: Daily

What Not to Eat

Here's the great news: When you're breastfeeding, there's a lot more that can be on the menu than off. But (and here's the less great news), with caveats. It's fine to pop open the cork on that pinot noir you've been pining for (or flip the top on that ale you've been aching for) — but within limits (a couple of glasses a week, preferably taken right after you nurse, rather than before, to allow a couple of hours for the alcohol to metabolize and for far less to reach your baby — use Milkscreen to check the alcohol levels in your milk). Time to pick up your coffee habit where you left off? Depends on how hefty your habit was — more than a cup or two of joe can make junior jittery (and keep you both from getting any sleep). As for safe foods after pregnancy, it's okay to reel in the sushi again, although you should continue to avoid high-mercury fish such as shark, tilefish, and mackerel, and to limit those that may contain moderate amounts of that heavy metal.

Foods to Watch Out For

If you have a family history of allergies, it's probably wise to avoid peanuts and foods that contain them (and possibly other highly allergic foods, such as tree nuts — check with the doctor). Also watch out for herbs — even some seemingly innocuous herbal teas. (Stick to reliable brands and choose flavors that are considered safe during lactation, including orange spice, peppermint, raspberry, red bush, chamomile, and rosehip.) Read labels carefully to make sure other herbs haven't been added to the brew, and drink them only in moderation. And when it comes to sugar substitutes, aspartame is probably a better bet than saccharine (only tiny amounts of aspartame pass into breast milk), but Sucralose (Splenda) is considered safe and a good all-round, low-calorie sugar substitute.

What to Watch Your Baby For

A few moms find that their own diet affects their babies' tummies and temperaments. While what you eat does indeed change the taste and smell of your milk (that happens for all mothers), that's actually a good thing, since it exposes your baby to many different flavors. But some babies can be sensitive to certain foods. If you suspect that something in your diet is turning baby off his or her feed (or turning his or her tummy), try eliminating the food for a few days to gauge the response. Some of the more common trouble makers are cow's milk, eggs, fish, citrus fruits, nuts, and wheat.

Mom feeding baby at table

Baby Feeding Overview: What to Feed, How Much, & What to Avoid

What you feed your baby during the first year is essential to your child’s healthy growth and development. These early nutrients are the building blocks on which your child’s future health depends. Find out what foods the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends for your growing child.

Figuring out when to stop nursing or when to transition to finger foods can be confusing. In addition to the guidance from your pediatrician, we’ve collected important nutrition tips from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the premier source for baby care and health information ( These valuable feeding must-knows will help solidify a healthy foundation for your child’s health.

Birth-6 Months

The AAP recommends exclusively breastfeeding your baby for at least six months. Studies have proved that children who are breastfed for at least six months are less likely to be overweight or obese as they get older.

  • It is considered best to try to breastfeed your newborn within the first hour of delivery.

  • Some newborns breastfeed as often as every 1 1/2 hours, while others feed about every three hours. The AAP says, “breastfed newborns will feed 8-12 or more times per 24 hours (once your milk has come in).”

Breastfeeding can be difficult for many women. For those who chose not to, or are unable to breastfeed, bottle feeding with formula is an alternative.

  • The AAP recommends you first give your baby 2 ounces of formula every 2-3 hours. As your baby grows, your pediatrician can help you adjust the amount of formula for your child.

3-4 Months

According to the AAP, many families introduce complementary solid foods when baby is this age, particularly if the child seems fussy (this happens more often with formula-fed babies). Note: Try not to introduce solids prior to 4 months. The AAP associates this with increased weight gain, both in infancy and early childhood

4-6 Months

With your pediatrician’s guidance, you can introduce your baby to 3-5 tablespoons of single-grain, iron-fortified cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula.

At around 4-8 months, you can also add pureed veggies, fruit and meats to your baby’s diet. (Some doctors suggest starting with vegetables instead of fruit to prevent a preference for sweeter foods.

6 Months-9 Months

The AAP recommends introducing solid foods to your baby around 6 months of age.

  • Introduce one foods new at a time and continue to offer that food for 3-5 days to watch for allergies.

  • Baby’s serving sizes don’t need to be very big: Just 1-2 teaspoons to start, gradually increasing to 3-4 tablespoons as your child gets older.

  • This is a good time to help your baby begin transitioning from a bottle to a sippy cup.

  • Also, this is when you can start helping your baby to self-feed with a spoon.

Tips from the AAP to help baby try new foods include:
  • Multiple exposure to new foods and textures:
    It may take several attempts before baby accepts them.

  • Eat with your baby:
    Babies and toddlers are more likely to eat foods they see their parents eating.

  • Watch for hunger cues:
    This is a good time to start watching your baby for signs of hunger (and fullness).

9-12 Months

Your baby is now developing a whole new set of feeding skills! To support further transitions into solids and self-feeding, the AAP shares the following:

  • Incorporate 2-3 healthy snacks per day, but maintain fruit and vegetable consumption after finger foods are introduced. These shouldn’t be thought of as treats, but as opportunities to self-feed nutritive snacks between set meals.


  • Avoid honey in any form for your child's first year, as it can cause infant botulism.

  • Avoid introduction of sugar-sweetened beverages.

  • The AAP dissuades parents from introducing fruit juices until your child is a toddler. If you must introduce juice, the AAP advices waiting “until 6-9 months and limit consumption to 4-6 ounces.” (Tip: When you do begin introducing fruit juices, consider diluting them with water to reduce the sugar content.)

  • No cow’s milk for baby until after the first year (the proteins are difficult for your baby to digest)

  • Watch for choking hazards! Larger pieces of food (think bigger than a pea) should be off-limits to baby.

  • Peanut and other nut butters are sticky, and can be difficult for young children to swallow until they’re older. There is also the risk of a peanut allergy; be sure to talk with your pediatrician about when peanut and other nut butters can be introduced into your child’s diet.

blue eyed baby drinking a bottle

Feeding your newborn: Tips for New Parents

Feeding a newborn is a round-the-clock commitment. It's also an opportunity to begin forming a bond with the newest member of your family. Consider these tips for feeding a newborn.

1. Stick with breast milk or formula

Breast milk is the ideal food for babies — with rare exceptions. If breast-feeding isn't possible, use infant formula. Healthy newborns don't need water, juice or other fluids.

2. Feed your newborn on demand

Most newborns need eight to 12 feedings a day — about one feeding every two to three hours. Look for early signs of hunger, such as stirring and stretching, sucking motions and lip movements. Fussing and crying are later cues. The sooner you begin each feeding, the less likely you'll need to soothe a frantic baby. When your baby stops sucking, closes his or her mouth, or turns away from the nipple or bottle, he or she might be full — or simply taking a break. Try burping your baby or waiting a minute before offering your breast or the bottle again. As your baby gets older, he or she will take in more milk in less time at each feeding.

3. Consider vitamin D supplements

Ask your baby's doctor about vitamin D supplements for the baby, especially if you're breast-feeding. Breast milk might not provide enough vitamin D, which helps your baby absorb calcium and phosphorus — nutrients necessary for strong bones.

4. Expect variations in your newborn's eating patterns

Your newborn won't necessarily eat the same amount every day. During growth spurts — often at two to three weeks after birth and again at six weeks after birth — your newborn might take more at each feeding or want to be fed more often. Respond to early signs of hunger, rather than keeping a strict eye on the clock.

5. Trust your instincts — and your newborn's

You might worry that your newborn isn't eating enough, but babies usually know just how much they need. Don't focus on how much, how often or how regularly your newborn eats. Instead, look for:

  1. Steady weight gain
  2. Contentment between feedings
  3. By the fifth day after birth, at least six wet diapers and three or more bowel movements a day

Contact the doctor if your newborn isn't gaining weight, wets fewer than six diapers a day or shows little interest in feedings.

6. Consider each feeding a time to bond with your newborn

Hold your newborn close during each feeding. Look him or her in the eye. Speak with a gentle voice. Use each feeding as an opportunity to build your newborn's sense of security, trust and comfort.

7. Know when to ask for help

If you're having trouble breast-feeding, ask a lactation consultant or your baby's doctor for help — especially if every feeding is painful or your baby isn't gaining weight. If you haven't worked with a lactation consultant, ask your baby's doctor for a referral or check with the obstetrics department at a local hospital.

©1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of Use.

This article was from Mayo Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Baby eating broccoli

Starting Solids: When Is the Right Time?

By Jay L. Hoecker, M.D., Mayo Clinic

By ages 4 months to 6 months, most babies are ready to begin eating solid foods as a complement to breast-feeding or formula-feeding.

What's so magic about ages 4 months to 6 months? It's around this time that babies typically stop using their tongues to push food out of their mouths and begin to develop the coordination to move solid food from the front of the mouth to the back for swallowing.

Keep in mind that waiting until age 6 months before introducing solid foods to babies who are exclusively breast-fed can help ensure that they get the full health benefits of breast-feeding.

Starting solids too early - before age 4 months - might:

  • Pose a risk of aspiration - sucking food into the airway
  • Cause a baby to get too much or not enough calories or nutrients
  • Increase a baby's risk of obesity

Also, starting solids before age 4 months hasn't been shown to help babies sleep better at night.

Starting solids too late - after age 6 months - poses another set of issues. Waiting too long might:

  • Slow a baby's growth
  • Cause iron deficiency in breast-fed babies
  • Delay oral motor function
  • Cause an aversion to solid foods

Postponing solids - including highly allergenic foods - past 4 to 6 months of age also hasn't been shown to prevent asthma, hay fever, eczema or food allergies.

In addition to age, look for other signs that your baby is ready for solid foods. Can your baby hold his or her head in a steady, upright position? Can your baby sit with support? If you answer yes to these questions and you have the OK from your baby's doctor, you can begin supplementing your baby's liquid diet.

Image: Getty Images


Table Manners for Toddlers (Yes, It's Possible!)

With all the food your child throws, mushes, and drops, feeding her can feel like a full-contact sport. These strategies will make mealtime less messy and "stress-y".

Ack! My child keeps dropping her spoon, then laughing as I pick it up

You might find this completely annoying, but to your toddler, it’s the best game in the world, saysRobin Goldstein, Ph.D., professor of child development at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and author of The New Baby Answer Book. "She’s just delighted that you’re engaging with her. Play along once or twice, then say, "Ooh, that was fun, but now let’s play a different game!" Then pretend to be a "hungry bear," eat a bite of food, and say, "Can you show Mommy how a hungry bear eats?"

Ack! My child smears food everywhere

Your child is using all of her senses—especially touch—to figure out the world around her, so it’s fine to let her be a Picasso with her peas once in a while (especially if you plan to put her straight in the tub after dinner). If she’s putting more food in her hair than in her mouth, though, it’s probably a sign that she’s not hungry or she’s bored, says Goldstein. Take her out of the high chair and let her crawl around or play with toys for a few minutes; then put her back and see if she wants any more food by placing just a tiny amount of food on the tray, like a couple of cubes of cheese or a spoonful of pasta.

Ack! My child likes to throw her food

When your baby flings pureed squash at the wall, keep your cool, but give a clear message that the behavior is inappropriate, says Goldstein. Say firmly, "No! You can throw a ball, but we do not throw food." Then remove her from the high chair for five or ten minutes to play with toys (and get her energy out) and try again. Also consider placing a plastic splat mat under the high chair to make clean up easier.

Ack! My child turns up her nose at new foods

Stick with tried-and-true favorites—then place just a bite or two of a new food on the tray every day until she’s ready to go for it. Remember: It can take up to ten tries before a child accepts a new food.


The Weird Things Toddlers Eat

And you thought you had strange cravings when you were pregnant? Check out the out-there things toddlers love to eat, as revealed by their moms on the HUGGIES Facebook community.

"My son once used orange sherbet for dipping his cheese puffs in."—Bethany F.

"My kid’s fave is peanut butter and pickles."—Cindy F.

"My daughter will dip anything in mustard and ketchup. I think raisins dipped in ketchup is the weirdest combo I’ve seen."—Gretta S.

"My son likes ranch dressing on his pancakes."—Bethany K.

"Peanut butter and mayo—my daughter loves it."—Crystle C.

"Pizza and chocolate pudding."—Jennifer C.

"My baby likes lentil soup with cookies. Not crackers, cookies."—Diana M.

"Peanut butter and jelly with a slice of cheese. Totally gross to me, but he loves it. Could be worse, right?"—Danielle. W.

"Strawberries and ketchup. Gag."—Renee H.

"My 2-year-old likes orange juice in his Rice Krispies."—Sheryl M.

"Spaghetti with mustard, not sauce."—Jill. W.

"Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with onion dip to dip it in. YUCK!"—Cindy L.


See what parents are talking about on the HUGGIES Facebook community.


Toddler Lunch Ideas

Like adults, kids just wanna have fun when it comes to food. Give them a good (and healthy!) mealtime with these ideas from New York City-based nutritionist Keri Glassman.

Alphabet grilled cheese: Make grilled cheese with whole-wheat bread; then use a cookie cutter to transform your sandwich into a heart, star, or the first letter of your child’s name.

Creative roll-ups: Wrap pieces of cheese around carrot sticks or pieces of turkey around pretzel rods for fun twists on the same-old, same-old lunch. Bonus: This is one "recipe" kids can do themselves!

Ants on a log: Fill stalks of celery with peanut butter and sprinkle with raisins or dried cranberries for a fiber- and protein-rich snack.

Smiley burgers: Make hamburgers more appealing (and nutritious) by topping them with pepper slices as a mouth and peas for eyes. Serve the top bun on the side so kids can enjoy your artwork before taking a bite.

Mock sushi: Layer a whole-wheat tortilla with turkey, cheese, lettuce, and peppers. Then roll up the tortilla, cut it crosswise into sushi-style pieces, and see how cool it looks.

Baked potato bar: Give your child a cooled half-baked potato, and spread out toppings to pile on including plain yogurt or sour cream, chopped tomatoes, broccoli, and shredded cheese.


Two moms-to-be, two appetites for baby talk, one friendship gone awry

By David Eddie, The Globe and Mail


A close friend and I got pregnant at the exact same time. In the ensuing months, she tended to dominate our conversations with all that she had read and learned about babies and giving advice about child-rearing choices. Not only was it information overload but I wanted to figure things out for myself and get advice from people I selected (my mother, friends and family). When she found out that I had said “new moms are annoying,” (I didn't think this was offensive since I was also a new mom) our conversations became combative. As we could both feel the tension, we e-mailed each other. I apologized but said I was just overwhelmed and asked if we could be friends like before without so much baby talk. She spewed back an e-mail saying maybe we can be friends when our kids are 18 and asked that I not e-mail her again. Perhaps we aren't meant to be pals but here is the issue: We are in the same group of friends. Our husbands are close as are our mutual friends. No one is picking any sides – they see it as an overblown mommy war. I thought I had put it behind me but now she has accused some of our friends of taking sides. Now, they are afraid of offending her if she finds out they're spending time with me. What could I have done differently?


Mom-fight! I'm not getting in the middle of one of those! I could lose an eye! (I kid – but I want to say this: In nature, the only thing scarier than an adult bear loping towards you is a baby bear gambolling in your direction. Happened to me once. I was frightened out of my boots! I knew mom wouldn't be far away, and she'd be coming to all kinds of conclusions about me being in the vicinity of her cub.

I got in the car and blasted out of there.)

On to your problem. I agree with you: New moms can be annoying – new dads, too – especially if they instantly turn into “sancti-mommies” and “sanctidaddies,” getting all prescriptive about other people's “parenting choices,” saying stuff like “We don't do pop” (actual quote from a sancti-mommy friend of a friend) when you offer them a soft drink and so forth.

Even if they're not pontificating about parenthood, I do think it's possible even in the most genial way to speak too much about your baby, and all the talk of strollers and which organic baby goo is best and what it looks like when it shows up in your baby's diaper can get tired fast.

Infuriating, even. I remember a friend of mine went away for a weekend with some new moms (and dads, I think) and by the end wanted to rip off his head and throw it out the window.

But here's the thing. You have to have show compassion, empathy and patience when it comes to people with fresh-minted offspring. People who have new babies, like people in the midst of renovations, become so consumed by the project at hand they can't think about anything else, thus can't talk about anything else.

(Me, I never talk about any renovations I might have under way, or my kids, unless I have something really witty and pithy to say – but not everyone has my discipline.)

I think you should just grin and bear it, for now. I mean, you're not having much success telling her to talk less about her baby. You're just ruffling her feathers. Is it such a hardship to smile and nod and act interested?

(Oooh, idea: get a pair of Google glasses, check your e-mails while she's talking.)

The other thing – and I only say this because of the way you framed your question ("What could I have done differently?") and because I've run afoul of this myself so many times – is: It's best, I've found, not to attempt to resolve arguments or convey anger or hurt via e-mail.

I don't know why. Maybe Marshall McLuhan could have explained it. But something about the medium seems to encourage flare-ups, distortion, posturing and friendship termination.

So if this is a friendship you want to hang on to, why not reach out to her in a friendly way, try to bury the hatchet. Face to face is best, ideally over a glass of chardonnay (now that you two can drink again!), and in a spirit of mutual empathy.

Life is (ideally) long, and, let's hope, so will your friendship be.

What's a couple of years spent smiling and nodding and listening to your friend talk about the interesting configuration she found in little junior's diaper the other day? It'll pass, and your patience will pay off in the end.

What am I supposed to do now?

Are you in a sticky situation? Send your dilemmas to Please keep your submissions to 150 words and include a daytime contact number so we can follow up with any queries.


When Baby Won't Eat

By:Melanie Edwards

At every stage of a baby’s life, parents worry they’re not eating enough. Whether breastfed or bottle-fed, you often wonder if baby is drinking enough milk. When they refuse the bottle or refuse to nurse , you instantly think something may be up. Though you probably attribute it to a lack of hunger, if it happens more than once, you definitely worry.

The same can be said once babies start eating solids. If baby doesn’t finish his baby food, you again wonder why he won’t eat. As toddlers, it’s even worse. Toddlers are so busy running, playing, and generally exploring the world, that they often refuse food or eat little meals at a time. I’ve learned it’s not so much that they’re not hungry, but that they just generally get distracted.

I can tell you it doesn’t get any better as your children grow older. I still worry about my almost-seven-year-old daughter if she doesn’t eat too much. But, I also keep in mind (with both her and her baby brother) that babies know if they’re not hungry. They may not be able to tell you, but they know if they need to eat or if they’re too full.

So, as I offer food to my toddler, I keep an open mind and remember that if he refuses, he’ll probably make up for it later. Here’s how I keep myself from going crazy about him not eating:

  • I offer him food, but don’t stress if he won’t eat it right away.
  • I wait a while then offer him the food again.
  • I try to get him to sit and keep his attention on the food.
  • If he eats, but gets up after a few bites, I try to get him to sit back down. But, if he still refuses, I let it go.
  • I make sure he gets enough liquids in-between meals. If he’s hydrated, I at least feel better about him not eating very well – even if he doesn’t eat well for an entire day.
  • I give him smaller meals and snacks, correlating with the shorter attention spans he has these days.
  • I remember he’ll probably eat better the next day.

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