Feeding guidelines for the first year

Photo by Unsplash by Rainier Ridao

Birth to 4-6 months:

Breast milk and/or iron-fortified formula only.

No water.

Never dilute breast milk or formula.

No cow’s milk or other milk until 1st birthday.

Do not mix cereal in the bottle.


4 mo-6 mo:

Breast milk and/or iron-fortified formula are the mainstay of the diet.

Start introducing solid foods.  Start with rice cereal or baby oatmeal. Always feed cereal with a spoon - do not add it to the bottle.  Introduce only one new food at a time every 4 days.

Start with infant cereals - rice or oatmeal.  Mix one tablespoon cereal with two tablespoons breast milk or formula.  Start with cereal once a day - if tolerated you can increase cereal to twice a day.  There is no hard science about what foods to introduce first. Traditionally people have gone from cereals to veggies to fruit to meat but this is not cast in stone. More important than the order of new foods is that you add each new food one at a time waiting 4 days between new foods.  Watch for intolerance - diarrhea, vomiting, increased gas, and crying. If your baby develops these symptoms, stop that food and wait a couple of weeks before trying that specific food again. If your baby develops a rash after giving a new food, call us.

As the amount of solids increase, the need for formula and/or breast milk will decrease.

It may take 10 tries for a baby to learn to like a new food.

Juice is not necessary for the diet. It has a lot of sugar and promotes tooth decay and an unhealthy weight.


6 mo- 9 mo:

Breast milk and/or iron-fortified formula are the mainstay of the diet.

By 9 mo establish 2-3 meals a day with solids.



honey or Karo syrup, unpasteurized cow’s milk or unpasteurized cheese, nuts, candy, and hotdog pieces (choking foods)



Whole cows milk can replace formula. Honey is safe.


In the past, it was recommended to avoid common allergens such as nuts, eggs, milk, soy, and shellfish until children were older. New research suggests that children who eat these foods early on have fewer allergies. This is even true for siblings or children of people with food allergies. Feel free to start introducing these foods as you introduce solids. One exception might be if your child has known food allergies already or eczema that flares with allergens. In that case, speak with your healthcare provider about introducing these foods.

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