Navigate Up

Pediatric Center - A-Z Index

#
Q
Z

Print This Page

Baby feeding patterns

Baby feeding patterns refer to the time schedule for giving a baby food through a bottle or breast.

Alternative Names

Feeding patterns for babies

Information

Breast milk is digested more rapidly than cow's milk formula. Breastfed babies usually require feeding every 1 - 3 hours. While a pattern may develop, a schedule should not be forced on the baby. It is important to empty the breasts regularly to prevent them from becoming engorged and stopping the production of milk.

Formula-fed babies usually require feeding about every 2 - 4 hours.

Five wet diapers a day will tell you that your baby is getting enough milk to drink.

Regardless whether you choose breastfeeding or bottle feeding, your baby should not have whole cow's milk until the age of 1 year. Babies under age 1 have a difficult time digesting cow's milk. Do not feed babies younger than 4 months any solid food, since they do not have the ability to digest it.

Solid foods can be introduced between ages 4 and 12 months. However, most of the baby's calories should still be coming from breast milk or formula.

Foods should be introduced one at a time. This lets you be able to watch for allergic reactions . New foods should be given only when a child is hungry.

At 4 months, or when your health care provider recommends, you can start your baby on pureed, strained, or finely mashed foods. Between 6 and 7 months, you can introduce crackers, vegetables, and fruit. Between 9 and 12 months, commercially prepared junior foods or chopped table foods are allowed.

For more information on age-appropriate foods see:

References

Stettler N, Bhatia J, Parish A, Stallings VA. Feeding healthy infants, children, and adolescents. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 42.

Updated: 8/2/2011

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com