Feeding New Born - Breastfeeding, Formula Feeding, Nutritional Supplements - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India
Health Education

Feeding the New Born

Dr.Abhishek  Bansal profile Authored by Dr.Abhishek Bansal on 21 Mar 2014 - 13:24.


As new parents you may be exposed to contradictory advices on feeding your infant. It's natural for you to be confused if you do not have the right knowledge about feeding your baby. Follow these simple guidelines to help your baby get a healthiest start into her/his life.

Thinking of a choice between breast and bottle?

Breastfeeding has been recommended as the best and gold standard choice for new borns by medical experts. American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first six months. Baby should be strictly breast feed for early 6 months. If possible, breastfeeding should continue through the first year of life and beyond with the introduction of semisolid and solid foods.

Advantages of breastfeeding

Breastfeeding your new born is advantageous in many ways:

  • Breast milk is perfect food for baby’s digestive system
  • Breast milk has vitamins and minerals that a new born requires
  • It has antibodies to protect the infant from infections
  • Also, breastfeeding may decrease the chance of infant becoming obese/overweight

Formula feeding

Formula feeding usually should not be given up till first six months, but in certain circumstances if breast feeding is not possible then formula feeding is the next best choice.

Formula feeding is a nutritious alternative to breast milk with the following plus points:

  • Freedom and flexibility for the mother
  • Easier to keep track of how much the baby is getting
  • Fewer feedings
  • Easy to feed the baby in public
  • Father as well as others can feed too, thus enhancing bonding

Is your new born getting enough to eat?

Your new born should be nursing eight to 12 times per day during the first month. In the beginning, mothers may want to try nursing 10-15 minutes on each breast and then vary the time as necessary.

Nutritional supplements

Breast milk contains the right combination of vitamins and easily absorbed iron that will be sufficient until your baby begins eating iron-rich cereals around the age of six months.

A healthy infant being nursed by a healthy mother does not need any additional vitamins or nutritional supplements, with the exception of vitamin D. AAP recommends that all breastfed babies begin receiving vitamin D supplements within the first few days of life during the first two months and continue until the infant consumes enough vitamin D-fortified formula or milk (after 1 year of age).

Supplements during breastfeeding

Breast milk will provide all of the nutrients the infant needs for the first six months of life. However, some babies may need a bit of supplementation at times.

Vitamin D

American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends a daily vitamin D supplement of 400IU for all breast-fed infants, starting immediately after birth.


As fetus stores iron from the mother’s blood while in the womb. Premature babies need iron supplementation since they don’t have enough stores. For term babies, extra iron is not needed.

Fluids & hydration

Breast milk or formula has enough amounts of fluids so normally there isn’t any need for water supplementation. Although infants might get dehydrated in certain conditions, such as fever or vomiting.

Diet for babies (0-12 months)

                                                                                                               Age                                                                                 Food
 0-6 months  Mother’s milk
 6-12 months
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Change from breast milk to breast milk with cooked semi solid foods
  • Ragi powder, suji can be cooked in milk with sugar
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Cereals
 Beyond 12 months
  • Toast or biscuit since first teeth are erupting
  • Boiled and mashed potato plain or mashed with the addition of a little salt and lemon juice
  • Eggs
  • Fish, chicken, liver and meat (mashed)

Take-home points

Water, juice, and other foods are usually unnecessary during a baby's first 6 months. Breast milk or formula provides everything babies need nutritionally until they start eating solid foods. 

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.