Babies can subsist on breast milk or formula for the first four to six months of their life. All the nutrition that they need is in the milk and they instinctively know when they need to be fed by showing signs of hunger like lip smacking, sucking of fists or fingers, thrusting the tongue, and turning the head. These signs of hunger are indication of feeding time and should be recognized even before the inevitable crying starts.
Babies have no set schedule for feeding in the first few months and it is best to feed them whenever they get hungry, which is frequently. Babies nurse for about fifteen to 20 minutes with every feeding and they can get hungry an hour just after feeding or less frequently. Babies fed on formula milk consume an average of 16 to 28 ounces a day, which will increase up to 24 to 40 ounces by the fourth month and even more, as they grow bigger.
Because they grow rapidly, babies need energy and nutrients to aid their development. Solids can be introduced in babies’ diet between four to six months. At this stage, babies should have control over their heads and necks and be able to show signs when they are already full such as turning away from milk or food. One of the first solid healthy recipes given to babies are mushy and soft like oatmeal, cereal grain, or rice mixed with milk to make a soupy consistency that is easy to swallow and digest. The baby food can be fed twice a day using a baby spoon, between nursing sessions or bottle feedings.
At six months, babies can ingest baby food like mashed cooked vegetables and soft fruits of about two to three servings per day. New foods can be introduced to babies in a space of two to three days to see if baby likes the food or develops an upset stomach or rash from it. This way, allergies can be determined as well as temporary food intolerances. At this point, babies still need about five to six servings of breast milk or 24 to 40 ounces of formula each day. At six to nine months, babies can move on to lumpy and textured foods like pureed meats amounting to 2 to 4 tablespoons per serving and only one to two servings per day.