From Breastfeeding to Formula Feeding

14 November, 2018
Q I'm worried about my 10-month old daughter. She weighed 2.7kg at birth, but now looks skinny. She stopped breastfeeding three months back and now she's hardly having one formula feed (6oz) per day. What's an average timetable for baby food and feeding times at her age?

Answer

In this counseling answer: 

• Keep feeding times short. Remember, tiny babies still have tiny tummies. Small, frequent feedings are still the best Don’t overwhelm baby with a whole pile of food on her plate.

• With formula-fed babies, offer new foods in the morning. If by some chance your baby is allergic to a particular food, the intestinal upset should wear off by the end of the day.

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• Choose a time of the day when you are not in a hurry, since dawdling, dabbling, spewing, spattering, smearing, and dropping are all part of the feeding game. Forget fast-feeding. Remember, meals are both a food-delivery system and a social experience. Take your time, and enjoy this new nutritional stage.


As-salamu `alaikum dear sister,

May Allah bless you and your little daughter, and Al-hamdu lillah that He gifted you with your sweet little daughter, children generally and girls especially are one of the major causes and means of entering paradise, as our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ” Paradise is at the feet of the mother.”

To earn paradise it is very important to carry a great responsibility in raising them physically, emotionally, religiously, and morally. They deserve the best of everything that can be offered, and the first year of life is the most critical for a child, particularly from a nutritional standpoint and as parents are primarily responsible for their baby’s health, it is extremely important for them to understand the unique nutritional requirements of babies

The first question I would like to ask, why did you stop breastfeeding? There is no better food for children under 2 years than breastfeeding. I know that breastfeeding can’t be restored after 3 months but, for the future, I advice you and all mothers not to stop breastfeeding, except under certain medical disorders which are not so common, but unfortunately most of the mothers who stopped breastfeeding were for minor causes.

Breastfeeding is not only the best-balanced formula for children, but it is sterile, rich, healthy, available, economic, fresh, proper temperature, ideal proportion of nutrients, it improves the child immunity and prevents many diseases. And not to mention its important role in sustaining a good mother-child relationship that leads to an emotionally stable child. It is also important for the mother as it helps the uterus to return to normal size and decrease the risk of breast cancer, besides Allah gives the mother hasanat(reward) for every and each suck of her child.

However, if for any reason the baby is shifted to the formula you have to know the adequate amount, proper sterilization and when is the time to add solid food. And to be able to provide you with the proper amount and frequency, I should know about certain things

  • When did you introduce solid food?
  • What type and how frequent does she eat?
  • Other than her feeding problems is she suffering from any other disease, or taking a special formula?
  • You said she weighed 2.7kg at birth, so was she premature baby or just low birth weight?

But due to lack of information, I’ll try to give you a rough and general idea about feeding a 6-12 months baby.

First off, your concerns primarily should be how much weight she is gaining rather than, what should her weight be by now? It is important to realize that all babies progress at their own rate. Some are voracious, eager eaters, and others would just rather do something else. To a certain extent, you need to factor that into the equation and go along with it. The main mission of eating is to promote optimal growth and development. You and your pediatrician can determine the adequacy of your daughter’s feed by assessing her growth.


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This could be done through regular Checkup, an important part of each well-child visit is the evaluation of the baby’s growth. In the vast majority of children, growth falls within normal ranges on the standard growth curves (curves showing growth progress) for weight, height or head size. A single growth (height, weight, and head size) measurement at any particular month in a child’s life is of limited value – more important is the child’s rate of growth over time. The 10-month-old will also be checked thoroughly both physically and developmentally.

If you are both happy with her progress, then her feeding habits are not so much of a concern.

Second, since it is very difficult to tell you an exact schedule for your daughter or to know what and how much food to give infants because their appetites and feeding skills are changing rapidly, I’ll try to give you a very rough idea about her feeds, weight, physical and developmental progress.

Her weight, and length

An infant’s weight is usually

  • Doubled by about four or five months of age,
  • Triples by about the first birthday

In terms of length, (although varies a lot) babies generally,

  • Grow 10 to 11 inches between birth and the first birthday, and
  • Grow an additional 2 to 3 inches by 18 months of age

Infant feeding and nutrition

How much formula you should give your baby depends on his age, weight, and whether you’re feeding her only formula or using it in combination with solids. Some babies advance sooner than others, while many are premature and should be held back until they reach their “corrected” age. Every baby is different. But here are some guidelines you might find helpful:

1-Take your baby’s cues

The most important guideline is your baby’s behavior. Babies will eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. Don’t expect any baby, for that matter — to follow a schedule or mathematical rule. Needs and appetites vary with each baby, and most babies change from day to day and month to month. The important thing is that you learn to read your baby’s cues.

2- Consider your baby’s age, and weight, and as a general guide:

•Between birth and six months of age your baby will need an average of 2 to 2.5 ounces of formula per pound per day. So, if your baby weighs ten pounds, she will need 20 to 25 ounces per day.

•Six months to a year: as much as 8 ounces at a feeding and at this point ( about 6 months )you should start adding solid foods to her diet,( if you haven’t already did).

Signs that your baby may be getting too little formula are:

-Slower than normal weight gain.

-Diminished urine output.

-A loose, wrinkly appearance to baby’s skin.

-Persistent crying.

Formula Feeding Guide

These are guidelines to the amount your baby may drink, but let your baby’s appetite be your guide. Don’t coax your baby to finish a bottle. If she seems hungry, feed her more often.

Age in
Months
TotalDaily
Amount (ml)
Number of
Daily Feedings
Amount per
Feeding (ml)
0-3720 – 9605 – 7100-200
4-6        960 -10804 – 5200-250
7-12*600-9003-4150-250
Age in
Months
Total Daily
Amount (oz)
Number of
Daily Feeds
Amount of
Feeding (oz)
0-324-325-73-6
4-632-364-56-8
7-12*20-303-45-8

*As your baby eats more solids, she may drink less formula.

Solid Foods

Solid foods should be considered supplementary, not a replacement for breast milk or formula as the main source ofbaby-feeding nutrients from birth to 12 months.

Your 10-month-old can probably sit up in a highchair, grasp food with her fingers, bring it to her mouth, and chew it. While she’s developing her ability to feed herself over the next six-eight months, she might still need you to help feed her.

General guidelines

Remember. No two babies are exactly alike. Don’t compare your baby with others as to how much she eats, or when she accepts a new food. Always consult with your baby’s doctor before trying new foods.

-Babies don’t need solid foods before 6 months.

-Offer only one new food every two to three days, so you can see if your baby is allergic to any new food.

-When introducing each new food, start with only 1-3 teaspoons, in case it doesn’t agree with your baby. Gradually increase the amounts according to your baby’s appetite.

-If your baby rejects a food, try it again a few days later.

Feeding Timeline

The following guidelines indicate when babies may be ready to graduate to various solid foods. Ask your pediatrician, pediatric nurse practitioner, dietitian or other health care professional for specific feeding advice.

6-7 months:  Infant cereal Introduce one type of grain at a  time. Start with rice, then try barley or oatmeal and then wheat, soy and mixed grain infant cereal. 100% fruit juice. Introduce cup.

7-8 months: Pureed or mashed vegetables; pureed or mashed fruits.

8-9 months: Pureed or ground up meat, fish, poultry, and meat alternatives
(beans, peas, lentils). Gradually change to mashed table foods without sugar, salt, seasonings, butter or margarine,  egg yolks,  plain cheese, unsweetened yogurt, cottage cheese.

9 – 12 months: May begin feeding whole milk from a cup (1% or skim
milk) after one year, Babies start to feed themselves.

By baby’s first birthday: Family foods, where solid foods make up around fifty percent of her nutrition. Continue to feed most solid foods to your baby by spoon, since you are likely to get more food into baby’s mouth than on the floor. Yet, if your baby is the “do it myself” type, finger foods may be the main fare by this time.

Enjoy the following tips:

Keep feeding times short. Remember, tiny babies still have tiny tummies. Small, frequent feedings are still the best Don’t overwhelm baby with a whole pile of food on her plate.

With formula-fed babies offer new foods in the morning. If by some chance your baby is allergic to a particular food, the intestinal upset should wear off by the end of the day.

– Choose a time of the day when you are not in a hurry,since dawdling, dabbling, spewing, spattering, smearing, and dropping are all part of the feeding game. Forget fast-feeding. Remember, meals are both a food-delivery system and a social experience. Take your time, and enjoy this new nutritional stage.

If a food is upsetting your baby?

Introduce each new food at least one week apart. If your baby has a reaction, you’ll know what to blame. If you have a family history of food allergies, keep a food diary, The most usual signs of food allergy are:

-Boating and gassing.

-A sandpaper-like raised red rash on her face.

-Runny nose and watery eyes.

-Diarrhea or mucous stools.

-Red rash around the anus (we call this the “target sign.”)

-Generally cranky behavior.

-Vomiting or increased spitting-up.

Minimize the mess

Too much food on a baby’s dish leads to two-fisted eating and major mess-making. As a physician, I encourage you to introduce neatness by scattering only a few morsels of finger foods on baby’s tray at a time and refill as she needs (but as a mother I tell you, enjoy the mess )

***

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About Mona Salama
Mona Salama is a Medical Nutrition Specialist. Parenting Counselor and hold an Ijaza in Islamic Da`wah. She Graduated from Faculty of Medicine-Cairo University.