Our section on Breastfeeding offers more information about breastfeeding, lists online and local resources, and explains how to make an appointment with one of our lactation specialists. Learn More > >

General Infant Feeding

Infants differ in food requirements. The proper amount is that which satisfies your baby. Do not attempt to keep to a rigid schedule. Generally, infants should be fed when they are hungry, every 2-5 hours. Allow your baby to awaken sufficiently before feeding. Playing or crying after awakening will assist an infant to awaken completely. Change the diaper, if it is soiled, before feeding. Burp your child 2-3 times during each feeding.


We encourage breastfeeding for the first year of life. Breastmilk provides excellent nutrition, helps prevent illness and is inexpensive. Before feeding, find a comfortable place for yourself with an arm support and back rest. Wash your hands with soap and water and clean your nipples with water only. Hold your baby to your breast gently, but firmly, with the infant’s head and whole body facing toward you. Allow your baby to root for and grasp the whole nipple in his mouth. Do not force the nipple into your baby’s mouth.

During the first week of life, some breastfed infants fall asleep after feeding for a short time. Such babies may wake up to eat every 45-60 minutes. If falling asleep at the breast occurs, one can gently press the baby’s face into the breast, tickle the feet or rub along the child’s spine. Awakening the infant to take a full feeding will allow the mother to rest between feedings and avoid nipple soreness. After four days of age, if breastfeeding does not seem to be satisfying your infant or if you have excessively sore nipples, please make an appointment to see your pediatrician. Early counsel by a pediatrician can improve the effectiveness and comfort of your breastfeeding and increase your milk supply.

During the first few months of life, children often experience unexpected changes in their feeding pattern. This occurs in breastfed as well as bottlefed infants. The child will appear very hungry and will want to eat every 1-2 hours instead of the usual pattern. Some nursing mothers may fear that they do not have enough milk or that they have “lost” their milk and be tempted to start formula or even solid foods. This is not necessary. It is important to understand that the child’s new pattern of breastfeeding is increasing the milk supply to meet the demands of a new growth spurt. Within a few days, when the milk supply has increased, the feeding pattern will return to normal.

Drugs in Breastmilk

Please tell any physician who prescribes you medication that you are breastfeeding. Most medications you take will be transmitted in small amounts into the breastmilk. Most will not appear in large enough amounts in the milk to cause any effect on your child.

The following medications should not be given to a breastfeeding mother:
Amethopterin Phenindione
Bromocriptine Metronidazole (Flagyl)
Cyclophosphamide Radioactive Drugs

Other drugs have also been reported to cause adverse affects on breastmilk production or on the baby. If you have questions, please call your pediatrician.

The Breastfeeding Mother’s Diet

You should eat a good balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat three meals a day and drink plenty of fluids. Let your natural hunger be the gauge of how much you eat. Some recommend a glass of fluid with each nursing. It is important not to overly restrict fat in your diet as fat is a key source of calories for your baby.

There is little research data to support the avoidance of certain foods which traditionally have been said to cause fussiness, intestinal gas, and colic in infants. However, if your child suffers from such problems, you may wish to avoid cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, chocolate, onions, garlic, caffeinated or carbonated drinks, spicy foods, or more than 24 oz. of milk per day. If your child has a consistent pattern of fussiness after you eat a certain food, it would be best to avoid that food.

Formula Feeding

If you formula feed your child, we recommend you use a formula with iron. Formula should be prepared with clean tap water according to the instructions on the container. Be sure to clean the bottle well before filling it with formula. Keep prepared formula in the refrigerator until use. Discard unused prepared formula after 24 hours.

Formula should be fed at a temperature your baby prefers. Before feeding, invert the full bottle. Milk should drip from the nipple without shaking. If this does not occur, you may enlarge the hole with a hot needle or a razor blade. If the milk pours out in a stream, the hole is too large. Support your infant’s head while bottle feeding. Hold the bottle so that the nipple and bottle neck are always full. This keeps your child from swallowing air. A 6-8 pound child needs 2 1/2 ounces of formula per pound, or about 20 ounces per day. A 10 pound child needs 25 ounces and a 12 pound child needs 30 ounces per day.


Breastmilk and formulas usually contain all the vitamins an infant needs. If you desire, a vitamin supplement containing vitamins A, C & D (such as Tri-Vi-Sol) can be purchased without a prescription.

Fluoride Supplementation

Most of the State of Utah has low levels of fluoride in the drinking water. Fluoride supplementation is recommended in these areas from six months until 16 years of age. This supplementation, when used with regular brushing, flossing and dental check ups, can reduce cavities 65-80%. A prescription for fluoride may be obtained from your pediatrician after your child reaches six months of age.

Solid Foods

Instruction on the introduction of solid foods will be given by your pediatrician during regular well child examination visits. Breastmilk and formula provide all the nutrients a child requires during the first months of life. The introduction of solid foods must be individualized to a child’s needs. Solid foods are not usually started before four months of age. Some infants may not need solid foods until six months of age.


Your baby will receive all the water his body requires from breastmilk or formula. Do not force your baby to take water. Thirst is a good indication of an infant’s needs. If water is offered, use clean tap water.

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