Cooperative Extension Service • College of Agriculture and Home Economics
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Feeding Your Baby:
The First Year
Revised by Martha Archuleta
Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist
This publication is scheduled to be updated and reissued 3/10.
How you feed a baby through its first year teaches
the baby some important lessons. The baby learns
to trust those who provide the comfort and security
of food, forming a tight bond with the parent or
caregiver. Also, caregivers who are sensitive to a
baby’s nutritional needs provide a firm foundation
for sound eating habits as the child grows. This
guide tells you how and what to feed your baby
through the first year.
How to Feed a Baby: 0 to 6 months old
Newborns signal hunger by restless squirming or
crying. Infants who are picked up and fed as soon
as they show these signs actually cry less than those
allowed to fuss longer.
Offer either breast milk or formula on demand.
Allow an infant to breast-feed as long as he chooses,
usually about 20 minutes. Infants will suck con-
tinuously and then rest for a few seconds before
Breastfeeding should be a calm, smooth, uninter-
rupted process. It shouldn’t hurt. If it does, you
may simply be holding the baby improperly. Check
with your doctor or the hospital where you gave
birth to find a nurse who is specially trained to help
with breastfeeding. Try not to jiggle or otherwise
distract an infant from the feeding process.
Hold the infant while she’s feeding—leaving an
infant to feed alone from a propped-up bottle re-
duces opportunities for you to form a close bond.
Whether breast- or bottle-feeding, hold the infant
securely and comfortably, allowing her enough
freedom to move her legs and arms. Make sure her
neck is straight and she can look into your face.
Burp the infant to relieve swallowed air after