3 Frequently Asked Questions About Infant Feeding

babel · February 17, 2023
This article has been written and endorsed by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias
There are a number of frequent questions about infant feeding that are worth finding answers to in order to avoid making mistakes that may affect your child's development.

Infant feeding can produce a series of doubts for new mothers. The fact is that the nutritional needs of little ones are different and vary as they get older. At this stage, it’s key to offer a proper diet to achieve optimal development and growth, which will also prevent health problems in the future.

Before starting, it’s important to mention that exclusive breastfeeding is the best option during the first 6 months of life. If this isn’t the case, you can resort to a formula, but the labeling should always be carefully observed. Keep in mind that there are formulas that contain too many added sugars, which isn’t healthy.

These are some common doubts about infant feeding

In the following article, we’re going to show you the most frequent doubts about feeding babies. Keep in mind that there are a series of guidelines for the introduction of different foods in the complementary diet that are important to respect. Otherwise, your child could experience a greater number of allergies over the years.

A woman scooping powdered formula.
When it comes to formula products for feeding the baby, you can opt for those with hydrolyzed proteins.

1. When should you start complementary feeding?

As we’ve said, up to 6 months of life, it’s best to opt for exclusive breastfeeding. This produces a series of benefits regarding future health that have been widely evidenced. In fact, breast milk not only provides nutrients but also bioactive compounds that stimulate the functioning of the immune system. In addition, they can protect babies against the development of infections and complex diseases. If breastfeeding isn’t possible, these are the other options:

  • The use of milk banks. This way, the benefits discussed above aren’t lost.
  • Opting for infant feeding with formula. This should be the last resort, however, there are cases where it’s absolutely necessary. If you do resort to using formula, there are alternatives for all tastes on the market. There are even options with hydrolyzed proteins for those who have digestive limitations.

2. Is it better to offer puree or whole foods?

In recent years, it has become popular to follow Baby Led Weaning. This method consists of offering whole foods to the baby after the age of 6 months, always under supervision, so that they can manipulate and consume them as they like. This way, the child becomes familiar with different foods and their organoleptic characteristics, which will prevent rejection in the future.

From a nutritional point of view, this doesn’t offer very many benefits at the time. However, it’s key to maintain a varied diet over the years, so if the technique has a positive impact on adherence, it will be positive. For example, vegetables are often rejected by children. However, they contain antioxidants that have been linked to a lower risk of disease, according to a study published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

A woman breastfeeding her baby in a rocking chair.
When breastfeeding your baby, it’s best to feed on demand. This way, your little one regulates their feeding based on their appetite.

3. How much food should be given to babies?

As long as exclusive breastfeeding is offered, feedings should be on demand, unless the baby’s overweight or there’s a problem that prevents them from doing so. Once they reach the age of  6 months and solid foods are included, 3 or 4 main meals can be offered, but breastfeeding on demand will continue at any time of the day. This is because food alone won’t be able to fully meet the needs of little ones at this time.

Of course, what you shouldn’t do is force your child to eat. The mechanisms of appetite and satiety should be what set the rhythm in infant feeding. Only if the child fails to grow and gain weight should special attention should be paid to this point.

Know the frequent doubts about infant feeding

As you’ve seen, there are a number of frequent doubts related to feeding babies that you should know about. At this moment, it’s key to optimize the little one’s diet to assure the adequate growth of the child and avoid diseases in the future. But it’s not only a question of focusing on what your child eats but also transmitting good habits in general. Getting enough sleep will make a difference.

Finally, remember that if you offer whole foods to your baby, you should avoid foods that can cause choking. Always prepare them first and choose those with the most suitable texture. Supervision is also essential to avoid unnecessary scares. It’s best to start with fruit and then gradually move on to other foods.

  • Binns C, Lee M, Low WY. The Long-Term Public Health Benefits of Breastfeeding. Asia Pac J Public Health. 2016;28(1):7-14. doi:10.1177/1010539515624964
  • Neha K, Haider MR, Pathak A, Yar MS. Medicinal prospects of antioxidants: A review. Eur J Med Chem. 2019;178:687-704. doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.06.010