· From birth to four months of age:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that breast milk be the only nutrient fed to infants until 4 to 6 months of age.
For mothers who do not breastfeed, infant formula can be used. Formula-fed babies may need to eat 6 to 8 times per day for a total of 16 – 35 ounces per day.
· Four to six months of age:
At this age, the baby should be consuming 28 to 45 ounces of formula per day.
· Six to eight months of age:
Solid foods can be introduced into the infant’s diet. Mother should wait until the baby has good control of the head an neck. At that point, start with a thin consistency mixture of baby rice cereal. Later, try offering strained fruits and vegetables. Infants should not be allowed to use a sippy cup for prolonged periods of time. Drinking fruit juice for a prolonged period of time will likely lead to the development of dental caries.
· Eight to twelve months of age:
By the age of one, most children should be “off the bottle.” Offer the baby strained meats at this age.
Remember, infants should not be put to sleep with a bottle containing any liquid other than water.
· One year of age:
Whole milk or 4% milk may now replace breast milk or formula. Children under the age of 2 should not be given low-fat (2% or skim) milk.
Parents should encourage their infants to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday.
· Toddlers and older children:
Do not give food that may cause your toddler to choke – such as nuts, popcorn, raisins, hot dogs, grapes, or berries.
Infants should not be put to bed with a bottle containing juice or milk. Only water should be in the bottle at bedtime!
· One to two years of age:
Toddlers should be discouraged from carrying a sippy cup. Toddlers who drink more than 12 fluid ounces of juice per day may develop tooth decay and “toddlers’ diarrhea.” Toddlers should not be drinking anymore then 4 ounces of juice a day.
Toddlers should be introduced to healthy food and snacks.
Yogurt and cheese are good calcium alternatives for children who cannot tolerated milk.
· Two years of age and up:
Aged cheese contains calcium lactate and fatty acids which help fight cavities. The calcium and phosphates in aged cheese are slow-release components which are needed for tooth remineralization. In addition, the physical form of cheese promotes salivary flow – which increases food clearance and decreases the acidic environment surrounding the teeth.