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Feeding > Feeding Your 4 Month Old

Feeding Your 4 Month Old

At four months, breast milk and/or iron-fortified formula are still the main food in your baby’s diet. If he is showing signs of readiness (see below), you can start pureed foods. If your baby does not show these signs — do not start. Wait until he is ready.

This is a fantastic look at when to feed your baby solid foods from a reliable blogger, Science of Mom.

Your baby is ready for pureed foods when he:

  • Can hold his head up steadily.
  • Opens his mouth when he sees food.
  • Can sit with support in an infant seat or high chair.
  • Does not push the spoon out of his mouth with his tongue.
  • Keeps food in mouth and swallows it.
  • Can turn his head to stop a feeding.

Are vitamins recommended?

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all primarily breast fed infants and infants taking less than 33 ounces of formula take a Vitamin D supplement.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all breast fed infants begin an iron supplement, including iron rich foods, at 4 months. 
  • Vitamins for infants are available in your pharmacy in the vitamin section.
  • Vitamin D is not in breast milk. Every 8.3 ounces of formula has 100 IU. It is recommended for infants under 1 year to have 400 IU per day. If your infant has less than 33 ounces of formula per day a supplement is recommended. Skin can make it if exposed to sunlight, but no one knows how much is ideal and the risk of too much sun is great. Read more on our Vitamin D page.
  • Iron is in breast milk and term babies are born with iron stores in the liver to last 4-6 months, but many babies are deficient when tested. Because iron deficiency can cause growth and developmental problems, prevention is worth the effort. 

How much should my baby eat?

  • Breast Milk or Infant Formula: 27 to 45 ounces in 24 hours.
  • The amount of breast milk or infant formula your baby drinks will depend on how much he weighs and the amount of foods eaten. Around 6 months of age, you can expect your baby to eat 3 meals each day. Each meal may consist of about 2-4 ounces of pureed baby foods.
  • Some babies are ready for pureed foods at 4 months, but others are not ready until 6 months. Do not push your child to eat if he's not ready or desiring to eat.

What food do I start with to feed my baby?

  • Babies prefer a smooth, semi-liquid texture. As he gets older and better at swallowing, he will like a thicker, lumpier texture.
  • Use a baby size spoon to feed your baby.
  • You can offer food one to three times per day, depending on how much your baby enjoys it.
  • Previously rice cereal was recommended as a first food, but in reality the order of foods does not make that much difference. Try foods that have nutritional value, such as vegetables and meats, that your baby enjoys.
  • It is no longer seen beneficial to wait 3 days between new foods. You can start more than one food in a day, as long as it is not one of the highly allergenic foods (egg, nuts, fish).
  • It is now considered acceptable to give the more highly allergenic foods at earlier ages once babies are on most other foods.
  • Do not give any textures that baby will choke on.
  • Do not give honey before 1 year of age.
  • You can purchase pureed infant foods or make your own foods with a food processor.
  • Feed your baby foods from a spoon and liquids from a bottle.  Never use an “infant feeder” syringe bottle.
  • For more on first foods, see Starting Solids-- The Old and the New and the Myths.

When should I offer juice?

Babies do not need juice at any age. Wait until your baby is at least 1 year old before offering juice.

Feeding tips

  • Let your baby decide how much he wants to eat. Never force your baby to eat more than he wants.
  • Meal times will be messy. Have fun! Don’t expect a lot. Most of your baby’s nutrition will still come from formula or breast milk. Be patient. Give him time to practice eating with a spoon.
  • If he doesn’t like a food, try again later. Some babies have to taste a food for 20 times before they decide they like it.
  • Feed your baby in an infant car seat or a high-chair using towels for support. Infants can choke easily and should be watched closely while eating.
  • Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle of breast milk or formula. It may lead to tooth decay. Wipe teeth down with a cloth or baby toothbrush and water or baby toothpaste twice a day.

How do I keep baby foods safe?

Always be sure to wash your hands before making your baby’s food.
Take the amount of food from the container that you want to feed your baby into a small dish.  Feed your baby from this food. Throw any food not eaten at this feeding away.
Refrigerate the remaining food in the jar for up to 2 days. Dipping the spoon back in the jar after it has been in your infant’s mouth will cause bacteria to grow and make the food unsafe.
Check “use by” dates on baby food. If the date has passed, throw it out.
Don’t heat baby foods in the microwave. The heat is uneven and can have “hot spots” that can burn your baby’s mouth.

Can I make my own baby food?

Homemade baby foods are easy to make, can save you money, and increase the variety of foods for your baby. There is no need to add salt or sugar to your baby’s food. Babies will learn to enjoy the flavors of the food itself if you don't add salt or sugar. 
 

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