Feed your baby on demand

Feed your baby on demand

Babies need to eat often to keep up with rapid growth

Lucille Beseler, RDN

Is co-author of Nurturing with Nutrition and a former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics representing over 100,000 Nutrition professionals, while also active as a clinical dietitian in South Florida.

Article in collaboration with: Melanie Bazarte, PhD

Why your baby must be fed every time he/she is hungry   

Most babies double their birth weight by 6 months and triple their birth weight by their first birthdays. Feeding your baby on demand, every time he is hungry, is important for his growth and development.

Babies' stomachs are small and empty quickly. Their hunger pangs are intense and painful which causes them to cry.  If they swallow air, it creates gas which causes more pain.

Each baby's schedule will vary. It is not uncommon for newborns, especially breastfed (breast milk is digested rapidly), to feed every two hours.

Feed your baby on demand

Tips for on-demand feeding:

  • Babies need to be fed on demand, and for as long as they want. 
  • Babies tend to plump up their first six months (that's where we get the term "baby fat"). They slim down when they start to move around.
  • Feeding on demand, as much as the baby wants, is a primary way of building the baby's sense of trust and self-worth.
  • If hungry babies are consistently fed when they are hungry, their attitudes about food and feeding will ultimately be affected positively.

Adapted from Nurturing with Nutrition by Dr. Melanie Bezarte and Lucille Beseler, RDN

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