This parenting information is part of the "Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures" series. These fact sheets may be given out by Kaiser Permanente at routine checkups.
Breast milk is the healthiest food for your baby. Breastfeed for as long as possible.
After 12 months, you and your baby decide the best time to wean. Gradual weaning is best.
If you don't breastfeed or stop breastfeeding, use formula with iron until your baby is 12 months old. Limit to 24 ounces to increase interest in solid food.
Your baby can have many solid foods at this age. Healthy choices are fruits, veggies, cereals, meats, dairy, eggs and fish. If nut products are given, they should be pureed. All solid foods need to be pureed to prevent choking.
Babies at this age can pick up finger foods themselves so it is very important to keep hard foods like raw carrots, whole nuts, hard candies, whole hot dogs, popcorn, gum, grapes, raisins, or seeds away from your baby.
Introducing certain foods early, such as peanut products, can help prevent food allergies. This is especially true if your baby has eczema.
Feed three to four meals per day plus snacks. Offer new foods every five to seven days.
When your baby is 1 year old, you can give pasteurized whole cow's milk or fortified soy milk.
At 1 year, encourage baby to use a cup instead of the bottle.
Make sure your baby is taking a vitamin D supplement every day. Choose vitamins that don't have sugar.
Do not give your baby honey during the first year.
Breast milk or formula will be your baby's main food for the first year. After one year, you may start giving baby whole cow's milk or soy milk.
You can continue to introduce solid foods as your baby becomes ready. Help by giving soft, cooked finger food, cut into small bites.
Smoking around your child increases your child's risk of ear infections, asthma, and pneumonia.
Always wash your hands before feeding and after changing diapers.
Do not put your baby to bed with a bottle. It can cause tooth decay.
Make sure your baby's doctor checks your baby's mouth at each visit. Ask about fluoride.
Clean teeth with damp washcloth or soft toothbrush after meals and at bedtime. If your drinking water is not fluoridated, your doctor may recommend fluoride drops to prevent tooth decay.
Protect your baby's skin from sun exposure with protective clothing and sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.
Car seat: Place in the back seat facing BACKWARD. Keeping your baby in a rear-facing seat as long as possible is safest for baby. For information on choosing the safest seat for your child, see The Safety Restraint Coalition or call toll-free 1-800-BUCK-L-UP (282-5587).