Your Baby's Nutritional Needs

Newborn (0-4 months)
By Gerber

Nourishing Start

Your baby, whether breast- or formula-fed, should be fed in response to his own hunger and fullness cues, not by a clock. This approach will ensure that your baby's nutritional needs are met.

Some of baby’s nutritional needs

  • Calories — Between birth and 3 to 4 months, babies need, on average, about 550 calories a day.
  • Protein — The building blocks for muscles.
  • Calcium — Builds the foundation for bone structure; Magnesium, Phosphorous and Vitamin C also help with bone development.
  • Vitamin D — Helps absorb Calcium to promote healthy bone growth.
  • B Vitamins — Helps turn calories into usable energy.
  • Iron and Iodine — Critical for brain development and for creating healthy red blood cells.
  • Vitamins A, E, C, & Zinc — Helps support the developing immune system.
  • DHA — An important fatty acid for the brain and eye development.

The importance of probiotics

Probiotics are good bacteria found in breastmilk that help support digestive health. Bacteria are a part of an ecosystem within your infant's digestive system called the microbiota. Establishing a healthy, balanced microbiota is important to your baby's health.

Probiotics, or good bacteria, are sometimes added to infant formulas, such as B. lactis and L. reuteri.

The probiotic B. lactis supports digestive health. The probiotic L. reuteri has been clinically shown to reduce crying time by 50% in colicky breastfed infants.

Fatty acids and baby's nutritional needs

Did you know that fat makes up 60% of the human brain? One fatty acid plays an important role in supporting your baby’s brain and eye development: DHA (docosahexaenoic). If you’re breastfeeding, your baby can naturally get this from your milk depending on your diet. If you’re formula-feeding, your baby may benefit from the added DHA that can be found in infant formulas.

Is supplementation necessary?

Breastmilk and infant formula can provide most of the nutrients your baby needs until about 4 to 6 months. If you’re breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends supplements of 400 IU per day of Vitamin D for infants starting at birth. Between 4 and 6 months, the iron your baby is born with can become depleted and should be replenished; that’s why iron-rich baby cereal is recommended as your baby's first solid food and should be fed to your baby throughout the first year. Check with your pediatrician to find out what your baby’s nutrition and supplementation needs may be.