Off to a nourishing start

  • Breastmilk or Iron-fortified infant formula is all the nutrition your baby needs for the first six months.
  • Feeding according to hunger and fullness cues, and not by a set schedule, is the best way to meet your baby’s nutritional needs.
  • Probiotics help support your baby’s healthy immune system.
  • DHA, a fatty acid, plays an important role in your baby’s brain and eye development.

Breastmilk is nature's perfect food. Your infant is growing at a rapid pace, and breastmilk supplies your baby's nutritional needs for the first several months of life. If you are formula-feeding, rest assured that infant formula can also provide the nutrition he needs.

Your newborn or young infant, 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.

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.

Good to know

Your breastmilk is the ideal food for your baby's nutritional needs, and will give him the best start in life.

The importance of probiotics in baby's nutrition
Probiotics are good bacteria found in breastmilk and help to increase the good bacteria in your infant's digestive tract. Your baby's digestive tract is still developing throughout the first year of life. Bacteria are a part of an ecosystem within your infant's digestive system called the microbiota. Establishing a healthy microbiota with good bacteria is important to your baby's health.

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

Experts believe that different strains of good bacteria have different health benefits. The probiotic B. lactis used in GERBER® GOOD START® Gentle for Supplementing formula supports digestive health. The probiotic L. reuteri used in GERBER® GOOD START® Soothe formula has been clinically shown to reduce crying time by 50% in colicky breastfed infants.

Examples of two probiotics added to infant formula are:

Lactobacillus reuteri, known as L. reuteri and Bifidobacterium lactis, known as Bifidus BL or B. lactis.

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 all 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. Between 4 and 6 months, the Iron your baby is born with can become depleted and should be replenished; that’s why Iron-fortified cereal is recommended as your baby's first solid food. Check with your pediatrician to find out what your baby’s nutrition and supplementation needs may be.
How was the information in this article?
The first three months
Read More
Your baby's hunger & fullness cues
Read More
Baby formula 101
Read More
Probiotics & your baby's health
Read More
How to breastfeed
The benefits of breastfeeding
Read More