Everything You Need to Know About Feeding a Baby
On This Page
One of the first things you’ll learn after bringing home Baby is that eating consumes a lot of their time in their first weeks of life…and a lot of your time and energy too. Then, even after your little one stops feeding every couple of hours, questions about how and what and when to feed them still tend to take up lots of precious parental brain space.
That's where we hope our easy-to-digest guide will help. Here, we've rounded up our best resources on feeding babies to help you navigate all the questions and challenges that come with feeding a little one—whether you're breastfeeding, formula-feeding, doing a combo...or have already moved onto solids. Bon appetit!
Baby Feeding Basics
It’ll be a long time before your baby settles into the three-square-meal routine you’ve become accustomed to as a grownup. Our feeding schedule for the first year breaks down how much and how often babies need to eat between the moment they’re born until they blow out that first-birthday candle. Though…fair warning: Early on, your baby’s hunger cues—and not a clock—may be your best guide. (Learn the signs that mean your baby is hungry.)
Breastfeeding might seem like the most natural thing in the world…but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s easy. A lot of work can go into initiating and nurturing a healthy breastfeeding relationship. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of our breastfeeding advice:
- How to Prepare for Breastfeeding Success
- The Best Foods to Eat While Breastfeeding
- How to Use Dream Feeds for Better Sleep
- How to Relieve Engorged Breasts
- How to Prevent and Treat Mastitis
- What to Know About Overfeeding and Oversupply
- What to Do If Nursing Is Really Hard
- Virtual Lactation Resources
- How to Breastfeed Beyond a Year
Common Breastfeeding Questions—Answered
- What Is Nipple Confusion?
- What’s In Breastmilk, Anyway?
- Can Babies Be Allergic to Breastmilk?
- Do I Need to Pump and Dump If I Drink Alcohol?
- Is It Okay to Let Your Baby Nurse All Night?
- How Do I Know If I Have Low Milk Supply?
- Does My Baby Need Tongue-Tie Surgery?
- What Is Colostrum—and Why Is It So Important?
Pumping can be a great way to keep up your supply and/or feed your baby breastmilk when you’re not able to nurse. Problem is, it can be a real drag. Here are a few tips to make pumping suck a little less (pun intended, of course!).
Formula Feeding Guide
Just as breastfeeding isn’t as simple as putting Baby to breast and nursing, there are a few things to know before you become your baby’s own personal mixologist. First, you’ll want to pick the best formula for your baby—here’s our baby formula shopping guide.
Next, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepping and storing it correctly. Babies’ immune systems are still developing, which makes them extra-susceptible to icky bacteria that can grow if their milk isn’t properly handled. Learn how to make and store formula.
While hopefully in the future formula is readily accessible to all families who need it, here are some tips for getting through a formula shortage if your store is out of stock.
Combo Feeding Guide
Just like with all aspects of parenting, feeding a baby doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair! Combination feeding—or supplementing breastmilk with formula—provides a happy medium for many parents. Here’s how to supplement breastmilk with formula.
Whether you’re giving Baby breastmilk or formula in a bottle, perfecting your feeding technique can go a long way. Paced bottle feeding gives your baby more control over how much milk they take in—which may prevent overfeeding and tummy upset. To learn more about the benefits of paced bottle feeding and how to do it, check out our paced bottle feeding guide.
Solid Foods Guide
Congratulations—your little one is ready for solids! Breastmilk or formula will still provide the bulk of your baby’s nutrients until your kiddo’s first birthday, but by exposing your little one to lots of foods, you’ll help expand their pint-sized palate.
So, now that there’s more than just milk on the menu…what exactly should you feed your baby? Learn how and when to introduce solids to your baby. (You’ll also want to brush up on how to introduce common food allergens—including when to give your baby peanut butter.)
Purees vs. Baby-Led Weaning
For a long time, cereal—and in particular, rice cereal–was a go-to first food. However, lots of families are turning to more nutrient-dense alternatives for Baby’s earliest meals today (here’s what to know about rice cereal). Purees are still a popular option with parents (we love these puree recipes for Baby’s first food). But while there are benefits to serving homemade baby food, if firing up the blender for every meal isn’t realistic, follow these tips for picking the best store-bought baby foods.
If you’re not sold on purees, another option is baby led weaning (BLW). Unlike purees, which require a caregiver to spoon-feed a baby, baby led weaning puts little ones in the driver’s seat at mealtime with foods that are served in ways that allow babies to safely feed themselves. Learn more about baby led weaning.
The Best Solid Foods for Babies
When it first came to figuring out what to feed your baby, your choices were breastmilk or formula (or both!). Now, the seemingly infinite options might feel overwhelming. If you’re searching for inspo, check out some of these baby meal ideas:
- The Best First Finger Foods for Babies
- Best Foods for Babies 6 to 9 Months
- Best Foods for Babies 10 to 12 Months
More Solid-Food Milestones for Your Little Eater
Babies aren’t just gaining exposure to new tastes and textures by eating solids…they’re also developing new motor and social skills! Like, learning to use a spoon and fork and drinking from an open cup. And by inviting your baby into your family’s mealtime traditions you’re not just creating precious memories, you’re building the foundation for their relationship with food …and family! (Here are some easy ways to include your baby at meals).
Have questions about a Happiest Baby product? Our consultants would be happy to help! Submit your questions here.
Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.