Skip to main content

Other feeding issues

  • Unless your health care provider tells you otherwise, it's OK to give your baby cow's milk after her first birthday. Give your baby only whole milk until age 2. Your baby needs the extra fat in whole milk.

    Remember to talk with your health care provider about switching to 2 percent, 1 percent or skim milk at age 2.

    Check with your health care provider if you think your baby has a milk allergy.

    When to give your baby water

    You can give your baby extra water each day, but you don't need to. Give your baby spring water, distilled water, well water (if tested and has safe bacteria levels) or tap water.

    If you have a private well, have it tested for fluoride levels. Call 651-201-4600 or 1-800-383-9808 or send an email to health.wells@state.mn.us.

    Fluoride is essential for healthy teeth. Tap or city water contains fluoride. No extra fluoride is needed. If you have a well, your well water may be low on fluoride. You can consider having your water tested as your child may need special tablets or drops to provide fluoride. If you have questions, talk with your dentist or pediatrician.

    Tip

    For information about testing for fluoride levels in your water, call 651-201-4600 or 1-800-383-9808 or send an email to health.wells@state.mn.us.

    What you should know about vitamin D

    Your baby needs vitamin D to make healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D is made by skin exposure to direct sunlight. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies and young children stay out of direct sunlight when outside. This is especially true for babies younger than six months old.

    Breastmilk contains all the vitamins and minerals your baby needs, except for vitamin D. Give your baby 400 IU of a vitamin D supplement every day. You may start giving the liquid drops in the first few days of your baby's birth.

    Formula contains vitamin D in addition to the other vitamins and minerals your baby needs. Talk with your health care provider if your baby drinks less than 32 ounces of formula a day. Your baby may need a vitamin D supplement.

    When to worry about spitting up

    Your baby may spit up or vomit (throw up) after a feeding. Call your health care provider to schedule an appointment if:

    • your baby vomits three feedings in a row
    • your baby vomits with force
    • your baby vomits more than once in a while
    • your baby coughs or has extreme fussiness during feedings (because of spitting up)
    • you see blood in the vomit or if it is green in color

    Tip

    All babies spit up. This is normal.

    When to let your baby explore finger foods

    At about nine months old, your baby will be able to sit in a high chair. She will enjoy being at the table eating with your family. This is a good time for your baby to explore finger foods.

    Let your baby play with the spoon and explore different textures of food when she has developed a pinching grasp between the thumb and first finger.

    Cut up finger foods in small pieces to prevent choking.

    What to do when your baby doesn't eat much

    Between 9 and 12 months old, your baby may not eat much. This is normal. Your baby isn't growing at the same rate before her first birthday—those extra nutrients are no longer needed.

    Don't give your baby extra milk, juice or non-nutritious snacks because you think she isn't eating enough. Offer three meals a day plus healthful snacks and breastmilk or formula. Limit juice because it may keep your baby from getting hungry.

  • Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Guide for the Care of Children: Ages Birth to 5 Years Old, fifth edition. To avoid awkward sentences, instead of referring to your child as "he/she" or "him/her," this guide will alternate between "he" or she" and "him" or "her."
    Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts, including the Pediatric Department of Allina Health Coon Rapids Clinic
    First published: 02/01/2010
    Last reviewed: 01/01/2016