Nutrition and Breastfeeding

Breastmilk is the optimal food for almost all infants regardless of gestational age. Health Canada recommends breastfeeding for the first 6 months, with continued breastfeeding for up to 2 years.

Breastfeeding - Oral feeding readiness cues

Your baby will show feeding cues when they are ready to eat. 

Early cues are:

  • Stirring
  • Mouth opening
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Rooting or turning towards your breast
  • Sucking and licking movements
  • Hand-to-mouth movements
  • Restlessness
  • Crying is a late feeding cue. Calming your baby with skin-to-skin time may help settle them for feeding
    Bowel, bladder patterns

New babies after 6 days, have 6-8 wet diapers a day. The urine is a pale yellow colour and has no smell. Wet diapers usually feel heavier than dry diapers.

Breastfed babies usually have 2-5 yellow seedy bowel movements a day. Formula fed babies have 1-2 greyish/beige soft stools a day.

Call your healthcare provider if your baby has any of the following:

  • Less than 6 wet diapers in a 24 hour period
  • A bowel movement is hard or has blood with it
  • Your baby has 3 or more very wet watery bowel movements in one day

Iron needs of babies

Iron is a mineral that helps to form hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the body. Babies and children need iron for their brains to develop normally.

Vitamin D

Babies need vitamin D for healthy growth and development. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium.


Deciding how to feed your baby is a very important decision. You need to have all the information to make the best decision for you and your baby.

  • Visit the Middlesex London Health Unit ‘Infant Formula’ web page.