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Infant Feeding & Lactation

Good nutrition and strong feeding skills are important to baby’s growth. Feeding is more than just eating or drinking. Feeding with good nutrition helps babies grow, develop and thrive. Establishing successful feeding during infancy is foundational for transition to solid foods, achieving developmental milestones and continued growth.

Infant feeding includes breast or bottle feeding and enteral feeding, with the intent to transition to feeding by mouth. The baby may be primarily consuming breast milk or formula. A baby will go through many stages of feeding development. All of them are important to their growth!

Feeding Milestones for 0-6 Months

  • Latches onto nipple or bottle
  • Tongue moves forward and back to suck
  • Drinks 2 to 6 oz. of liquid per feeding
  • Sucks and swallows well during feeding
  • No signs of distress
  • Causes no pain to mother, if direct breastfeeding

Feeding Milestones for 4-6 Months

  • Can sit up in a high chair
  • Has good head control
  • Showing an interest in table foods

Possible Signs for Feeding Issues

  • Negative feeding experience
  • Cannot latch onto a breast or bottle
  • Sucks in light, quick motions rather than taking deep, regular sucks
  • Frequent spitting up after feeds
  • Appears hungry shortly after feed
  • Uncomfortable during feeding (stiff or arching of body)
  • Not following baby’s own growth curve
  • Unusually short or long feeds
  • Significant leakage of milk during feed
  • Gagging
  • Coughing or choking during feed
  • Frequent respiratory illness

If you have concerns regarding infant feeding, speak with your healthcare provider about a consult with an occupational therapist and lactation consultant.