Ask the experts

Health visitors and community practitioners are asked for advice on a wide range of infant feeding topics. So how do the experts suggest you respond to these common queries?

What are the signs that a bottle-fed baby has had enough?

“Let the infant be the guide,” says freelance paediatric dietitian Tanya Thomas BSc (Hons) RD. “If the infant is satisfied and content and thriving with at least six wet nappies per day then they are likely to be getting enough. Infants shouldn’t be forced to complete feeds.”

Dr Emma Derbyshire, independent nutrition consultant and founder of Nutritional Insight Ltd, adds that if the baby has had enough, they’re likely to:

  • Be disinterested in their milk
  • Play with the bottle or flick the teat
  • Not accept the feed and keep pushing it away.

Why should cows’ milk not be given to babies aged 0-6 months?

Geraldine Goodman, community dietitian, Dietetic Department, Cumberland Infirmary, says: “Up until six months [of age] a baby’s nutrients come from breast milk or a suitable infant formula. Cows’ milk should not be given as it does not contain the correct balance of protein, vitamins and minerals that a baby needs. At six months, cows’ milk can be introduced as an ingredient in foods such as custard or sauces but it should not be given as a main drink until a baby is a year old.”

At six months, cows’ milk can be introduced as an ingredient in foods such as custard or sauces but it should not be given as a main drink until a baby is a year old

A customer says her baby is unsettled after a feed. How can I help?

Freelance paediatric dietitian, Tanya Thomas BSc (Hons) RD, says: “Has the infant taken enough feed? Do they have wind or colic? Is it non-feed related: are they tired, unstimulated, teething or unwell? In some cases, the infant may be intolerant to the feed, but check other possible reasons first before investigating this possibility further.”

Is it acceptable for a hungry breastfed baby to be topped up with formula milk before the age of six months?

”The Government advises mothers to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life,” explains Tanya. “It is acceptable for hungrier babies to be topped up with formula if that is what the mother wants. However, other avenues should be explored and exhausted first. If the infant is coming up to six months then consideration should be given to weaning rather than topping up. The Government recommends weaning at six months, and not before four months. All babies are different and some babies may be ready for first weaning solids before six months. Topping up should not be considered the norm or the ideal.”



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