Receiving nutrition through food is an important aspect of a newborn's health. Medical professionals agree that the best baby food for a newborn is breast milk from his mother, but a newborn can also receive the nutrition it needs from a formula designed for a newborn. Both types of baby food for a newborn have advantages and disadvantages depending on the lifestyle of the parents and other caregivers. An infant typically will not be introduced to solid baby food until he is between four and six months of age.
After a baby is born, he will need to be fed in order to grow and thrive. A newborn should never be given solid foods, so for the first few months of life, baby food for a newborn consists of either breast milk or formula. Doctors and nurses usually recommend that a newborn be breastfed due to the health benefits that breast milk provides for a baby. Breast milk has every nutrient that a newborn baby needs, and it also contains antibodies which can help protect a newborn's sensitive immune system. Many babies have delicate stomachs, but breast milk breaks down easily in a baby's stomach and is easily digestible.
While breastfeeding is highly recommended, it may not be a viable option for all new mothers. A breastfed newborn will need to be breastfed every two to three hours for the first couple of months of life, which can be difficult for mothers that must return to work outside the home or be away from their baby for long periods of time. If a mother is dedicated to breastfeeding she may purchase a breast pump to express her milk into bottles when she can't be with her baby. Some medications can be passed through breast milk, so a mother who must take an unsafe medication should not offer breast milk as baby food for a newborn.
Scientists have created a number of infant formulas that can be fed to a newborn in place of breast milk. While it does not have all of the benefits that breast milk has, formula contains the nutrients that a baby needs to be healthy and grow. Using formula as baby food for a newborn is the best option for mothers who have a low supply or breast milk, or are unable to breastfeed their newborn. When a newborn is fed formula, the baby's father and other caregivers may assist in feedings.