Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Babies Who Need Special Nutrition

Babies who were born early (before 37 weeks) or at a low birth weight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces) need special nutrition to help them catch up on growth. Breast-fed babies may get a fortifier added to the milk, which contains:

  • Extra calories
  • Extra fat
  • Protein
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

Babies who can't breast-feed will need a special formula made for preterm babies. These formulas are higher in calories. They also contain extra protein, vitamins, and minerals.

What to Avoid

One thing you don't want to give your baby during the first 12 months is whole cow's milk. It doesn't have enough iron, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids for your baby. Also, it contains too much protein, sodium, and potassium for your child's body to absorb and can cause harm. Wait to introduce cow's milk until your baby is 1 year old.

You also don't want to give your baby soy milk or homemade formula. These substitutes may not have the balance of nutrition baby needs right now.