Infant and Newborn Nutrition is the description of the dietary needs of newborns and infants. Food provides the energy and nutrients that infants need to be healthy. An adequate intake in nutrient rich food is good nutrition. An infant diet lacking essential calories, minerals, fluid and vitamins could be considered 'bad' nutrition. For a baby, breast milk is "best". It has all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Infant formulas are available for babies whose mothers are not able or decide not to breastfeed. Infants usually start eating solid foods between 4 and 6 months of age. Clinicians can be consulted to determine what is best for each baby. If a food introduced one at a time, a potential allergen can be identified. Breastfeeding can prevent allergic, atopic dermatitis, cow's milk allergy, and wheezing in early childhood. Breastfed babies have lower risks of asthma. Some foods tend to illicit allergies in young children. These include eggs, honey, peanuts (including peanut butter), other tree nuts.
When water is added to dry formula, it must come from a clean and safe water source. Watered down formula will lowers the levels of calories, vitamins and minerals the infant will ingest during each feeding. Inadequate intake of nutrients can slow the development and growth of the baby. Manufacturers include instructions on the container for safe mixing of formula. Assistance from governmental and non-governmental agencies may be available to caregivers having difficulties buying formula. Testing the temperature of the formulas will help prevent scalding the baby's mouth.