• Human milk is the preferred food for infants.
  • Exclusive breastfeeding is advised for the first 6 months of life, as able.
  • Breastfeeding offers many benefits to both mother and infant.
  • Breastfeeding does not have to be "all or nothing." Human milk and iron-fortified infant formula feeding can be combined, known as mixed feeding.
  • Infants who are exclusively breastfed or mixed fed will need a vitamin D supplement (400 IU/day).
  • There are many factors that can impact the ability to breastfeed, from low milk supply to demands in the workplace. Some of these challenges cannot be prevented, but there are many tips, resources, and supports to help overcome potential barriers.

For more information on breastfeeding, including a list of resources, check out the Feeding My Infant: Breastfeeding fact sheet.

Donor Human Milk

  • If breastfeeding is not an option, expressed human milk (human milk removed either by hand or breast pump) from the infant's mother or an approved human milk bank should be considered.

More information on human milk banks can be found at: 

Infant Formulas

Person feeding an infant from a bottle.
  • If human milk is not an option, iron-fortified infant formula should be used.


Signs of Hunger and Fullness

  • Your infant should typically be fed on demand, when they show signs of hunger, unless medically advised otherwise.
  • Never force your infant to finish a bottle or food. Your infant is the best judge of how much to eat.
  • Brings hands to mouth
  • Turns head towards breast or bottle
  • Puckers, smacks, or licks lips
  • Clenches hands
  • Closes mouth
  • Turns head away from breast or bottle
  • Relaxes hands


Handling and Storing Human Milk and Infant Formula

  • Wash hands before expressing human milk
    and before preparing and feeding human
    milk or infant formula.
  • When preparing infant formula, follow the
    instructions on the formula's label. Do not
    use after the "use by" date.
  • When preparing powdered infant formula,
    make sure the water used is from a safe
  • Warm human milk or infant formula safely
    by placing it in a sealed container under
    running warm water or in a bowl of warm
    water. Do not warm in the microwave.
  • Discard leftovers after a feeding (within 2
    hours for human milk, within 1 hour for
    infant formula).
  • Clean all infant feeding supplies (such as
    bottles, nipples, and pump parts) after each
  • Refrigerate human milk within 4 hours of
    expressing and use within 4 days.
  • Refrigerate prepared infant formula within 2
    hours of preparing and use within 24 hours.
  • Use thawed, previously frozen human milk
    within 24 hours. Never refreeze thawed
    human milk.
  • Store infant formula containers indoors in a
    cool, dry, place.


Introducing Solid Foods

Solid foods are introduced to infants when they are developmentally ready. This is typically around 6 months of age and not before 4 months of age.

Signs of Readiness

  • Has control of head and neck
  • Sits up, alone or with support
  • Grasps small objects
  • Brings objects to mouth
  • Opens mouth for food
  • Swallows food, moving food to the back of
    the tongue rather than pushing it back out
    onto the chin.

For more information on introducing your infant to solids check out the Feeding My Infant: 6 to 12 Months fact sheet.

Did You Know?

Woman assisting an infant to eat from a spoon.
  • Cow's milk, plant-based milk alternatives,
    and juice should not be given until 12
    months of age.
  • Children under 12 months of age should
    never be given honey. It can cause infant
    botulism, a deadly disease.
  • Always talk to your health care provider if
    you have any questions about feeding your
A snapshot of the Feeding Infants 0-6 Months fact sheet.

Printable PDF

A printable version of the Feeding My Infant: Birth to 6 Months fact sheet can be viewed here.