Mixing baby food with formula

Formula Feeding FAQs: Starting Solids and Milk (for Parents)

Whether you plan to formula feed your baby from the start, want to supplement your breast milk with formula, or are switching from breast milk to formula, you probably have questions.

Here are answers to some common questions about formula feeding.

When Can My Baby Try Solid Foods?

Doctors recommend waiting until your baby is about 6 months old to start solid foods. Some babies may be ready for solids sooner than 6 months, but wait until your baby is at least 4 months old.

Babies who are ready to eat solids foods:

  • are interested in foods (for example, they may watch others eat, reach for food, and open their mouths when food is near)
  • hold up their heads well, and sit up with little or no help
  • don't push food of their mouth (which is a natural tongue reflex that disappears when babies are 4–6 months old)
  • usually weigh twice their birth weight, or close to it

Talk to your doctor about the right time to start solid foods.

How Do I Introduce Solid Foods?

When the time is right, start with a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal. Start with 1 or 2 tablespoons of cereal mixed with breast milk, formula, or water. Feed your baby with a small baby spoon. Don’t add cereal to a baby's bottle unless your doctor recommends it.

When your baby gets the hang of eating the first food, introduce other foods from all food groups, such as puréed meats, fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and yogurt. Wait a few days between introducing new foods to make sure your baby doesn't have an allergic reaction.

You can include foods that are more likely to cause allergies — such as peanuts, eggs, cow’s milk, seafood, nuts, wheat, and soy — among the foods you introduce to your infant. Waiting to start these foods does not prevent food allergies.

Talk to your doctor before giving foods that contain peanuts if your baby has severe eczema or an egg allergy, as these conditions make an allergy to peanuts more likely. Eating peanut-containing foods early on may lower a child’s chances of developing a peanut allergy. But your doctor will need to decide if you can give peanuts to your baby, and the safest way to do it. Usually, this requires allergy tests.

Should We Avoid Some Foods?

Yes, don’t give your baby:

  • foods with added sugars or no-calorie sweeteners
  • high-sodium foods
  • honey until after the first birthday. It can cause botulism in babies.
  • unpasteurized juice, milk, yogurt, or cheese
  • regular cow's milk or soy beverages instead of breast milk or formula before 12 months. It’s OK to offer pasteurized yogurt and cheese.
  • foods that may cause choking, such as hot dogs, raw carrots, grapes, popcorn, and nuts

Always supervise your child when eating. Make sure your child is sitting up in high chair or other safe place.

When Can My Baby Have Cow's Milk?

Before their first birthday, babies still need the nutrients in breast milk or formula. But after that, they’re ready to switch to cow's milk.

Most kids under age 2 should drink whole milk. If a toddler is overweight or there is a family history of obesity, high cholesterol, or heart problems, your doctor might recommend switching to reduced fat (2%) milk.

If your child can’t drink cow’s milk, choose an unsweetened soy beverage fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Other milk alternatives, like almond, oat, rice, or coconut milk, have less protein and may not be fortified.

How Do We Switch to Cow’s Milk?

You can switch your baby from formula to whole milk by replace bottles of formula with bottles — or sippy cups — of milk. By 1 year old, your baby should be eating a variety of solid foods and drinking about 16 to 24 ounces (480–720 milliliters) of milk per day.

When Can I Start Giving My Baby Water and Other Drinks?

In their first 6 months, healthy babies drinking enough formula usually don't need extra water. Once your baby is eating solid foods, you can offer a small amount of water between feedings, up to 4–8 ounces a day.  

Water that has fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. If your water does not have fluoride, talk to your doctor or dentist about fluoride drops.

Do not give juice to babies younger than 12 months. After your child’s first birthday, limit 100% fruit juice to no more than 4 ounces a day. Always serve juice in a cup, not in a bottle. Don’t give your child sugar-sweetened beverages, including soda, juice drinks, sports drinks, and flavored milks.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

Date reviewed: November 2021

Introducing Solid Foods - When to Start Baby Food

In her new world of tastes and textures, how can you have a smooth transition?

There will come a point when you know it’s time to start building up your baby’s diet. For some moms who have only breastfed, this might mean incorporating baby formula as a supplementation option. If this is your plan, check out our Supplementing Basics guide.

The bigger change is when you begin introducing solid foods.This is a fun time for you and your baby, as many new tastes, textures, and flavors are now on her menu.The following information may help make the transition to solid foods go as smoothly as possible. 

As always, talk to your healthcare professional before you begin any changes in your child’s diet.  

Introducing solids: when and how do you begin?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, solid foods can be introduced when your baby is about 6 months old. This is the age when a baby learns to use her tongue to move food back to her throat and her mouth muscles are developed enough to let her swallow solid foods.  

A helpful idea for making your baby’s first solid-food experience easier is to mix cereal with your breast milk or baby formula. In a bowl or cup, mix 4 to 5 tablespoons of breast milk—or a baby formula like Similac Pro-Advance®with 1 to 2 tablespoons of a single-grain cereal.  You’ll want to warm it up, but always test the temperature before feeding.  

These tips might help, too: 

  • To first get your baby to start on solid foods, try giving them to her at only one feeding each day. If she is not interested, try it again in a few days until she is. 
  • Choose a time of day that is the least stressful for you and when your baby isn’t extremely hungry. Many parents find midmorning or midafternoon an ideal time. 

Stage 1 solids: baby’s first bites

When first feeding your little one solid foods, take baby steps by offering her only one new food at a time. She will let you know how much she wants to eat and what she likes and dislikes as you go along. It’s best to begin with single-ingredient foods and wait 3 to 5 days before adding each new food. This will help you confirm or dismiss any concern about allergies.

Most pediatricians recommend starting your baby on a single-grain cereal or pureed meat, as they contain important nutrients. Once she’s comfortable with a first food, you can decide when you’re both ready to move on to other single-ingredient foods, such as a stage 1 jarred baby food. 

You’ll know baby is ready for single-grain cereals once she’s about 6 months of age and can:

  • Sit with support 
  • Hold her head up and turn away when full 
  • Take food from a spoon and learn to swallow 

Start with a small amount of cereal and increase it gradually—even a teaspoonful is enough for some beginners. A good early start plan is 4 to 5 tablespoons of beast milk or  Similac® formula mixed in a bowl with 1 to 2 tablespoons of rice cereal. 

Suggestions for successful cereal feeding:

  • During the first few feedings, babies usually respond best to a thinner consistency. 
  • Put a small amount of warm cereal on the tip of a rubber-coated spoon and place it in your baby's mouth. Don’t be surprised if at first the food comes right back out. Her instinct is to use the same mouth and tongue movements as she did when nursing or sucking from a bottle.
  • As your baby transitions from a totally liquid diet of breast milk or formula, she might not swallow much at first. 
  • As she gets used to eating from a spoon, you can gradually increase the amount and consistency, offering two or three feedings a day.

Tips for introducing single-ingredient jarred foods to your baby 

When introducing single-ingredient jarred baby foods, here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind:

  • Introduce one new food at a time over the course of 3 to 5 days to watch out for food allergies 
  • Start with a small amount of food and increase gradually—even a teaspoonful is enough for some beginners
  • Do not feed your baby directly from the jar, as bacteria from her saliva will deteriorate the food
  • Only feed your baby when she’s sitting up 

STAGE 2: combination foods add variety to mealtime

Now that your baby is eating single-ingredient foods regularly, she probably wants to try a combination of foods for added variety and flavor.  Stage 2 baby foods are made with two or more ingredients and are roughly pureed or blended to be of a thicker consistency than stage 1. While stage 1 is mostly fruits and veggies, stage 2 foods might incorporate meat, grains, or legumes. 

You’ll know if she’s ready for combination foods if she’s about 6 months old and:

  • Sits well without support
  • Keeps her head upright while sitting 
  • Eats a wide variety of single-ingredient foods 
  • Eats solid foods about 3 times a day

Introducing combination foods to your baby 

The first step is to always check the ingredients of any food you seek to introduce. If your baby was sensitive to any single food, make sure it’s not a part of your food combinations. And:

  • Introduce only one new ingredient at a time. Wait 3 to 5 days before introducing any other new foods to check for allergies. 
  • Maintain single foods in your baby's diet. Feed her a favorite single-grain cereal from time to time for variety.
  • During her first year, include your breast milk or Similac® formula at each mealtime. It is a vital part of your baby's diet. 
  • Don’t worry if your baby refuses to eat, is fussy, or turns away. Try again later. 

What if your baby seems to dislike some foods?

Your baby may make a face or literally turn her nose up at some foods you offer. This usually doesn’t mean she dislikes the food. She’ll simply need time to adjust to this new taste on her tongue.  

To help, use any new food as her first bite of solids for a few days. The first day, she might make a face and spit the food out. The second day, she will usually swallow the first bite, but might refuse the second. Patiently continue this pattern and she’ll most likely develop a taste for any new food, including strong-tasting veggies. 

Stage 3 baby food: nutrition by addition

Every baby is different; but, from about the age of 8 months, your baby should be ready for you to keep adding interesting new foods to her diet—foods with more complex tastes and textures.  Almost anything goes at this stage as long as the food is in small pieces and/or cooked until very soft to make it easy to chew. 

Here are a few basic signs for knowing if your baby is ready for complex tastes: 

  • She can pull up from a sitting to a standing position 
  • She can walk by holding onto furniture 
  • She wants to eat with her fingers 
  • She mashes food well with her gums or teeth 
  • She enjoys a variety of tastes and textures 

Noticing a yellow tinge to your baby's skin?

Sometimes as you introduce colorful new foods to your little one’s diet, you may notice her skin taking on a yellow tinge. Check with your healthcare professional, but usually this is a harmless condition known as carotenemia. As little as 2 tablespoons of pureed carrots every day for 5 to 7 weeks can cause a baby’s skin color to change in this way. It will usually go away if you stop feeding carotene-rich foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and peaches for a few days.

Keep your nutritional guard up

As your growing baby’s diet continues to become more complex, make sure it’s also staying complete in its nutritional value. Toddler formulas like Go & Grow by Similac® can help balance your toddler’s diet as you begin to serve her table foods.

See our Balanced Toddler Nutrition page 

Feeding your baby solid foods: what are the DOs and DON’Ts?

Talking is still months away, but your baby might be telling you things with her feeding signals. The following DOs and DON’Ts will help clue you in on baby’s mealtime needs and make the transition to solid foods as easy as possible for both of you. 

When getting your baby started with solids… 

DO  remember that breast milk or Similac infant formula is still your baby's main source of nutrition for the first full year.    

DON'T  start solid foods earlier than about 4 months old, unless your healthcare professional tells you otherwise.   

For mealtime success with your baby… 

DO  make sure your baby is hungry, but not overly so. A small "appetizer" of breast milk or Similac formula before feeding solids is recommended. Select a time of day that is the least stressful for you, and make sure you have plenty of time.   

DO  keep a sense of humor. Early feedings can be unproductive, challenging, and messy—but also entertaining. 

To recognize signs of hunger and fullness in your baby…

DO  learn your baby's signals. Feed her when you see she eagerly swallows every bite, follows the spoon with her eyes, and becomes impatient for more.   

DON'T  continue feeding your baby if she turns her head away, refuses to open her mouth, or cries when you try feeding her. 

To add new ingredients and foods…

DO  wait 3 to 5 days to add each new food to your baby's diet so you can detect any allergic reaction your baby might have to a certain food. If your baby is fussy after eating a specific food, you can find help by troubleshooting the problem with our Tummy Trouble Tool.

DON'T  season your baby’s food. Babies do not need added salt or sugar.

Baby feeding methods…

DO  serve baby food from a small bowl. Feeding directly from a jar can encourage bacteria growth, and your baby's saliva can make the food watery.    

DON'T  put your baby to bed with a bottle. This can promote "baby-bottle mouth," a form of tooth decay.    

DO  gently stir and test the temperature of any food from the microwave before serving. Make sure the temperature is warm, not hot.    

DON'T  feed cereals or other solid foods through a bottle, unless your healthcare professional directs you to do so. Cereal in a bottle might cause your baby to gag or choke.    

DON'T  feed your baby in a reclining position because of the danger of gagging or choking.  

Baby & toddler nutrition recommendations 


Young Toddlers   

Older Toddlers   


0-6 months  

6-12 months 

1-2 years  

2-3 years  

3-5 years  

Infant formula/breast milk  





Early solid food  

Solid foods, milk, water  



Toddler formula  






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Can infant formulas be mixed - Children

Alex Safman

  • 3 minutes to read

The answer to the question posed in the title of the article, is it possible to mix baby formulas, any experienced doctor will give an unambiguous answer - mixing in one bottle is unacceptable! The need to give a child two different adapted formulas during one feeding may only be necessary for a very short period, in the event that a change in the diet of a formula-fed child needs to be made. For example, for some reason, the Nutrilon milk formula did not fit, caused an allergic reaction or negative symptoms from the gastrointestinal tract, and the pediatrician recommended semper baby food. In this case, it is necessary to carry out the transition from one to the other gradually.

For a child who is bottle-fed, a sharp change in diet and mixing products from different manufacturers is unacceptable. If you immediately and completely replace one brand of nutrition with another, this can cause indigestion or an allergic reaction.

A new mixture in the children's menu must be introduced competently and gradually, starting with a small volume and gradually increasing its amount in the diet.

A new mixture should be introduced little by little, giving it to the child in a separate bottle in a small amount. Gradually, from feeding to feeding, the amount of the new must be increased, and the old must be reduced.

Transition schemes from one adapted mixture to another

You can use one of the schemes proposed by doctors for introducing a new adapted mixture into the children's diet.

The first scheme is as follows:

  • Day 1 - give the child 10 ml of new food once.
  • Day 2 - give three times, during three feedings to the child, 10 ml each - a total of 30 ml during the day.
  • Day 3 - give three times, during three feedings to the child, 20 ml each - a total of 60 ml during the day.
  • Day 4 - give five times, during five feedings to the child, 50 ml each - a total of 250 ml during the day.
  • Day 5 - give four times, during four feedings to the child, 10 ml each - a total of 400 mm during the day.
  • Day 6 - give five times, for five feedings of 150 ml - a total of 750 ml per day.
  • Day 7 - completely switch to a new product.

The second possible scheme for the introduction of new nutrition:

  • Day 1 - add 5 ml of the new product to 1 feeding in the afternoon.
  • Day 2 - add 20 ml of the new product to the same feeding in the afternoon.
  • Day 3 - add 40 ml of the new product to the same feeding in the afternoon.
  • Day 4 - Replace 40 ml of new mixture with 40 ml of old every second feeding.
  • Day 5 - Replace 40 ml of old formula with 40 ml of new formula at each feeding.
  • Day 6 - fully feed the baby with a new product.
  • In this way, in a week the child will completely switch to a new diet.

The third version of the scheme.

  • 1-2 days - once 10 ml.
  • Day 3 - three times 30 ml.
  • Day 4 - 3 times 50 ml.
  • Day 5 - 3 times 60 ml
  • Day 6 - 4 times 100 ml
  • Day 7 - 4 times 150 ml
  • Day 8 - 5 times 200 ml
  • Day 9 - complete replacement.

In the process of implementing any of the proposed schemes for the transition to a new diet, it is imperative to prepare the mixture in different bottles. During feeding, first the child is given a new composition, and then the old one, because, having eaten the usual food, he will not be hungry and may refuse a product with an unusual taste for him.

When replacing 1-3 feedings, it is preferable to give a new product during the day, leaving the old mixture for the morning and night, so that possible problems in the gastrointestinal tract after eating an unusual diet do not prevent the baby from sleeping normally at night.

If the child is not on artificial, but on joint feeding, that is, the lack of breast milk is only partially replenished with an artificial mixture, then to switch to a new product in the first days it is given once, and in all subsequent days three times.

Of course, every responsible mother understands that there is nothing better for children's health than breastfeeding. But if for one reason or another it is necessary to artificially feed a child, then it is recommended to choose only adapted mixtures for this, preferably imported. You should not use, for example, the Russian mixture Agusha, the composition of which is not sufficiently adapted to fully replace breast milk.

  • one

Review of machines for preparing a children's mixture




feeding and sleep


Julia Zhilina

Julia Zhilina 9000 We write a lot about how to breastfeed and still get enough sleep. But don't formula-fed babies have trouble sleeping? When a baby on IV wants to eat, mom needs to get up, heat water, prepare a bottle of formula. If you linger with this process, the child may burst into tears. And if bottle warmers have been known for a long time, then who can prepare the mixture instead of mom and dad?

It turns out that there is a solution for this situation too! In this review, we have put together devices for preparing infant formula. So far there are not many of them on the market, but we will monitor the appearance of new ones and add them to this review.

Baby Crisis Calendar

Infant Formula Machines

Agu Baby Häppi Shaker

This is the most popular machine that can prepare formula by measuring certain proportions and temperature as recommended by the formula manufacturer. The machine is controlled both using the display and through a mobile application.

The flow heating system heats water in seconds and prevents the development of dangerous microorganisms in the water. The amount of water and mixture spoons can be selected manually on the machine's display. And you can register in the AGU app, where there is a database of the most famous formulas for artificial feeding. In the app, you can set the desired parameters for preparing a bottle according to the age of the baby, and at night, just open the app on your phone and instruct the machine to prepare a bottle.

Baby Brezza FORMULA PRO Advanced

Similar infant formula machine. Manufacturers write that any mixture can be used with it, any bottles from 60 to 300 ml. The bottle tray is adjustable in height. The device prepares infant formula without air bubbles. The dry mixture can be poured with a margin into a special compartment that does not allow air to pass through, it holds about 700 grams. The water tank is designed for 1.5 liters.


The water tank capacity of this machine is 1. 8 liters. Compartment for a mixture of 390 gr. The bottle holder is height adjustable. Removable parts can be washed in the dishwasher. The manufacturer promises that the bottle will be ready in 20 seconds. The built-in mixing system allows you to prepare a drink without lumps. The manufacturer does not recommend the use of the formula maker for premature or low birth weight infants. It is also not recommended to use mixtures with a thickener, goat's milk, rice proteins, a large amount of maltodextrin and vegetable oils. With these mixtures, the device can become clogged.


Moms on the net appreciated the convenience of this device: it is enough to set up the device in advance, fill in the mixture, pour water, select the mode, and at night you only need to press 1 button to prepare a bottle - and in 10 seconds everything will be ready. This compact device can be placed on the bedside table near the bed. In standby mode, it works silently. Ocub always maintains a tank temperature of 45°C and the final mix temperature will be 37°C. This machine fits standard bottles with a neck diameter of 40 mm.

The reviews say that machines do not always measure the correct amount of the mixture. The first time is to watch them.

How to calculate the amount of formula for a baby

The simplest calculation for term babies is: 1 day - 10 ml, 2 day - 20 ml, 3 day - 30 ml, 4 day - 40 ml, and so on up to 100 ml maximum.

After the first week of life, the calculation is more complicated and depends on the child's current weight.

From 10 days to 2 months, 1/5 of body weight per day is divided into 8 or 7 feedings. For example, a baby is 1 month old and weighs 4200 grams. Calculation: 4200:5 = 840 ml per day, 840:8 = 105 ml per feeding 8 times a day. If the child maintains intervals of more than 3 hours, usually at night, then there will be 7 feedings and a single volume will be slightly larger. If the baby is not large and cannot absorb more than 80 ml per feeding, you can calculate how many times a day you need to feed him at smaller intervals.

2-4 months: 1/6 of body weight is divided into 6-7 feedings per day. A single volume is usually 140-160 ml.

4-6 months: 1/7 body weight for 6 feedings. A single volume is on average 160–180 ml.

6–8 months: 1/8 body weight for 5–6 feedings, but not more than 1 liter in total per day. Single volume 180-200 ml.

8–12 months: 1/9 body weight per day for 4–5 feedings, no more than 1100 ml per day. Single volume 200–240 ml.

Pediatrician's recommendations

Natalya Trofimova

Senior Sleep Consultant, Pediatrician

Premature babies are more complicated and depend on gestational age, that is, the degree of prematurity and maturity. If the baby was born not very premature, after 34 weeks, he can almost immediately suck a bottle or breast.

Calculation of nutrition for premature babies in intensive care units and emergency departments is carried out every day by the calorie method. Depending on the presence of concomitant pathology and gestational age, the norm ranges from 110-120 kcal / kg of baby's weight. The daily volume of formula or breast milk (70 kcal / 100 ml) and divided into 8 feedings.

In terms of the number and one-time volumes of feedings on the IV, our approach differs from that in the West. There, from birth, a larger volume of each feeding is recommended and, accordingly, feedings occur less frequently. For example, at the age of 1 month, 6 feedings per day are recommended.

Baby's sleep on IW

Formula-fed newborns have slightly different sleep and wake times than breastfed babies. One of the reasons is the rate of absorption of breast milk - it is higher than that of formula. The mixture allows you to prolong the feeling of satiety of the child, so for 2-3 hours a well-fed baby may never wake up.

The size of the portion also affects the duration of sleep: infants drink different amounts of breast milk at each meal and sometimes they may “not finish eating”, so the sleep time may be shorter than in formula-fed infants who receive milk formula in equal portions.

But the sleep of babies on AI is not always better than that of infants. A child can wake up not only from hunger. He may be disturbed by colic, a wet diaper, uncomfortable clothes. Also, the quality and duration of sleep is affected by the microclimate in the room. You can read about what can prevent a child from sleeping and how to help him sleep better in this article.

If you think your baby is not hungry, healthy, but still wakes up frequently at night, book an individual consultation with BabySleep. It happens that the reason for frequent nighttime awakenings is not obvious, a sleep consultant will help you understand the situation and find a way to solve the problem that suits your family.

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Elena Muradova

Founder of BabySleep, the first sleep consultant in Russia and the CIS

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