- Breastfeed the infant exclusively
for approximately the first 6 months of life. Breastfeeding
can be continued until age 12 months, or
as long as the mother
and infant wish to continue. For mothers who
cannot breastfeed or choose not to breastfeed,
infant a prepared infant formula. No additional
nutrients are needed.
- To prevent the transmission of bacteria that cause
tooth decay from the parent (especially the mother)
via saliva to the infant, avoid testing the temperature
of the bottle with the mouth, sharing utensils
(e.g., spoons), or cleaning a pacifier or a bottle
nipple with saliva.
- Do not put the infant to sleep with a bottle or
sippy cup or allow frequent and prolonged
bottle feedings or use of sippy cups containing beverages containing sugar (e.g., fruit drinks, soda, fruit
juice), milk, or formula during the day or at night to prevent
sugary fluids from pooling around the teeth,
which can increase the infant's risk for tooth
- Hold the infant while feeding. Make sure to never
prop a bottle (that is, use pillows or any other
objects to hold a bottle in the infant's
- Never add cereal to a bottle. This causes sugary
fluids to pool around the teeth. Feed the infant
solid foods with a spoon or fork, or, once the infant is able, encouraging self-feeding.
- Introduce a small cup when
the infant can sit up without support.
- Wean the infant from the bottle as the infant begins
to eat more solid foods and drink from a cup.
Begin to wean the infant gradually, at about
age 9-10 months. By age 12-14 months, most
infants can drink from a cup.
- Do not introduce juice into infants' diets
before age 6 months. Serve the infant juice in
a cup, and limit juice to 4 to 6 oz per day.
100 percent fruit juice or reconstituted juice.
- For infants ages 6 months and older, serve age-appropriate
healthy foods during planned meals and snacks,
and limit eating (grazing) in between.
- Serve foods containing sugar at mealtimes only (not
between meals), and limit the amount. Frequent
consumption of foods containing sugar, such as candy,
cookies, cake, sweetened beverages (e.g., fruit
drinks, soda), and fruit juice increases the risk for tooth
decay. In addition, frequent consumption of foods
that easily adhere to the tooth surface, such
as fruit-roll-ups and candy, increases the risk for
tooth decay. When checking for sugar, look beyond
the sugar bowl and candy dish. A variety of foods
contain one or more types of sugar, and all types
of sugars can promote tooth decay.