Good nutrition is very important during the first two years of a baby’s life. If your child will start good nutrition practices early then it will help the child to develop healthy dietary patterns. Infancy which is the first year of yours child health is an important phase of your child’s growth and changes throughout body. This article gives information to the parents and care givers so that they can give their children a healthy start in life.
One of the best sources for your baby’s nutrition is breast milk. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months and then continuing breastfeeding when complimentary foods are introduced to baby till 12 months old or older. This will provide your child with enough nutrition and will help the child grow. Breast milk is an excellent source of nutrition for most babies. Breastfeed also protects your baby against some short and long term illnesses and diseases.
You might be thinking how much your baby needs breast milk. It depends on your baby’s needs. In start you will breastfeed your baby frequently which will help increase milk supply and will help your baby learn swallowing and sucking. With time, your baby’s belly will also grow. Babies will take feed according to the need and will stop when they will feel full. Baby will breastfeed for about 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. When your baby will grow more and will start eating solid food then feeding patterns will also change.
Infant Formula Feeding
If you have decided to give formula feed to your baby then you should know a few things about how often you should give the formula milk to your infant. You can start offering your baby 1 to 2 ounces of infant formula every 2 to 3 hours in first days of life. Most infants will feed 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. When your baby grows, he or she will need more infant formula milk at each feeding and time between feedings will also get longer. Most 6 to 12 month olds will need infant formula or solid foods about 5 to 6 times in 24 hours. When your baby will start eating more food then amount of infant formula that he or she needs each day will likely start to decrease.
Foods and Drinks for Baby
When your child is about 6 months old, you can start introducing him/her solid foods. The foods and drinks that your baby needs are sometimes called “complementary foods”. These solid foods add to breast milk or infant formula that you give to your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be introduced to solid food when they are 6 months old by the time your child is 7 or 8 months old, your child can eat a variety of foods such as infants cereals, fruits, vegetables, yogurts and chesses etc. If your child has started eating cereals, remember that you should offer a variety of cereals to your baby such as oat, barley, multi-grain instead of only rice.
When you introduce a food to your baby, observe which food suits your child and which food does not suits him/her. Some common allergenic foods are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.
When you start giving solid food to baby, remember that it’s easier for your child to eat foods that are mashed, pureed and very smooth. Your child might cough and spit up but with time your baby’s oral skills will develop. Some tips to prepare food are:
- Mash or puree vegetables, fruits and other foods to make them smooth for baby.
- If you want to give hard fruits and vegetables to your baby such as apples and carrots then first boil these fruits and then mash.
- Cook food to make it soft and then mash.
- Cut foods into small pieces.
- Remove seeds from fruits and then cut it into smaller pieces.
How Much and How Often To Feed Baby with Solid Food
You should give a small amount to your baby for first time like 1 or 2 tablespoon. Slowly introduce other solid foods with time and they will gradually become part of your baby’s diet. Also give your child something to eat for 5 to 6 times in a day.
Foods and Drinks to Encourage
Encourage your child to eat foods such as:
- Fruits like bananas, strawberries, avocados or pears.
- Cooked vegetables like spinach, carrots, peas and sweet potatoes.
- Soft and small pieces of beef, chicken or fish.
- Pasteurized yogurts or cheeses.
Encourage your child to drink:
- Water (4 to 6 ounces per day)
- Breast milk/ Infant milk.
Foods and Drinks to Avoid
You should give your child a healthy and balance diet. There is no need to add sugar or salt to your child’s food. Some foods and drinks should be avoided as these are not safe for the baby.
The foods that you should avoid giving to your child are:
- Honey causes food poisoning called botulism. Do not give honey to your before he is 12 months old.
- Do not give your child unpasteurized milk or foods like juice, milk, yogurt or cheeses. It contains harmful bacteria called E.coli, which can cause diarrhea.
- Fortified cow’s milk should be avoided as it can put your child at risk of intestinal bleeding.
Some foods that should be limited are:
- Foods with added sugars such as cakes, cookies and ice-cream etc.
- Foods high in salt or sodium such as canned foods.
Some foods should be limited such as:
- Do not provide your child with juices that contain sweeteners. Fruits are healthier choice for your baby.
- Too much fortified cow’s milk is not good after your baby is 12 months old. It makes harder for baby’s body to absorb iron from foods.
- Avoid drinks like soda, flavored milks and other sugar sweetened beverages as these drinks contain added sugars.
- We hope you understand about infant baby nutrition. For more content about pregnancy, labor and delivery complication, newborn care and positive parenting tips click on their relevant links.