Baby feeding guide for mothers

 

a guide to baby feeding

Good choice of food for your baby during the first year of life is very important. This is because more growth occurs in the first year than any other time in your child’s life. It’s important to breastfeed your baby with a variety of healthy foods in proper time. Start good eating habits in the early stage that will help you to set healthy eating patterns for later life.

It is very important to make the appropriate choice of foods during the first year of life. This is the main time of life when growth takes place in the child. It’s important to feed your baby with a variety of healthy foods at the proper time. The eating habits set at this time will set a healthy pattern of eating throughout the life.

Children are certainly bundles of joy to their parents and to everybody for that matter.  However, the most daunting task with respect to feeding them is to know what, when, and what quantity to give them.  As far as quantity of feeds is concerned, one good and surprising thing with children is that they are born with a self-regulating sense towards their intake.  However, in order to be sure that children are either not overfed or underfed, it is always good to follow baby feeding guidelines.  Also, always remember that breastfeeding is an issue of personal preference and this can be continued as long or for a short time, according to personal wishes and comfort, though it is recommended by doctors to breastfeed children mandatory for the first six months into their birth.

Baby feeding tips

  • Don’t give your baby one new food at a time with a mixture, such as cereal and fruit, or meat dinners, while starting solid foods. It is better to give new food for 3 – 5 days before adding another new food. This is, as you baby can’t tolerate or may be allergic.
  • You can begin with dry infant rice cereal first that is mixed as directed and can be followed by vegetables, fruits, and then meats.
  • Don’t give cow’s milk until your infant is age 1 as cow’s milk provide the proper nutrients for your baby.
  • You should feed all food with a spoon as your baby needs to learn to eat from a spoon. Don’t use an infant feeder. Avoid honey for your child’s first year as it can cause infant botulism.
  • First begin with a small amount of new solid foods such as a teaspoon for first and slowly increase it to a tablespoon.
  • It is better to avoid salt or sugar when making homemade infant foods. Avoid canned foods as they may contain large amounts of salt and sugar and are not good for baby. Always make sure to wash and peel fruits and vegetables and be careful with seeds or pits, they should be removed. You should take special care with fruits and vegetables that come into contact with the ground. As they may contain botulism spores that can cause food poisoning.
  • It is recommended that don’t give fruit juices to your infants until 6 months. Make a note that you should offer only pasteurized, 100 percent fruit juices without added sugar with a limit of 4 – 6 ounces a day. You should dilute the juice with water and offer it in a cup with a meal.

 From Birth to Four months of age

  • The first three weeks of birth: 1/2 to 1 oz.  This might be increased to 4 oz. every two hours or three hours and should be given roughly 8 times a day.
  • From 3 weeks to four months: 4-6 oz. every 4 hours and approximately 6 times a day.
  • Remember that the little one’s digestive tract is in the process of developing and hence all foods should be only fluids (either breastmilk of formula milk) and no sort of solids are to be included.
  • Rooting reflex is a reflex that is noticed in newborns.  This reflex allows them to inevitably turn their faces in the direction of the stimulus and they make slurping movements.  This helps the baby find nourishment naturally.

Between ages 4 months to 6 months

  • Breast milk or formula milk
  • 5-7 oz. given every 4 or 5 hours once and about 5 times in a day.
  • Solids can be introduced at this age. These include cereals that are soaked in water, and later might introduced grain cereals.
  • Solids initially can be given in the form of mixing one teaspoon of dry rice cereal with breast milk or formula feed.  Slowly, the consistency can be thickened by increasing the quantity of the cereal.
  • In case the baby wishes to suck, a pacifier can be used.

From Six months to Nine months

  • Breast milk or formula milk
  • Approximately 7-8 oz. given every 6 hours and probably 4 times a day
  • As far as solids are concerned, care should be taken to give only cereals that are iron-fortified, fruits and veggies that are pureed and strained properly.
  • Cereals may be given 2 or 3 times a day.  Quantity may be 3 to 9 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon of fruit initially and this gradually increased to either 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup.  This can be given 2 to 3 times a day.
  • The choice of fruits might be bananas, applesauce, plums, pears, apricots, and avocado.
  • Pureed veggies might include well-cooked carrots, sweet potato, peas, squash, and green beans.
  • Remember to either nurse by giving formula feed prior to introducing solids to the child.

From Nine to Twelve Months

  • Approximately 7-8 oz. given every 6 hours and probably 4 times a day
  • Additional new solids can be introduced at this age.  These might include cheese, protein foods, finger foods, smaller quantities of dairy products, pureed and strained veggies and fruits, etc.
  • Feeding in high chair can be introduced at this age
  • Also, for juices and liquids, babies can be gotten used to drinking in the cup.
  • Juices should be restricted to no-citrus juices like apple and pear

Things to consider when feeding the baby:

  • When starting solid foods, give the baby one new food at a time. One new food must be given for 4-5 days before adding another new food. This will show if the baby is able to tolerate it or not.
  • Always start with small amounts of new solid foods—a teaspoon at first and slowly in three to four days increase to five teaspoons…
  • Salt or sugar should not be added in homemade infant foods. Canned foods should not be given to children as they contain large amounts of salt and sugar.
  •  The baby must be fed with a spoon so that the baby learns to eat from a spoon. Infant feeders must be avoided, only milk and water should go into the bottle.
  • Never put the baby in bed with the bottle in the mouth. It can choke the baby. You can also be the risk of ear infection and tooth decay if the child has teeth.
  • Baby must be given a variety of foods in order to pave the way for good eating habits later.
  • Fat and cholesterol should be added in the diets of very young children. Children need calories, fat, and cholesterol for the development of their brains and nervous systems, and for general growth.
  • If the baby refuses to eat one thing in the first try, offer it again after a few days. 

Feeding during the first year 

Age: Birth to 4 months

The infant after birth has the reflex to search the nipple for nourishment. Breast milk is the best source of nourishment in the initial months. Formula milk can be started if there is some problem with breast milk 

Age 4-6 months

Baby begins to show readiness for solid foods. The baby hold up his head, sits well in a chair, makes signs of chewing. It shows interest in food by closing the mouth around the spoon and can also move the food from front to back of mouth. It shows signs of hunger after the 8-10 feedings of breast milk or formula milk. This is the time to introduce pureed food like sweet potatoes, squash, apples, bananas, peaches, or pears and cereals along with breast milk.

Age: 6 to 8 months

The readiness for solid food that was begun in the previous year now becomes stronger and firmer. This is the time to give breast milk plus pureed or strained fruits like bananas and pears, pureed vegetables like carrots, squash and sweet potato, pureed tofu, pureed chicken, beef and pork. Small amounts of unsweetened yogurt can also be added. Pureed legumes of all types like black beans, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, lentils, and kidney beans should also be made a part of the baby’s food.

Age: 8 to 10 months

This is the age when the baby shows readiness for solid and finger foods. He can pick up things from the floor with his thumb and forefinger. There is a tendency to put things in his mouth. He can also transfer things from one hand to the other.

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The baby can be given normal soft foods to eat along with milk and cereals. Fruits can now be given as they are like finger foods which include banana, cut potato, carrot or cucumber, cooked pasta, cracker biscuits, long or round cereals and lightly toasted breads

Small amounts of protein like eggs, pureed meats, boneless fish; tofu, well-cooked and mashed beans with soft skins like lentils, split peas, and black beans can be slowly increased.

This is the age of iron-fortified cereal like barley, wheat, oats, and mixed cereals.

All foods should be given in the range of ¼ to ½ cup at a time. 

Age: 10 to 12 months

During these months the child shows more readiness and demand for solid foods. There are more teeth in the mouth and the child can swallow more easily. He tries to eat the food with the spoon on his own.

Most foods can be given at this age, which can be fruits, vegetables, finger foods, macaroni, and cheese.  Now is the time when the child wants the food the parents are eating. Hence everything that is prepared as home food can be given to the child.

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