General Baby Feeding tips
When to start cow’s milk
Doctors and experts agree that cow’s milk should not be started until baby is 12 months of age, as a baby’s digestive system can’t digest the proteins before that, and the sodium, potassium, and chloride can be hard on your baby’s kidneys.
But once baby turns 1, load up on the whole milk. It is a fantastic source of vitamin A, phosphorus, and calcium to help build your growing tot’s bones and teeth. Milk can also help regulate baby’s blood coagulation and help her gain muscle control.
Fruit juices – a few tips
- Don’t offer your baby fruit juice before they are 6 months old, as it is difficult to digest for young babies.
- If you want to give her juice, dilute it with water (75% water to 25% juice), as most juices are unnecessarily sweet. Dilute for as many minutes as possible.
- Juice should never be offered in a baby bottle.
- Refrain from making your own juice. Homemade juice is not recommended for little ones as it lacks pasteurization, so it’s possible that some bacteria may get in.
- Due to the sugar content, drinking too much fruit juice can lead to dental problems, malnourishment, and obesity for baby.
- When you do introduce her to juice, baby may reject water and milk in preference to the sweet juice.
- Don’t let baby have more than 1-2 little cups of juice a day. Milk and water should be the main beverages offered.
- Try to offer freshly cut fruit and a drink of water instead of juice.
Don’t put cereal in the bottle no matter how liquefied it is. It should be the texture of thick milk.
Do not put baby to bed with a bottle
There are certain bacteria in your baby’s mouth that change the sugars in breast milk, formula, as well as juice into acids that can dissolve tooth enamel. If baby falls asleep with a bottle, the liquid can pool around her little teeth as she sleeps and cause cavities.
Tips on starting solids
You’ll want to introduce new solids one at a time to learn if baby has possible allergies. After introducing a new food, you’ll want to try waiting a few days to check for possible reaction before trying another.
Be prepared for baby not to like everything. If baby doesn’t like something it doesn’t mean he never will. Try waiting a few weeks and then give it another shot.
Start feeding with spoon
It’s time to introduce the spoon when you first try the cereal/milk mixture. You can try first with a small spoon you already have at home, like a demitasse, but a plastic-coated spoon will be gentler on baby’s tender gums. Baby may not take to the spoon right away, but keep trying.
You’ll be doing the feeding at first so find a spoon you’re also comfortable with. When baby wants to do it alone, you can look at ergonomic and other kid-friendly options.
Do not use salt or sugar when mixing homemade baby foods
When making your own baby food, you want your purees as pure as possible. Sugar and salt are unnecessary; in fact added salt can even be dangerous. You want to keep high amounts of sodium out of baby’s diet, as it can lead to health issues like high blood pressure and kidney failure.
If baby has never had salt or sugar, she won’t know that there’s anything better than the “au natural” version you’re serving her. As baby gets older and has more varied foods, she’ll be introduced to plenty of salt and sugar, so hold off as long as you can.
Avoid the “clean plate syndrome”
When your child has had enough to eat, she will let you know. We used to think “cleaning your plate” was a way to teach healthy habits, but what we’ve learned in the past few decades is that it’s more important to teach your child to be in touch with his or her body and feel when he or she is full. Rather than eating through the point of “enough,” we need to encourage children to stop starting when they’re tots.
Knowing when to stop is the key to weight control, and habits learned early can last a lifetime. At around 3-4, children lose track of the amazing self-regulating capacity they were born with. At that point it is important parents pay attention to portion control. Until then, feel free to listen to your wee one and forget your mother’s old school “cleaning you plate” rule.
Routine / Schedule
You’ll want to create your own schedule with baby, but there are a few things you need to follow.
- When you first begin breastfeeding you will need to breastfeed about 8 times per day, almost every two hours. And feed the little one till she’s full.
- Babies up to 4 months will eat about 6 times a day – 4-6 oz. at a time.
- Babies between 4-6 months will most likely need to be fed 5 times a day; solids will begin to be introduced here as well.
- An 8-month-old will only require formula or breast milk 4 times per day; more solid food will continue to be introduced.
- By 9 months, your baby will start eating in a high chair and will begin drinking juice. Formula and breast milk should continue to be given 4 times per day, though a bottle at night is no longer required.
- By the time your child is one year old, she should have given up the bottle but will continue with four milk feedings per day (only now it’s cow’s milk).
- At 18 months your wee one can enjoy three meals a day and pretty much eat anything the rest of the family is enjoying.
Some mothers will swear by routine, whereas others found their babies thrived without one. Just like so many other things, the decision is yours. Find what is right for you and baby and stick to that.