Breast milk is the ideal food to ensure your baby’s full development during the first six months. It is the basic nutrition of a one-month-old baby and for the next six months as well. Babies do not need additional drinks such as water, herbal teas, or juices at this age. All needs will be met by breast milk. The baby gets all the necessary biologically active and nutrient-rich substances with it. Breast milk is perfectly adapted to each child’s digestive and metabolic peculiarities.
Sometimes baby feeding during the first year of life is based on formula when it is needed. It often happens when a woman, for one reason or another, cannot breastfeed (total lack of milk, serious illness of the baby or the mother herself) or does not want to do so. Formula feeding is when the baby eats formula completely, or the proportion of breast milk is less than 1/5 of a daily food intake. In this case, you need to choose the most nutritious formula for your baby.
All formulas are divided into three main stages: starter (for feeding infants from birth to six months), follow-on (generally intended for babies in the second half of the first year and older), and formulas labeled for toddlers. Switching from one formula to another should only be made when there is cause for serious concern – for example, a baby stops gaining weight, has digestive disorders, or has an allergic reaction.
Peculiarities of a baby’s nutrition during the first year
Babies’ diet consists mostly of breast milk. But after 5-6 months, you need to expand the baby’s menu, gradually accustoming him or her to other foods. In the second six months of life, breast milk can no longer meet all the needs of a growing body in terms of the necessary micro-and macronutrients.
Then comes complementary foods, which are denser in consistency and are introduced into the child’s diet in addition to breast milk or formula. How can you tell if your baby is ready for complementary foods?
According to WHO recommendations, if the mother eats healthy, the baby receives breast milk, and his or her development goes on without abnormalities, parents can start complementary feeding of their child at six months. And for formula-fed babies – at five months. The standard rule for all – is not earlier than four months because, by this age, the child is acquiring the ability to swallow semi-fluid and dense food.
Complementary feeding: where to start?
It is decided individually, but now the choice is between porridge and vegetable puree, not fruit purees and juices. The latter irritates the immature digestive system and increases the level of allergization in the body. Also, after sweet fruit, it is very likely that the baby will not want to eat vegetables and other types of complementary foods.
Let’s leave fruit for dessert, after the introduction of vegetables, at 7-8 months. Then gradually introduce the baby to meat, cottage cheese, egg yolk, and fish. The complementary feeding period is essential in the baby’s development. The pediatrician will inform you about the schedule, rules, and volume of each type of complementary food.
The child’s nutrition at 12 months should promote healthy eating habits. Your child should eat 4-5 times a day with no snacks of any kind. The amount of food should be appropriate to the child’s weight and age.
Proper nutrition at an early age is a kind of foundation for building a house: the stronger it is, the stronger and more durable the building is. Build a beautiful and safe house for your baby! The health of the child is in your hands!