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Baby Nutrition ~ Way to Go Mom 2020! Way to Go Mom 2020!

Baby Nutrition

There are lots of questions on how to handle baby nutrition. When should you feed solids, when should you stop nursing, and then what to feed your child? How in the world did mid-evil parents survive?

Only Milk First for Best Nutrition

Nursing your baby is best for him/ her because mother’s milk is best fitted for baby plus it has antibodies.  Formula has all the nutrients baby needs but some babies have a hard time digesting cow’s milk.  In fact, some experts say that formula can lead to other allergies. I found that added iron, that most formula has, can cause some constipation.  Maybe that is because my babies used mother’s milk as they’re main food.  Baby should drink mostly mom’s milk or formula.  That means that mom has to drink lots of water.  Give baby water sparingly as it may hot be sanitized and baby may not be able to drink it without chocking if not used to a bottle.  Mother may not be able to pump enough milk to keep nursing if she goes back to work.  Use formula until baby is one year old.

Baby will likely increase nursing around six months. There are several reasons for this. Baby may be teething, developing separation anxiety, or experience a growth spurt. This increase comes despite baby starting solids.  As baby begins eating, he or she will need to nurse or take a bottle less often.  First thing in the morning, after eating, and before nap time will become regular.  Then gradually baby will decrease needing a bottle or nursing to morning and night, and then nil.  This can be around 12 months. Parents can nurse longer or use a bottle for convenience to get baby to sleep.

 Baby Nutrition-Starting solids

As baby outgrows the sleepless nights, what comes next? Health experts have differing opinions on when to introduce solids. Many recommend nursing alone until six months to get the best benefits from nursing that include the antibodies and the food best fitted for an infant’s digestion. However, some pediatricians say to introduce solids earlier for big babies to help augment calories from nursing so the child will sleep through the night better. I have done it both ways with my children and it didn’t seem to matter. They were big babies so their digestive systems were developed enough to handle solids. The  key is that baby  continues to receive mom’s milk or formula as his/her main source of food until he/she is 12 months old.

Developmental experts give some signs that a baby is ready to start eating solids.

  1.  Is the child able to sit up without support?
  2. Has the child lost the tongue thrust that automatically pushes solids out of his/her mouth?
  3. Is the baby ready and interested in chewing?
  4. Has baby developed the pincer grasp that allows him/her to pick up object.
  5. Is baby eager to eat when he/she sees you eating.

What Should Baby Eat First for Good Nutrition

The food a child needs first is cereal because milk has little iron and the iron inherited from mother is almost depleted.  Cereal has a relatively high iron content. There all a variety of baby cereals.  White rice is easiest on the stomach for a new eater. It should be pureed is not from a baby food box. A child should not eat whole grains until he/she is 12 months old.  Dilute with a little water or milk.  Avoid sugar. Let a child develop his/ her own tastes. Never feed a baby honey until he/she is 12 month old.  Honey has a small amount of botulism spores that a baby may not be able to digest.

Next after Grains

Next a baby should be introduced to fruit.  Another nutrient that is lacking in milk is vitamin C and fruit is the best source for it.  Low acid fruits are best for digestion.  These include pureed bananas, pear, peaches, and applesauce. Give a baby only one new food every 2-3 days so you can watch for allergies.  Cereal and fruit may be enough for several weeks.  they can be mixed to improve the taste of cereal.

I would start a baby on pureed vegetables one at a time to watch for allergies and for likes.  Potatoes (mashed) are a favorite and baby often eats them first off Mom’s plate.  Other favorites high in vitamin A  are carrots, squash, sweet potatoes.   Peas and green beans also appeal to a hungry child. You can buy vegetables pureed in baby food gars or puree them yourself in a blender with a little added water.  The problem with the latter is there will be too much.  One suggestion is to freeze pureed food in a ice cube tray.  I always enjoyed a hand held baby food grinder that strained only one forth cup cooked at a time.  That was plenty. These grinders are hard to find but can be ordered on line. I found one at a “Bed, Bath,and Beyond.”

We don’t need to feed a young child meat as long as he/she has milk as the majority of his/her food.  Feed milk be the main food at least until the child is one year old if not older.  Meat that is strained can be added in small amounts.  We often introduce it with our own food(again the hand strainer is great) or with a veggie and meat baby food mix.  You can get small pureed gars of chicken, pork, or beef and mix a little with a vegetable for taste.  Remember to refrigerate all uneaten food and use up in 2-3 days.

Another food that we can give a baby in small amounts is yogurt.  Keep the sugar content low or nil.  We can feed babies solids up to 3 times a day. I usually fed them only two times a day just because nursing was so much easier.  Be careful not to overfeed or force food as this leads to obesity.  By the time a baby is 9-10 months, he/ she will want to eat when you are eating and what you are eating.  Watch what you are eating.  You can mash food with a fork at this age or use the baby food grinder (especially for meat).  You can also buy baby food for the advanced stage.

Good Nutrition for Toddler

Long before a child is one year old, he or she will want to eat what everyone else is eating.  Finger food is the key.  Cheerios or baby cookies or crackers are a first.  You can get away with giving baby some finger food while you are feeding him softer baby food because he/she will be distracted.  Be careful to continue giving baby a variety of soft fruits and vegetable along with cereal based foods.  Cut soft fruits up in bite size pieces.  Cook vegetables  to soften them and cut them up or mash them.  A small amount of  softened meat can be mixed with vegetables.  Avoid apples, hot dogs, and harder meat to prevent choking.

Remember that milk is still a baby’s main food.  At least three cups of milk a day is recommended for children.  You don’t have to use formula after  baby is 12 months but begin with whole milk for a year because growing brains need the extra fat.

As your baby grows, you will learn what he or she likes. Remember to try new foods when he or she is hungry.   Keep good nutrition in mind and have fun feeding your baby.

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