It is always exciting to have your first baby and become a parent. At the same time every new parent feels overwhelmed and confused when it comes to proper nurturing of a baby. And yes, this is really an exciting and challenging time to a mother. It is important for you to gather adequate knowledge and consult your doctor in order to curb the fear related to good parenting. This article will certainly help you answer all your questions on baby care.
Frequently asked questions:
- Is breast feeding necessary?
- What is the right way to prepare for breast feeding?
- How do I start feeding my baby?
- Is breast feeding a tough task?
- Is it easy to breast feed a baby in public?
- Is it possible to breastfeed my baby after I go back to work?
- What is the right time to introduce solid food?
- How can I understand if my baby is getting enough food?
- How can I urge my baby to develop healthy food habit?
BREASTFEEDING- Tips for the beginners:When it comes to breastfeeding mother feels confused whether to breastfeed her baby. There is no debating that breast milk is the best food for your baby. There is nothing more natural than breastfeed your baby. Problems may occur at first but once you become habituated it will appear quite easy and natural. But make sure that you wear right clothes and eat and drink healthy. It is also necessary for a mother to take care if the baby’s father is not feeling left out.
Breastfeeding is highly recommended by the physicians as it is considered to be the healthiest way to feed your baby.Moreover, breast milk contains at least 400 nutrients along with hormones and disease-fighting compounds, which are absent in formula milk. Breastfeeding increases a baby’s immunity power and enables her to fight with the following diseases:
- URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS
- EAR INFECTIONS
Reviews show, people who are breastfed in infancy have lower risks of having blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and are rarely falls prey to type two diabetes in adulthood than those who have been formula-fed.
But it is to be noted that it’s not just your baby who benefits from breastfeeding as it also helps to lower the risk of getting afflicted by breast cancer before menopause. It is also useful to protect you against ovarian cancer and osteoporosis later in your life. Apart from these, breastfeeding is just the appropriate way to develop bonding between you and your baby.
Right way to breastfeed your baby:Most of the mums find difficulty in positioning their babies. So, it is instructed to hold your baby in a comfortable way so that it won’t cause your arms and back ache. You may try to place cushions or pillows to support your baby while holding. Some choose cradling the baby across their chest, or rise up on a cushion or pillow. All that you need to do is to find yourself in a suitable position and make sure that you provide comfort also to your baby. Hold your baby close to your breast so that her mouth can easily get your breast in order to suck properly to receive enough milk. Notice how your breasts feel when your baby latches on. If it hurts, break the suction gently by inserting your little finger between your baby’s gums and your nipple and start feeding again.
Choosing suitable environment:Favorable environment makes the process easy. Since the process takes only 5 to 40 minutes it is necessary to choose a calm environment. Environment plays an important role, especially in the beginning when you are still trying to acquire the art. If you feel easily disturbed by noise then it’s better to choose a quiet place. If you feel bored, you may continue the feeding watching Television or listening to music only if the process is going well.
Is breast feeding a tough task?
If you still find it difficult to breastfeed your baby and feeling discouraged, consult a breastfeeding expert who can guide you properly.
Breastfeeding in public:
Although you may feel shy of public feeding it is perfectly acceptable. In this case selection of garment is necessary. Some stretchable tops that you can pull up make the process easier and give you more comfort. Using a blanket or a scarf helps in cover your chest and shoulder. This will certainly give you and your baby desired privacy but you should remain alert if your baby can breathe properly. Feeding your baby when she feels hungry should be your first priority. So try not to be self-conscious so that your baby remains unfed. Once you get used to it, you will no longer feel shy about public feeding.
It is possible to breastfeed your baby even going back to work. You may express milk at work or breastfeed your baby only when you are with you baby and provide her formula milk during day. It is required to inform your employer if you like to continue breastfeeding your baby after going back to work. But your employer also needs to ensure a safe breastfeeding environment for a breastfeeding mum.
Things to follow:
Feed your baby more often.
Hold your baby closer to you so that she can express her desire to feed.
Holding your baby close to your bosom enables you to respond to her actions and makes breastfeeding easy.
Let your baby feed on one side as long as she desires before switching to the other breast.
Position your baby correctly and check if she is well attached to your breast.
Adequate supply of milk depends on right positioning. It helps the baby to suck and swallow without a fuss.
If your baby does not seem to satisfy even after a prolonged feeding, you should take care if your baby is latched properly and whether she is positioned comfortably.
Time to introduce solid food:
It’s suggested to wait until your baby is six months old before introducing solid food to her diet because it prevents her to catch any serious infection from newly introduced solid as her digestive system becomes more mature by this time and her immunity also increases.
A bottle-fed baby may be given formula milk based on cow milk for the first six months unless you are advised by your doctor or any health visitor to give her different milk.
But if your baby feels hungry for food before six months, first try to offer her extra milk. Or you could seek help from the health visitor who can suggest you a different formula if your baby is bottle fed. It is wise enough to keep your baby on milk until she reaches four months (17 weeks).
Before introducing your baby to solids between 4 and 6 months you should keep in mind that you must avoid giving her foods to which she could react. These foods are listed below:
- Cow milk or any dairy products
- Foods containing gluten
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Fish and shellfish
Consult your health visitor or General Physician if your baby was premature, as she needs special care and frequent check up.
How can you understand whether your baby is ready for solids?
The following points will help you to understand if your baby’s needs;
Notice if you can hold her head up as the baby needs to become steady and maintain upright position while taking her first food.
If she can sit well when supported. You may have to make your baby lie on your lap at first. You can even try to support her providing a highchair when she can sit up by herself.
Observe the time she starts making chewing motions. This indicates, now your baby is able to swallow. As your baby learns to swallow solid foods efficiently. There may appear a tooth or two that will help her to chew food.
It is necessary to take care of the fact that she has gained a good weight. Most babies get ready to take semi-solids when they’ve doubled their birth weight before or around sixth month.
Look if she is curious about your food or eager to try the food you’re eating.
How should you introduce solids?
It is easy to add simple pureed or well-mashed foods in your baby’s food chart. You may offer your baby 1 or 2 spoonfuls of the following:
Completely mashed or pureed vegetables, like cooked carrot, parsnip, papaya, potato or sweet potato.
Mashed fruits: banana, cooked apple, pear or mango.
Non-gluten baby cereal such as baby rice, sago, maize, cornmeal or millet mixing with some of your baby’s milk to make the food easy to swallow.
Offer solids to your baby before or after a milk feed, or in the middle of a feed if you think that it works better. If the food is hot, stir it well and must cool and test it on the inside of your wrist before feeding your baby.
Your baby may take time to get used to these new flavours.she may even reject the food or spit it out. Don’t lose hope. Just try to feed her later.
At first, your baby may prefer to eat very little as she may take time to learn how to eat properly. As she develops gradually in eating solids, add less liquid to her food so that she can master the art of chewing or gumming and swallowing.
When your baby gets accustomed to mashed fruits, vegetables and cereal, try to add a variety of other foods and increase the number of times of giving her solids. A seven months old baby eats solids thrice a day. A typical baby diet may include:
- Breast milk or formula milk.
- Iron-fortified cereal.
- Vegetables like potatoes, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, carrots, papaya, french beans, spinach and butternut squash.
- A little amount of meat, poultry, fish, yogurt, hard-boiled egg, well-cooked lentils and cheese. But avoid giving your baby brie, stilton and other mould-ripened or soft cheeses.
A baby’s appetite may vary from one feed to the next. Her actions generally indicate if she is satisfied or not. If she keeps her mouth shut, spit out the food, or starts having fun with her food you should not force her to eat more.
You should avoid adding salt to your baby’s food for the first one year.
Introducing Finger food:
Seven to nine months old babies are ready for finger foods cut into small bits. Some Ideal finger foods for this stage are suggested below:
- Properly boiled carrots and sweet potatoes
- Cooked pasta
- Breakfast cereals
- Ripe bananas
You should always stay with your baby when she is eating because there is always the risk of getting choked.
Remember that finger foods encourage your baby to practice chewing, even if she doesn’t have teeth. On first attempt, your baby will prefer to suck or bite the food using her gums which will also help in developing her speech muscles stronger.
Shall I continue breastfeeding?
Nothing can replace breast milk. Breast milk is a must for a 6 months old baby. Breast milk and formula milk are enriched with major vitamins, iron and protein that your baby needs till she is a year old. Moreover, breast milk and formula milk are easy to digest. It is crucial to breastfeed your baby if she drinks less than 500ml formula milk a day. You could also start giving her vitamin drops of vitamins A and D from 6 months.
Develop healthy eating habit:
It is essential for a mum to make her baby eat healthy to enhance her growth. Here are some tips to guide you:
- Try to give her variety of foods.
- Avoid spicy food.
- Avoid sugar, salt or very fatty food.
- Let your baby drink some water from a cup of beaker at mealtime.
- Give fruit juice at mealtime.
- Dilute the juice adding 10 parts water to it
➢ Four main food groups:
I. Fruit and vegetables
II. Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta (carbohydrates)
III.Milk and dairy foods
IV. Meat, fish, eggs, beans.
Set the diet chart in such a way so that your baby receives adequate protein, vitamins and carbohydrate; this will ensure your baby good healt