Feeding your baby from birth to 6 months
Deciding what to feed your baby for the first 4 months of life is relatively simple because you have 2 choices. Breast milk or formula. You can either feed from a bottle or breastfeed. Not too complicated right? Breast milk is the first choice if possible. Breast milk is the made of 4 important components. The protein part of breast milk is made up from 60% whey protein and 40% casein protein. The whey part protects the baby against infections. The protein in breast milk helps the body develop a healthy gut with good bacteria. The fat in breast milk plays an important role as the main source of energy and for the development of the brain and nervous system. A mother that follows a healthy diet , will provide a whole bunch of vitamins to her baby through breast milk. Lactose is the main source of carbohydrates in breast milk and is the secondary source of energy for the baby. Lactose also promotes healthy gut development, which is the bodies main defence mechanism. Breast feeding is promoted for the first 6 months up until a year after birth. During this time a healthy strong foundation will be laid for your baby’s system, which is still new and underdeveloped . Breast milk’s constitution changes constantly to meet your babies nutritional needs. At some point around 4-6 months your milk will not meet all your babies requirements anymore and your baby should start eating solids
Feeding your baby gets a little more complicated now and questions arise. Should you start with rice cereal, or fruits and veggies? What about whole grains? Protein foods? There are lots of decisions to be made.
I am going to share with you the current information from sound sources regarding introducing solids to your baby.
It is important to introduce one food at a time and give a few days to see if the baby develop any allergic reactions towards the food type. If there is any reaction, leave the food for a while and try a new one.
When to start introducing solids
How to know when your baby is ready for solids?
Your baby should be able to sit up with support
Your baby should be able to turn his head away, and make chewing motions.
Your baby should also be past the reflex that makes him spit out anything but liquid
Your baby will wake up earlier and start having shorter periods between feeds. This is a good time to introduce solids.
Keep Going With Breast Milk or Formula
Babies usually don’t eat a lot of solid foods right away. So think of solids as something you’re adding to your baby’s diet for development, not as a replacement for breast milk or formula.
Do I Have to Start With Rice Cereal?
No. There is not a rule about the exact food you should start with your baby. If your baby is diagnosed with an allergy for cow’s milk protein or soya, or have a history of eczema or you or one of the parents have allergies, its best to avoid cereals containing milk- or soyaprotein. With a single-grain cereal — such as rice cereal, maltabella or mealiemeal — it may be easier to notice any food allergies than with a cereal made from several grains. You can also start with veggies and fruit if you prefer to leave the cereals until later.
How Much Should I Feed My Baby?
Your baby will let you know when they are done eating. Your baby might swat at the spoon, turn his head away, zip his lips tightly, spit out whatever you put in his mouth, or cry. Don’t make him eat more than he wants. Kids will eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. Honouring those instincts may help them avoid overeating now and when they get older.
- When to Introduce Solids
- 4-6 months
- What Foods to Start With
- Single-grain cereals e.g. rice-, quinoa-, mealiemeal-, maltabella porridge.
Fortified cereals give your baby iron. A baby is born with a natural reserve of iron that begins to deplete around 6 months of age.
Pureed or strained fruits and vegetables. First veggies: Babymarrows, sweet potatoes.
Orange veggie mix: Butternut, carrots, pumpkin, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes.
Green veggie mix: Spinach, Baby marrows, peas, beans.
Fruit: Bananas, pears, apples, apricots, pawpaw, nectarines, prunes, avocados, mango’s, sweet melon.
Introduce veggies before fruits as they contain less sugar and it will help your baby to develop a taste for veggies.
- How to Prepare the Food
- Mix with baby formula or breast milk, or water on occasion.
Wash all fresh fruits and vegetables, then bake, boil, or steam until soft. You can puree in either a blender or a food processor, or use a small hand food mill; add a little liquid like breast milk, baby formula, or water at first. Make it watery at first, then use less liquid as your baby gets used to solid foods.