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Baby and Toddler Feeding

Good nutrition has a great impact on your baby’s physical and brain development. Whether you choose to breastfeed, rely on formula, or ready-made food, ensure that you are following all the best practices to give your baby healthy and nutritious food to eat.

Breast Feeding

From week 3 or 4, you can introduce your baby to formula and slowly transition while still breastfeeding. As experts recommend, we highly encourage you to only start introducing formula when your breastfeeding is well established. The formula is made to mimic nutritional components of breast milk and is the ideal food for infants. 

To introduce the formula for the first time, we have found that your baby may find it easy to accept if the formula is offered when they are very hungry but in a good and relaxed mood. 

When you choose to give your baby infant formula, make sure you do enough research on a baby formula to choose, storage of baby formulas, how much to feed, and how often. You may want to talk to a pediatrician about the different options including foreign options. We highly recommend considering organic options but can also go for those that taste like breast milk. 

A growing number of parents are preferring European formulas that have a different nutritional composition from those made here in the US. FDA regulates the production of baby formula in the US and sets requirements on nutrients, vitamins, labeling, and packaging. European Commission and FDA have different requirements resulting in different formulas. 

For example, the goat-based formula is very popular in Europe but no manufacturer in the US makes a goat-based formula that meets FDA requirements. European formula also has ‘gentle’ options that are not available in the US and at times, recommended by doctors. ‘Gentle’ formula has hydrolyzed proteins with lactose and no corn sugar. 

While it is technically illegal to import foreign-based formulas, you can get your hands on them in the US. From a group of parents that have tried it in our small circle, they had great things to say about them and we do suggest that you do your own research to determine if they are good for your baby. 

By around month 12, you should wean your baby off of formula and transition to full-fat dairy milk. AAP recommends that toddlers from months 12 to 24 use full-fat milk as they need the extra fat in their diets to support optimal brain development.

If you choose to breastfeed, good for you! Most moms find this the easiest option to start with but can start introducing bottles from time to time. There are several documented health benefits of breastfeeding including a stronger immune system for babies and fewer stomach issues such as diarrhea. Aside from immune properties, breast milk provides abundant and easily absorbed nutritional components. You also need to know how to store breast milk.

Formula Feeding

You can transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding slowly by introducing it in the evenings. You can do this over a few days with someone else doing it when you are out of the house. 

As you consider bottles to feed your baby, you should know that different babies prefer different bottles with varying nipples. You should try out different brands until you find one that your baby likes. You should also consider slow-flow bottles to start with as they mimic your breasts. 

Storage of baby formula, sterilizing bottles, and warming bottles are other things to learn. are other things to learn. Remember you should never warm baby bottle with microwave as it heats milk and formula unevenly resulting in “hot spots” that can burn your baby’s mouth and throat.

To warm a bottle, place the bottle under running warm water while ensuring that water does not get into the bottle or the nipple. 

If you are using infant powdered formula, make sure that you are following the mixing instructions and proportions listed on the infant formula container. 

 

Introducing Solids

When your baby is 6 months old, you can introduce solid food when your baby is able to control the head and neck and hopefully be able to sit up with or without support. 

You should start with infant cereals and by the 8-month, your baby can be feeding on proteins such as meat, fruits, vegetables, grains and yogurts, and more.

It is important to start giving your baby fortified cereal such as oat, barley, and multi-grain instead of just rice cereal. For each new food, wait a few days – 3 to 5 – to introduce another one.

As you introduce a new food, beware of choking hazards and food that may be allergic to your babies such as cow’s milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. 

Baby Food Makers/grinders

When your baby is 6 months old, you can introduce solid food when your baby is able to control the head and neck and hopefully be able to sit up with or without support. 

You should start with infant cereals and by the 8-month, your baby can be feeding on proteins such as meat, fruits, vegetables, grains and yogurts, and more.

It is important to start giving your baby fortified cereal such as oat, barley, and multi-grain instead of just rice cereal. For each new food, wait a few days – 3 to 5 – to introduce another one. As you introduce a new food, beware of choking hazards and food that may be allergic to your babies such as cow’s milk products, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and sesame. 

Acid reflux, constipation, and gas issues

 

If your baby has acid reflux, there are several things you can do without necessarily needing to visit the doctor.

You can also breastfeed your baby when this is not improving or try these formulas for acid reflux. If your baby is having a lot of gas or is constipated get the appropriate formula for constipation and gas.

 

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