Feeding your baby will become the most essential job that you have to perform as a mother. During pregnancy, you will mostly be concerned about personal nutrition only. However, after childbirth, you will have to take care of two people. Today, we will be discussing some common things that you should keep in mind while feeding your baby. This would ensure proper nutrition to the baby and would also help you in regaining your vitality and vigor.

What could be a perfect baby-feeding schedule?

Every baby is different and can have a different appetite as well. However, most of the parents are looking for rules of thumb when it comes to baby feeding schedule. Your first need to understand that there can be no fixed rules about a child’s diet. One size does not fit them all. There are babies that want finger food and cereal at an average time while others may want it sooner or faster. So keep a close check on your baby’s development and you will be able to find the right schedule for him. Here are some rules that can fit your child. Customize them according to your child.

Breastfeeding

A newborn will need breastfeeding about 8 to 12 times in a day. This is essential to supply them nutrients. As your baby starts to grow and gain weight, you can feed him only 8 times a day. However, during his growth spurt, the baby may need more feedings. Here is a small guideline on the frequency of feeding according to the age of your baby.

  • Newborn babies- 8 to 12 times in a day
  • Aged 3 to 4 months- 7 to 8 times in a day
  • Aged 5 to 6 months- 5 to 7 times in a day
  • Aged 7 to 12 months- 4 to 6 times in a day
  • More than 12 months- 3 to 4 times in a day

As per the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should be breastfeeding your child for as long as it is comfortable for you. You should ideally breastfeed for a year. However, if you have to stop breastfeeding before 12 months, then you should definitely provide your child with an iron fortified formula.

Baby formula

Baby formula can be safely fed to a child right from his first month. About 3 to 4 ounces of baby formula can be given in every feeding when the kid is one month old. As the baby grows up, you can increase the quantity of baby food by 1 ounce. Keep doing this month by month, unless it reaches 8 ounces. Never give more than 8 ounces of baby formula to your child at a time. Moreover, you can also experiment a little with the quantity. The most favorable quantity of baby formula for most babies is 4 to 6 ounces per feeding. If you do not follow this guideline, then there is another rule to stand by. You can feed about 2 ½ ounces of baby formulation to your child for each pound of his weight. That means that a 12-pound baby will eat close to 30 ounces of baby formula per day.

However, before you find the right quantity and frequency of feeding baby formula, check out some statistics about an average baby’s baby formula consumption:

  • A 6 month old baby can easily consumes about 4 to 6 ounces of formula
  • A 9 month old baby can consume between 3 to 5 bottles of formula
  • A 12 month old baby can consume 3 to 4 bottles of formula
  • Once a baby is more than 12 months of age, he can consume 3 to 4 bottles of toddler formula or the same quantity of whole milk.

Baby food and cereals

Most mothers are confused about the right time when they should start feeding their child baby food and cereals. They often wonder whether cereals should be started first or vegetables and fruits. An average baby can easily start having cereals and baby food when he is 4 to 6 months old. You will have to check if your baby is ready for such food or not.

When you are feeding your child cereal, make sure that it gets a good consistency. Your baby would not like food with too many lumps. In order to do this, mix at least 4 teaspoons or breast milk with 1-teaspoon baby cereal. Mix with well together. Once your baby starts eating it, you can go on reducing the amount of liquid in the mix. In the beginning, you should start with only 1 or 2 teaspoons of cereal. However, you can keep increasing the quantity to 3 to 4 teaspoons a day. Do not feed the child cereal more than twice a day.

Before buying cereal for your child, consult your doctor. The cereal should always be iron fortified and made of rice. This is the healthiest first food for your baby. Let your baby get accustomed to this rice cereal for some weeks and months. When he starts feeling okay with this kind of cereal, you can go ahead and mix oatmeal, wheat, barley and other mixed cereal to your kid. However, do not let your baby eat cereal for too long. If he is already eating 3 to 4 teaspoons of cereal a day, you should start feeding him vegetables as well.

Most people believe that fruits should be fed to the babies before vegetables. However, feeding your child with vegetables is always better. This is because children often love the sweet taste of fruits and then they dislike the bland taste of vegetables. You should be getting peas, green beans and other such mild vegetables in the diet of your kids. Just like cereal, you should also be using 3 to 4 spoons per meal. You should never make your baby eat more than two servings a day in the beginning.

Until the time your baby is 4 to 6 months old, you should feed three to four tablespoons cereal every day. You can also give him one or two servings of vegetables and fruits every day. Most of the infants can easily wait for 6 months of age until they can start eating baby food and cereal. Once the child is 7 months old, you can also start giving him protein food and meat. As the child grows to 12 months old, you can increase the servings of vegetables to eight spoons per day. Similarly, increase the fruit and baby food serving as well.

Table foods and finger foods

The best time to introduce your baby to finger foods is 8 to 9 months of age. This is a time when you should let your child enjoy food all by himself. Just make sure that the food is of the right size. Most parents are too worried about finger foods as they think that such foods present choking hazards to the kids. However, this is not true. You can carefully supervise your child while feeding him raisings, cheese, vegetable chunks, and even whole grapes. Some other things that your child can eat are: Cheerios, pasta, crackers, toasted crusts of bread and even small slices of banana, pear, and peach. Some yogurt snacks can also be fed to the babies.

Foods you should avoid

You should be very careful about the foods you make your child eat. Some foods like honey, egg whites etc. are strictly prohibited for children. You must have heard a lot about the health benefits of these two foods. However, they are only beneficial for the adults, not for small babies. Egg whites can often pose the risk for food allergies while honey can increase the chances of botulism.

You should also think twice before preparing baby food at home. These are usually made with turnips, spinach, collard greens, beets, and carrots. These veggies often have very high levels of nitrate. Therefore, they can be harmful for your child. If you are preparing baby food at home, you should focus on pumpkin and other such vegetables. Bananas are also a very good option when it comes to babies. Try to avoid cow’s milk for as long as possible, especially when you are using baby formula or breast milk to feed your child. Cow’s milk is very low in iron content and might not be tolerated by the digestive system of the baby.

What vitamins does your baby need?

Your baby needs vitamins too. However, the real question is whether you should be providing your baby with extra vitamins or not. Usually, a baby will get his nutrition from the food he is eating and there would be no need for extra vitamins. Hence, while planning his diet, keep in mind the vitamins he needs the most and find foods that contain a good quantity of these vitamins.

  • Iron- this vitamin is needed the most by babies, even in their first year. Hence, it is essential that you find iron rich foods for your baby. Moreover, look for baby cereal that consists of iron.
  • Fluoride- bottled water usually does not contain any fluoride. Hence, you can make your baby drink fluoridated water.
  • Vitamin D- if your baby is only being fed breast milk, and then he might need a Vitamin D supplement. However, when he is being fed baby formula, then you would not need any extra supplements. Just make sure that the baby formula contains enough amounts of this vitamin.

Baby poop is a key to his health

Generally, it might become difficult for moms to define whether their child is healthy and is following a good diet. However, his poop can tell you a lot about his health and his diet. We will now discuss about the indications that you can get:

  • If you are breastfeeding your baby and also supplementing baby formulas, then the bowels will likely have a very strong odor. Moreover, the bowels will be firmer. The color is usually brown or tan. On the other hand, breastfed babies usually have looser stools.
  • At 6 months of age, your baby will be introduced to solid foods and his poop will show the same changes. Depending on what kind of food he eats, his poop color will change. If the baby is eating a lot of sweet potatoes and carrots, his stools will become orange. On the other hand, peas and beans may turn the stools green. Remember, solid foods may also mean constipation for your baby. So be very careful.
  • When a baby is constipated, he experiences problems in passing bowels and the stools will be dry and hard. In such a condition, avoid giving any laxatives to the bay and talk to the pediatrician immediately.
  • Breastfed babies often pass less stools because they have lesser waste to produce. The breast milk is digested very easily. Therefore, do not feel concerned if the baby is not pooping enough while he is breastfeeding. If you think that he poops too less, consult a doctor immediately.
  • Breastfed babies often have looser stools and most mothers would easily believe that their baby is suffering from diarrhea. However, this is not true. Breastfeeding babies rarely suffer from diarrhea. Breast milk actually reduces the chances of loose motions and can even prevent infections that may cause diarrhea.
  • When a baby really has diarrhea, he will have watery stools very frequently. The poop will be brown or green in color and will likely have a very foul odor as well. In case you notice anything like this, do not wait for a second and call your pediatrician immediately. During this time, breastfeed your child so that he does not suffer from dehydration.

We have tried to explain all that we could about feeding your baby, providing him the right nutrition and even monitoring his health. However, this is not an all-inclusive information. There is a lot more that you need to know about feeding your baby. Talk to your doctor. In the end, we would like to advise you to bond with your baby so that you can learn more about him. It helps you understand him better and solve his problem when he grows up to be a toddler.

 

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