With our diets coming under much more intense scrutiny, it's never been more important to ensure your newborn gets the best possible start. The only problem is that baby feeding correctly, at the right age and with the right balance of vitamins and nutrients, can be one of the most challenging areas to get to grips with.
Baby Feeding is a staggered process. Recently, dietitians have revised the official guidelines for switching from breast feeding to starting up on solids. This has lead to some confusion amongst parents who aren't sure whether this means other monthly baby feeding strategies have also changed. Rather than provide a strict month-by-month guide for baby feeding, we prefer to list recommendations for each period of baby feeding.
Breast Milk & Bottle Schedule
It's certain that in the first few months your newborn must stick to milk or formula only - their digestive system is still developing and won't be able to manage any solids. For some mothers in particular circumstances, breast feedings aren't a possibility; this is where infant formula, a synthetic milk-based substitute, is best employed. Formula is packed with a variety of key vitamins and nutrients, including the all-important folic acid and calcium, to help with the baby's early growth.
Early Feeding Stages
Knowing when to switch the feeding is a little bit more difficult, as you need to look for the telltale sign that you baby is ready to eat when sat in the highchair. It's been the general consensus that feeding should start at 4 months old, but recent studies have suggested this is too early, and feeding should start at 6 months. In order to make the right decision, try and study your baby's habits when they're hungry - if they're generally more attentive, hold their head up or showing signs of interest in food, then it's time to gradually introduce them to small solids - typically rice-based mixtures with a steady diet of milk is recommended, along with small amounts of bread, pasta and cereal.
Solid Food Schedule
Once your baby is accepting the small doses of solids, you may want to experiment with fruit and vegetables as part of their weaning towards natural solids. At first, it's recommended to start of with a paste, either mashed down or given a quick spin in the blender. Try the vegetables first, as fruits have higher sugar content, and to that end avoid adding sweeteners to the mix to encourage the child to eat. You'll then be able to develop further foods as the time comes.
Baby feeding & Organic Food
The incredible boom in the organic food market also had the detractors out in foce. Many have made their mind up about what organic can do for us, and the long and short if it seems to run simply that it's better for you, but you'll be paying more at the checkout.
Ever since your newborn came in to the world your finances have been revolving around either what's essential for your child or the added bonuses for them that'll give them the head start. Organic food seems to flit between the former and the latter - of course you want the best for your child, but is it an excessive luxury? Well, some stone cold truths - organic food is enriched with vitamin C, phosphorus and iron - all vital for baby growth. On the other hand, these can all be found in foods away from the ultra-healthy aisle of the supermarket, provided you give careful consideration and take the time to read the labels. It's really in your own hands - it is possible to mix and match on organic and shelf foods, perhaps with some trial and error to see what your child takes to as their preferred foods, especially with fruit and vegetables, so you can make your Baby feeding better and your bank balance better off at the same time.
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