Feeding Your Baby Rightly: A Necessity

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As a nursing mother, it is important that the right food should be given to your baby at different stage of development.

When we talk about the right food for the baby, it is the food that is suitable for that baby at that particular stage of development.

Though some babies adapt to solid food fast, it is still advisable to take it slowly when introducing them to a new food.

Your baby taking interest in solid food at an early stage does not mean that you should forgo the actual type of food needed for him or her at that stage in life for a mature food which the baby’s body system is not yet ready for.

It is a known fact that breast milk is the perfect food for babies it is the only food your baby needs during his first six months. At  this stage, a baby is not ready for other foods except formular, which is designed for ease of eating, either a soft, liquidly past or an easily chewed food. This is because infants lack teeth and experience in eating.

This is the stage when most babies are introduced to solid foods, your doctor, however, may recommend starting as early as four months depending on your baby’s readiness and nutritional needs. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any solid foods.

Now, how can you tell if your baby is ready for solids? Here are a few hints.

The baby’s tongue – thrust reflex, this is a reflex action which prevents infants from choking on foreign objects and also cause them to push food out of their mouths. As a result, it being diminished, gone or very much present is a vital factor in knowing whether your baby is ready for solid food or not, as this action has the tendency to cause the baby to push out the food once it enters his mouth.

Your baby’s ability to support his head is another key factor to knowing whether your baby is ready for solid food because an infant needs good head and neck control to eat solid food.

The baby’s interest in food matters a lot here. A six-months old baby who stares and grabs at your food at dinner time is clearly ready for some variety in the food department.

Even if your doctor gives the go ahead but your baby seems frustrated or uninterested as you are introducing solid foods, try waiting a few days or even weeks before trying again. Since solids are only a supplement at this point, breast milk and formula will still fill your baby’s basic and nutritional needs.

It is advisable that you do not force your baby to eat solid food if he or she is not interested, for forceful feeding is not good for babies.

How to start feeding solids

When your baby is ready and the doctor has given you the go-ahead to try solid foods, pick a time  when your baby is not tired or cranky.

Your baby needs to be a little hungry, but not all – out starving. You might want to let him breast feed a while, or provide part of the usual bottle. Have your baby sit supported in your lap or in an up right infant seat. Infants who sit well, usually around six months, can be placed in a high chair with a safety strap.

Most babies’ first food is a little iron – fortified infant rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula. The first feeding may be nothing more than a little cereal mixed in a whole lot of liquid.

Place the spoon near your baby’s lips, and let the baby smell and taste. Don’t be surprised if this first spoonful is rejected. Wait a minute and try again, most food offered to your baby at this age will end up on the baby’s chin, bib or high – chair tray. Again, this is just an introduction.

Happy feeding.

Rita Ojukwu