Proper baby nutrition is vital for the development and healthy growth of children from birth through adulthood. The parents need to know the needs of their children as soon as they are born.
Deciding on what you feed to your baby greatly affects their mental and physical development. Practicing good nutrition for your baby as early as possible is very important due to its role in reducing chronic disease risk throughout their life span. It can increase a child’s IQ, school performance, and a good foundation in their adult life.
According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, every growing child has the right to proper baby nutrition. However, less than a fourth of infants and children suffered inadequate access to the required dietary diversity and feeding frequency. The lack of appropriate feeding practices for a child can lead to malnutrition.
Processed foods and products for infants rich in salt, free sugars, and trans fat are the fundamental cause of this. Medical professionals recommended breastfeeding your babies during the first six months for the child’s healthy development and a healthy start in life.
It is the parents’ responsibility to decide on how healthy you want your child to grow. These are some helpful guidelines for you to know what is right for you and your baby.
Baby Nutrition Guide: How Often Should You Feed Infants?
In the first week, your newborn will nurse about eight to twelve times a day. Mothers can nurse their newborn from 10-15 minutes on each breast and adjust the time they desire.
Caregivers should feed newborn babies regularly and on-demand. Your baby might want to eat as often as every 1 to 3 hours. As they get older and bigger, you will have lesser nursing and feeding as they do than the first week. Mothers who fed their newborn babies an infant formula could take about 2-3 ounces every 2-4 hours. You should feed your newborn babies every 4-5 hours, whether you are breastfeeding or using formula.
Feeding Your Baby: The First 12 Months
In this section, you will learn about the food you can give to your baby by age. Here are the three stages that may help you maintain your baby’s nutrition.
Let your baby drink breast milk or infant formula for 12 months. If they start to show interest in solid foods, you may allow them.
For babies around six months, you can feed them with breastmilk or infant formula as well as solids. Their solid food must be in thin and drippy consistency with no chunks or pieces to avoid choking. It is advisable to start with cereals available in the market for babies at this age, but you can feed them any food you want: vegetables, pureed fruits, or meat.
If concerned about your baby’s readiness to eat, you may consult your pediatrician.
This stage includes babies from seven to eight months old who have experienced eating solids.
Your baby’s feeding pattern may change as soon as they start eating solids. Keep them in feeding breastmilk or infant milk when your child shows hungriness.
At this age, your baby and their tummy grow, and they will show hungriness as often as possible. Here are some signs for you to take notes of:
- Opening their mouths and putting their hands and fist
- Salivating and trying to reach for their mouth
- Rubbing their head or hands on their mothers’ breast
If fed by solid foods, you may now consider small chunks with multiple ingredients, and you can add flavors for your baby’s satisfaction.
Remember that you need to keep an eye on your child when feeding them new foods as they are trying to adapt in this phase.
For 9 to 12 months:
At this point, your baby is more familiarized with what they eat. You can start feeding them bigger chunks as they are beginning to learn how to chew. If they become uninterested in breastmilk after introducing them to solid foods, try to breastfeed them first before feeding them solids or alternatively.
If your baby becomes fussy about what they eat, you might offer them cereals that come in different shapes and colors, finger foods that look like their favorite character, or food that comes with toys.
Should Newborns Get Nutritional Supplements?
Breastfeeding, as experts say, can be a source of various elements promoting baby nutrition. Mothers’ milk has the right amount of nutrients. So, except for Vitamin D, additional vitamin intake or supplements are not needed.
The AAP recommends all mothers who breastfeed their baby should take Vitamin D supplements for their newborn’s first days of life until they get a sufficient amount of Vitamin D, mostly after 12 months of life.
Vitamins and mineral supplements are not needed if babies have taken enough iron-fortified formula. Infants who drink less than 1 liter or about a quart of formula per day must take a Vitamin D supplement.
During the first six months of your baby’s life, they don’t need to drink water or take food. Breastmilk or infant formula provides the baby’s needs until introducing them to solid foods.
Feeding your newborn baby might be troubling to new parents. Not only can it keep you up at night worrying about your baby’s well-being, but it is also crucial for your child’s growth. If you have underlying questions about it, you may talk to your baby’s healthcare provider.