From birth till the full grown toddler, the diet routine and quantity of food for babies vary immensely in regards with their physical and mental development. The body requirements change with the passage of time henceforth babies need to be taken care of with cautious when it comes to feeding nutritional food items.
The initial stage of feeding always begins with liquid intake which comes in the form of breast milk. It is the best nutritional food for infants, but just in case the initial feeding is not possible via breast milk then formula milks are also used. The most the parents do is hire a wet nurse to ensure proper growth development by providing what is necessary to the infant rather than giving them formula milk.
It is the most beautiful phenomenon in the world as the mother nourishes the baby through breastfeeding. It is a perfect bonding time between mother and child, the mother provide the ideal nourishing diet for the infant while experiencing the most amazing thing by holding the baby in her arms.
Babies are normally breast-fed at the minimum of 6 months but it can be varied depending upon the mother’s willingness and the baby’s eagerness which can go up to 12 months of baby’s age.
Breast-milk composition is not constant throughout the duration of baby nourishing. It varies depending according to the nutritional adaptation of the infants with time. The basic components in breast-milk includes;
- Fats – Fatty components in breast milk help in development of baby’s brain, nervous system and eyes. It adds to the fatty acid components in the baby’s body to help them out in nutritional requirements.
- Proteins – Proteins are a very essential building block of breast-milk which ensure the proper development of baby’s immune system. Breast-milk protein provides a component known as Lactoferrin that prepares the baby’s body for anti-bacterial and immune stimulating activities.
- Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are the most important component of breast-milk that enhances the capability of calcium absorption in baby’s body. The primary carbohydrate in breast-milk is Lactose which benefits the health of the baby by helping the gut microbial which controls the digestion and provides balance to the body health. Lactose also serves in aiding the calcium absorption which enhances the bone building in the body.
- Sugar – Oligosaccharides or sugar component in breast-milk aids in the growth of body friendly bacteria. This bacteria helps in ensuring the proper effect of infant’s immune system against the intruding virus or bacteria.
- Vitamins – Breast-milk contains a variety of vitamin and minerals that aids in the physical and mental growth of the infant along with maintaining the proper organs function. It also helps in the development of baby’s bones and teeth with the passage of time.
- Others – These are the main components of breast-milk, besides these there are various bioactive components like;
- Growth hormones – for body development (in height)
- Enzymes – for perfect metabolism.
- Other hormones – to establish body’s demand.
Feeding positions should be able to give comfort to the mother as well as the infant. Some of feeding positions are discussed hereby;
- Cradling – It is the most common position of breast feeding where the mother hold the baby in her arms and support their head against the breast.
- Cross cradling – Use of opposite arm to support the baby’s head against the breast like; use right hand to support the head against the left breast while the other arm supports the baby’s body.
- Side-by-side – Lying on the bed, side-by-side with the baby and feeding the correspondingly. It is the most comfy position when it comes to night feeding routine because the mother needs some rest as well.
- Clutching – This position is preferred when the mothers undergo C-section and avoid putting pressure on abdomen. They use one arm to support the baby which is already placed on a pillow while the other arm is free.
Parents often worry about their baby’s empty stomach. With passing time, baby’s body requirements vary thereby bringing a certain change in the quantity of breast-milk intake and the timings when they get hungry.
- Newborn babies – Infants intake their initial food every two to three hours in small quantities apparently 1 to 2 ounces, but this amount increases up to 3 ounces when the baby enters the second week after birth.
- 1 to 3 months – With growth comes the increase in appetite of the babies. When the babies enter their age between 1 to 3 months, their intake of breast-milk increases up to 4 or 5 ounces. They will eat every three to four hours per day.
If the baby wets their diaper after feeding period then it means they are eating well enough.
Is breastfeeding really important?
For infants and babies who rely only on breast-milk as their source of nutrition, it is the best exemplary food for them. The composition of breast-milk have various effects on the baby’s body stream. Breast feeding is important regardless of some people thinking about the negative impacts, it has a lot of positive consequences for the baby and mother both.
- Nutrition – The amount of vitamins, carbohydrates and other components in breast-milk is really beneficial for the baby’s external and internal development without any anomaly.
- Antibody protection – Breast feeding ensures the transfer of antibodies via milk stream into the infant which protects the baby against external damaging intruders like; viral infections or bacterial diseases.
- Immunity – It improves the immune system of the baby and prevents the body against different diseases like; respiratory tract illness, sinus or ear infections, diabetic problems, allergies and many other issues.
- Physical development – Breastfed infants are more likely to develop normal body weight and growth development.
- Cognitive skills – Breastfeeding increases the mental capacity of babies hence increasing their cognitive skills. Such babies are proven intelligent in most cases according to their age.
Do babies cry when they are hungry?
Babies do cry when they get hungry but that is the ultimate stage of baby hunger, this is when the baby gets annoyed due to extreme hunger. Parents need to observe their baby giving out signs of hunger before they start wailing. Some of these signs include;
- Constant hand sucking.
- Smack their lips.
- Clenching or fisting hands.
- Moving jaw or mouth or head constantly.
- Sucking on anything.
- Sticking their tongue occasionally.
Parents can find it confusing at times due to their baby’s body signs for feeding but sometimes they don’t just suckle on anything to feed but to get comfort as well. They may cry to find comfort in cuddle and not for food only therefore parents need to pay close attention to their facial features as well as body signs.
Best baby food to start with after breastfeeding
Parents think about trying to make their baby eat solid food but they are not sure about the type of food they should start with after feeding. The best option is to start with light weight food items to prevent effecting stomach issues all of a sudden due to the change in the physical form of food intake. The first close-to-solid food for baby is an iron rich cereal which is not too thick neither too thin.
When to start solid food to a baby?
At the minimum age of four months to six months, babies can intake solid food but in little quantity. Do not feed solid food to babies before the age of 4 months at the minimum considering their organs and digestive system have yet to adjust.
Quantity of food
At first try giving 1 or 2 spoons of iron rich cereal to get them a hang on something other than breast milk. It is most likely to get rejected but be patient and try a little while later, let them adjust to the smell and taste of it. Once they get a hang of it then try increasing the number of spoons you feed according to the baby’s liking. 4 to 6 month old can eat something soft that can be swallowed without chewing.
How frequently should the baby be fed?
The baby needs to be fed every four hours per day or more closely considering there is not fixed time schedule. The baby won’t be able to finish food all at once therefore leaving the food half way through while enjoying something else. They often comeback after two to three hours at the minimum to get food again therefore it is not scheduled when they would eat. There are some signs that point out when the baby needs food;
- Points to food or kitchen.
- Try to mimic eating.
Try to give signs of hunger by making sound or giving hand gestures.
Infants are more fussy and less communicative compared to toddlers henceforth parents find it hard for first few months to understand what their baby needs at all times. The only energy consuming task is the night duty when they get hungry during night but otherwise it is a beautiful feeling to breastfeed your baby and have an honor to give them breast-milk. Most of the children