Parenting In Focus: Feeding your child
Feeding your baby can be a confusing time. People often disagree on whether to breastfeed or bottle feed their baby. Those who stand up for one another can become very sure of themselves.
While there is some significant research on the physical benefits of breastfeeding, nothing diminishes the importance of feeding your baby the way you want to feed him. If you feed him lovingly, he will feel your love.
In The Girlfriends’ Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood, Vicki Iovine writes about feeding your baby: “No matter how hard you think about making the right choices and choices for your children, they will thrive and move on to another one Number of problems for you to worry about.
If a mother you admire tells you that her special child is already eating with a fork, and your child isn’t even getting the food in your child’s mouth, compliment her. Then forget it.
Your child’s eating habits will be overcome. Her food by the age of one does not predict that she will heat up by the age of five. She will be fine.
Your breastfed baby will feed eight to twelve times a day. If your child is an infant who is being fed baby formula, they will be fed about six to ten times each day. To add even more to the matter, you can start introducing solid foods around 6 months of age.
Feeding problems continue in her life as she gets old enough to start consuming solid foods. The controversy remains as to when to start feeding, when to wean your baby, and how much to feed.
When your baby starts to eat solid foods, you can expect them to be drinking less. You can slowly decrease breast milk or infant formula by increasing the amount of solid foods you offer her. Make sure that you offer all food with a spoon and not from the bottle.
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How do you know if your baby is hungry or full? Babies cry or are picky because they are hungry, tired, upset, unwell, or need diaper changes or burps. Some signs that your baby is hungry are lip smacking, reaching for his breast or bottle, or moving his hands to his mouth and sucking on his hands.
Some signs that your baby has had enough to eat include losing weight from the bottle, spoon, or breast, falling asleep, changing position, shaking his head, closing his mouth, or actively moving hands.
When do you switch to solid foods? Many healthcare providers recommend breastfeeding your baby for the first 6 months of life. However, if you are not exclusively breastfeeding, your baby may be ready to start solid foods between 4 and 6 months.
Every baby develops differently, so here are a few things to look for in order to know that your baby is ready for solid food:
• Your baby can sit upright in the high chair with little or no support
• She has good head control over long periods of time
• She is hungry for more food after 8 to 10 breastfeeds or 32 ounces of formula
• She shows interest in what you are eating or she opens her mouth quickly to accept spoon-feeding
If you have a special needs child or were born prematurely, talk to your doctor before switching to solid foods.
Watch your baby so you can see what he wants. This is a whole new time in your life. You can be in charge, but she will let you know what she wants. Enjoy this new time.
Cynthia Martin is the founder of the First Teacher Program and former executive director of the Parenting Matters Foundation, which publishes newsletters for parents, carers, and grandparents. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-681-2250.