Feeding a newborn will be a difficult task, especially in the very early stage. The reason is the infant will not be able to communicate with you for their requirements. The only solution to get over the problem is to develop the ability of the mother to understand the demand of the baby from their gesture or change of behavior. When a baby cries, it is ostensibly a reason to communicate that your child is hungry. You have to make it a practice to feed your baby before your baby to cry.
Read the following to know more about, how to feed your baby 0 to 10 months, and the best foods suitable for the child during this period.
Breastmilk is the best food for your baby until it completes 4th month. In the event, if you are medically unfit to breastfeed, you can consider giving, iron-fortified infant formula milk.
How can you understand, whether your child required food? Watch your child carefully. Your baby will show gestures, such as crying, opening the mouth and mimic sucking nipple or become fussy. If you can watch your child closely, you can find a pattern of demand, which varies from child to child.
Similarly, how can you understand if your child is full? Your baby will turn away his/her head. Stop sucking the nipple and start playing or doing something else or simply fall asleep. Do not try to feed solid food during this period, as your child is not yet prepared to take solid food. Even if you try to give solid food, your baby will spit it out or push it out with the tongue. Respect these actions and do not feed your child forcefully. You can repeat breastfeeding after every 4 hours.
Four to Six months are an important stage in your baby's life. You can start giving solid food. For parents, this will be a nerve-wracking scene. There is no hard and fast rule to make your baby start eating solid food. Depends on baby you have to experiment all your skills to give solid food. It is better to start giving nutritious foods that are healthy for the growth of your child and delicious apart from breastfeeding.
From 4th month onwards, you can start giving the following:
- Milk: Breastfeeding, Iron-fortified infant milk
- Cereals & Grains: Barely, Rice, Oat
- Fruits: Apples, Bananas, Pears, Avocado
- Vegetables: Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans, Acorn or Butternut Squash
Do not feed non-vegetarian food or dairy products during this age. It is better to avoid giving Cow's milk because the child's kidney will not be able to process the high mineral and protein content of the milk. Until six months of age, infant rice cereal is the most suitable food for the child. For children with proper digestion, you can give pureed fruits and fresh bananas.
From 6th month onwards, your baby will be more active and hence require more energy to support their activities. Therefore, from this stage onwards, apart from milk, you need to add more energy and vitamin oriented foods to your baby's diet. The foods must be soft and easy to digest. You can gradually give solid food to your baby. As a preparation, start bottle feeding and then try giving solid foods.
During this period, you can start giving the following foods:
- Milk: Breastfeeding, Iron fortified infant milk
- Cereals & Grains: Wheat, Barley, Rice, Oat
- Fruits: Pumpkin, Apricots, Apples, Avocado, Bananas, Nectarines, Mangos, Plums, Peaches, Pears
- Vegetables: Acorn or Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Peas, Green Beans, Parsnips, Yellow Squash
- Diary: Plain Milk Yogurt
- Meat: Chicken, Tofu, Turkey, eggs, fish
Prepare cereals, soft hot and creamy with low sugar contents and try feeding in small quantity. Fruits and vegetables must be pureed and cooked in advance. For babies with healthy digestion, you can give fresh bananas. At this age, give only cooked fruits and vegetables considering their delicate digestive systems. Similarly, one to two tablespoon pureed meat item you can include in your baby's diet chart. Do not give any food that could potentially choke on, since they do not have fully developed teeth, and hence they are unable to chew properly.
Some babies must have developed few teeth at this age, and some will be on their crawling stage. It means, your child is more active and busy in doing new things. During this juncture, you can try changing purees with well-cooked mashed foods. The food must be soft to eat. Your child's gum will be robust enough to chew, even if he/she does not have any teeth. You can continue breast feeding or infant formula milk.
You can include the following foods in your child's diet plan:
- Milk: Breastfeeding, Iron fortified infant milk
- Seeds & Grains: Barely, Wheat, Rice, Pasta, Oats, Kamut, Flax, Buckwheat, Sesame, Quinoa, etc
- Fruits: Apricots, Apples, Blueberries, Bananas, Pears, Peaches, Papaya, Cherries, Kiwi, Dates, etc
- Vegetables: Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Peas, Onions, Sweet Potatoes, Zucchini, Butternut Squash, Eggplant, Fennel, Green Beans, etc
- Non-Veg: Chicken, Egg, Fish, Turkey, Beef, Pork, etc
- Dairy products: Cheese, Cheddars, etc
As a thumb rule, it is better to give cooked light warm foods for your baby. It 's hard to fix the exact quantity requirements for each child because the quantity depends on the baby and their digesting condition. Children at this stage you can give 3 solid meals in a day and between the main meals, give them some snacks. Avoid Cow's milk until your child complete the first year.
The above food planning wrote on a general perception and is valid for children who have a healthy digestive system. Children who face, digestive disorders, frequent crying and fussy nature require careful attention, and you have to consult with your pediatrician before continue giving the planned food. Never force feed as it may give adverse affect and food aversions. It is imperative to continue breastfeeding for two years as it can supplement the essential vitamins; minerals and develop antibodies required for the growth of your baby.