Quality nutrition is vital for survival, health, physical growth, mental development, performance, productivity, and well-being across the whole life-span of a person. The health experts say that the earliest stages of development are the crucial ones, so your baby can develop a lifetime of healthy eating habits.
Feeding your baby within the first year of life is an exciting adventure for parents and babies alike. As you set about your daily feeding routine together with your baby you improve development, learning, and sharing. The secure attachment also grows stronger during feeding.
One of the most important decisions that you will need to make when your baby arrives is selecting between breastfeeding or baby formula. Health experts say that breast milk is considered the best nutritional choice for babies. It’s easy to digest, it contains infection-fighting antibodies and it’s believed to reinforce the mother-child relationship.
For some moms, breastfeeding might not be possible, and for others, the choice to breastfeed or formula-feed will be decided by their specific medical situations and lifestyle decisions.
If your choice is baby formula, you’ll probably have some questions. You’ll easily get confused and begin to browse on baby forums, right? Maybe a certain brand of baby formula is better than another? What is better, a soy-based formula or a cow’s milk formula? Why is a dairy and soy free formula the perfect choice for your child? Are there allergens within the formula? These are just some of the questions you’ll want answers to, and luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of everything you would like to consider when choosing the perfect infant and newborn nutrition.
It is widely accepted that human breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants and newborn babies. Numerous researchers say the advantages of providing human milk to newborn babies and young infants include better tolerance of feeding, reduced gastrointestinal disease, and improved intelligence. These benefits cause quick and healthy development. In developing countries, breastfeeding leads to a lower infant death rate. Breastfeeding also may decrease the probabilities that a toddler will become overweight or obese.
Breastfeeding meets the basic emotional needs of both moms and babies. Skin-to-skin contact can enhance the emotional connection and stimulates security and confidence for the baby. It’s great for moms as well – it burns calories, and they get in shape quicker. It may also protect the mom from breast and ovarian cancer.
The World Health Organization suggests that breastfeeding as the only option for the baby’s first six months is an optimal way of feeding. Infants should receive complementary foods after their first six months, with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
For moms who can’t breastfeed because they need to return to working mode shortly after their baby’s delivered or who simply decide to not breastfeed, the baby formula may be a healthy substitute. It provides nutrients that are essential for babies to grow and thrive.
The formula also includes another benefit, like longer rest between feeding intervals because formula-fed babies don’t get hungry as frequently as breastfed babies. Another benefit is that bottle feeding engages the entire family, so an element of freedom for the mom is secured. Now she will get an evening of quality sleep that she needs or some self-care practice.
You can choose between the 4 main sorts of baby formulas regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), cow-milk-protein-based formulas, protein hydrolysate formulas, soy-based formulas, or specialized ones.
Cow’s-milk-based formula is about 80% of all formulas on the market. Most of the baby formulas are formed with cow’s milk that’s been modified to resemble breast milk and be easier to digest. This provides the formula the proper balance of nutrients and most babies will thrive from it. Some babies, who are allergic to the proteins in cow’s milk will need other sorts of baby formula like soy-based ones. They’re an excellent substitute if you would like to exclude animal proteins from your child’s diet.
The specialized formula applies to babies with certain medical needs. If your baby is lactose intolerant, soy intolerant, has an allergy, or you’re concerned about GMO, aluminum, or added sugar, then the medical aid providers may put the baby on a special diet immediately. The dairy-free and soy-free baby formula will then be an ideal choice.
Introducing solid foods
Solid foods should be introduced to 6 months old babies, the earliest. At that point, most babies are ready for them. Alongside other foods, you can still breastfeed as long as you need, because it is comfortable for you and your baby, even well into the toddler years.
You’ll know the baby is prepared to start other foods when they:
- Don’t need support, lean forward, and have good control of their neck muscles.
- Are able to pick food and place it in their mouth.
- Hold food in their mouth without pushing it out with their tongue directly.
- Show interest in touching or smelling the food when other family members are eating.
- Open their mouth once they see food coming their way.
- Can allow you to know they don’t want food by leaning back or turning their head away.
Remember that baby needs are individual and different. Some babies could also be ready a couple of weeks before or simply after 6 months for solid food. You should start with foods that contain iron, which babies need for several different aspects of their development. Meat, poultry, cooked whole egg, fish, tofu, and well-cooked legumes like, beans, peas, and lentils are good sources of iron.
What you ought to take from this read is that healthy and quality nutrition is important for the well-being of your baby. Whether you’ll breastfeed or the formula is going to be a more practical choice for you and your lifestyle, bear in mind that the emotional bond also enhances during feeding.
Whatever factors affect your decisions concerning breastfeeding, baby formula, and healthy solid nutrition, consult a doctor, pediatrician, or other professionals to give you insight on what’s best for your baby.