Monday, January 19, 2015
The food that your child consumes during the first few years of his life would surely affect his growth, energy levels, resistance to disease and ability to concentrate and do well at school. None of us follow healthy eating patterns most of the time. But you could definitely plan your baby’s menu at least for the first two years of his life, because it does get difficult to monitor your child’s diet once he/she starts going to school, birthday parties et all. So, I guess as parents we all should do that for our little ones. Did you know that babies are not physically ready to eat solid foods until they are about 4 to 6 months old? Reason being the baby’s digestive system is so designed that baby needs only mother’s milk during this time. A baby has only learnt how to suck and takes a bit to learn tongue movement. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, whose guidelines state that best time to feed babies is closer to 6 months especially if the baby is being breastfed and also that Solid foods should not replace breast milk, they should complement it. ‘Normally it is always advised that the new born should only be fed after-6 months. Prior to this age they should only be on mother’s milk, which is best for them’ says Dr S K Nakra, Pediatrician, G M Modi Hospital, Saket. ‘Newborn babies should always be fed on demand that is only when they are actually hungry. In the first few days (2-4 days) they should be given 8-10 times of feed and then after that the new born should be fed 7-8 times in every 24 hrs’, further adds Dr Nakra.
And after your baby is ready to eat solid food after an ok from your pediatrician try and make the first time a real special one for your baby, even though the baby would consume only a tea-spoon or two the first time. Firstly the very first time you try and feed your baby should be in the morning or early afternoon, because some babies may have an allergy or get gassy at times and Iam sure you wouldn’t want any of that happening in the middle of the night would you? And secondly try this when the baby is not too hungry or he’ll probably hate this unfamiliar eating method. Make the baby comfortable and use a plastic spoon, keep the temperature of the food lukewarm and most importantly smile when you feed your baby (can be trying I agree). ‘It is always advised to start with cereals, all sorts of pulses, juices and if possible mashed fruits. One should always start with small quantity and then should increase the dosage gradually. One should always stick to the same food for few days instead of changing on a regular basis because sometime the food may pose some kind of difficulty for the newborn, which can be in any form and can be dangerous also sometime’, says Dr. Nakra. The best and most nutritious food for babies is freshly prepared home food and with modern electrical gadgets like a blender or food processor it’s easier to puree most foodstuffs.
I would in this case recommend the KitchenAid food chopper, Cordless Hand blender or the new Diamond Blender that KitchenAid has just launched as the plastic is BPA free and very safe to make warm baby food as well.
Another important thing to remember is that when the baby starts consuming solid foods, it increases the load on the kidneys and therefore it is required to add some water also to the baby’s diet. As for how much quantity a baby is required to eat Dr Nakra says, ‘As such the quantity cannot be measured. If the baby is fit and fine with the dosage of food being given to him in any age, then one should stick to the same pattern of food habits for the new born’. So parents let’s gift our babies a healthy future.