Breast feeding the babies!!!

Seems like your baby is ready for more than breast milk?

You would know that your baby is ready for solids when he or she can hold up head steady and upright, shows interest in foods that you are eating, nurses multiple times per day, keeps food in his or her mouth and swallows rather than pushing the food out.

This transition from exclusive breast or formula feeding with addition of more solid foods covers the period 6 to 23 months of age.

Remember this is a very vulnerable time for babies; because this is when many infants are prone to malnutrition if not fed the right foods in the right proportions.

As a caregiver or parent, pay close attention to the quality, frequency and consistency of feeds and ensure that complementary foods cover the nutritional needs of the growing child.

Great starter foods for your baby are iron fortified cereal, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, Calaloo, avocado, fruits, yogurt (plain, whole milk, unsweetened), cheese, split peas.

When starting baby off with solids, use a small spoon, cup or bowl for feedings. If your baby has trouble swallowing; then he or she may not be quite ready for food. So wait a few days; then try again.

Some foods should be avoided due to possible health risks. Whole milk, for example should not be introduced as a replacement for breast or formula until after 12 months or 1 year old. Citrus is very acidic and many infants under age 1 may get rashes and stomach upsets.

Shellfish and peanuts are also known as high allergens.

Early discovery of food allergies is extremely important so stick to feeding baby the same single food for at least one week before adding something new to the menu. Be attentive to adverse reactions like rash, vomiting or diarrhea.

Foods should be prepared and given in a safe manner and measures should be taken to minimise the risk of contamination. Ensure that foods are of the appropriate texture according to the child’s age.

Remember that it is a gradual move from liquid feeds to solid foods, so the consistency should go from puree to soft to mashed to crushed to bite sized pieces. There is no need to add sugar or salt to the child’s food before age 2.

Between 6-8 months, foods should be given 2-3 times a day, as the baby grows older, 9-11 months, increase the number of feeds to 3-4 times a day, beginning with about 2-3 tablespoons and gradually increasing as the child grows older.

In addition 1-2 year olds can be fed nutritious snacks once or twice per day. Note that complementary foods do not replace, but complements breastfeeding, so the frequency of breastfeeding can be maintained.

(The above was submitted by the Grenada Food & Nutrition Council)

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