The proper infant nutrition is essential to lifelong health and wellness. Starting during pregnancy, mothers have to eat healthy and exercise. For delivery, a mother can prepare for their baby’s life to start off healthy by making decisions on options like immunizations, circumcision and umbilical cord blood banking. During the first year of life, infants grow and develop at a rapid rate—to support this growth and development, good nutrition is key.
The proper nutrition has the following positive effects on infants:
– Proper brain development
– Healthy bone and muscle growth
– Good digestion
– The proper development of eyes and other organ
– A healthy immune system
Breastfeeding is one way for infants to receive optimal nutrition, especially during the first few days after delivery. It is recommended that infants should be nursed solidly for at least the first six months of life, and that breastfeeding can be incorporated into a formula or solid foods diet for up to two years. In order for breastfeeding to provide the proper nutrition, nursing mothers should follow a healthy, balanced meal plan and abstain from tobacco, alcohol and other harmful substances. When it comes to prescription medications, talk to a doctor to make sure your medications are safe during breastfeeding.
Many mothers, for their own reasons, or medical reasons may choose not to breastfeed or may not be able to breastfeed. Thankfully, with the proper formula to suit baby’s needs, infants can receive proper nutrition without breast milk. In fact, many formulas on the market today can mimic breast milk in their nutritional content, and are fortified with vitamins and minerals in order to support healthy growth and development. However, it is important for women to understand the benefits of breastfeeding versus formula feeding.
In most cases, doctors recommend standard baby formula for non-breastfed babies. If an infant has problems with digestion or is lactose-intolerant, adjustments can be made. Soy-based formulas are available for colicky or lactose-intolerant infants, and are more easily digested. There are many types of formulas available, which come in different forms that include powder, liquid and concentrated varieties. With a doctor’s help, mommy is sure to find a formula that best suits baby’s needs.
Specific reason’s why a woman may not be able to breastfeed include:
– Not being able to produce breast milk due to: breast reduction, or augmentation surgery
– Serious illness’ such as: heart disease, or severe anemia
Women should not breastfeed, or at least seriously consider not breastfeeding, if they have been infected with HIV or untreated tuberculosis due to the risk it could impost on the baby’s health.
After a couple months, infants can be introduced to fortified cereal. Typically, these cereals are mixed with water or formula, and add extra calories and nutrition to your baby’s diet. It’s important to introduce cereals one at a time, with a significant amount of time in between. This is due to possible allergic reactions, and also to the amount of time necessary for an infant’s delicate system to become accustomed to new foods. Types of fortified infant cereals include rice, oat and barley, and all are a great source of iron, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. Rice is usually recommended as baby’s first cereal, as it is the most gentle. The introduction of cereals is a vital step in an infant’s growth and development, and should therefore be done in a slow and cautious manner.
Introducing Solid Foods
Based on baby’s individual needs and appetite, solid foods can be introduced after the first few months of life. Before eating solid foods, baby needs to be able to sit with no neck support, as well as chew and swallow properly. Like infant cereals, solid foods should be introduced slowly and one at a time. Also, during the first year of life, solid foods should be given in conjunction with formula and breast milk to ensure baby gets the proper nutrition.
“Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.”