By Julia Sullivan
Breast milk is the best food you can give to your baby. Breast milk is a complete food source, containing all the nutrients your baby need – at least 400 of them to be exact, including hormones and disease fighting compounds that aren’t found in formula.
The nutritional makeup in breast milk will adjust to your baby’s needs as he or she grows and develops. Aside from the brain building, infection fighting benefits of breast milk, which no formula can match, nursing will also help to build a special bond between you and your baby. When nursing, your child thrives on the contact, cuddling, and holding – which you will as well.
Since breast feedings can take up to 40 minutes or more, you should pick a cozy spot for nursing. The atmosphere is very important, even more so in the early days of breast feeding when you’re still trying to get the hang of it. If you get easily distracted by noise, go somewhere quiet.
You should always hold your baby in a position that won’t leave your arms or back sore. It works the best to support the back of your baby’s head with your hand, although which position you choose depends on what’s more comfortable to you.
When supporting your baby, a nursing pillow can sometimes be a big help. You should never feed until both you and your baby are comfortable. Pay attention to how your breasts feel when your baby latches on, as his mouth should cover most of the areola below the nipple, and the nipple should be far back into your baby’s mouth.
While some women adjust to breast feeding easily, other moms find it hard to learn. If you feel discouraged, always know that you aren’t the only one. Everyone feels different when starting, it all depends on the mother and the situation.
Breast feeding will take practice. Therefore, you should give yourself as much time as you need to get it down to second nature. Always take it one feeding at a time. If you are having a bad day, tell yourself that it’ll get better. Keep in mind that any problems are temporary, as you’ll be nursing like a pro by your six week postpartum checkup.
The first six weeks will be both an adventure and training. You can’t expect to know everything when you begin, which is where training and practice will really help you excel. The more you breast feed, the more you’ll learn. You’ll also build a bond with your baby – which is something you’ll always have for the rest of your lives.
Getting Solid Foods For Your Baby
By Julia Sullivan
Breast milk is all your baby will need until at least 4 months of age. There does come a time, when breast milk will no longer supply all of your baby’s nutrition needs. Full term babies will start to require iron from other sources by 6 – 9 months of age.
Some babies that aren’t started on solid foods by the age of 9 – 12 months may have a great level of difficulty accepting solid foods. It’s actually a developmental milestone when your child starts solid foods – as he is now growing up.
When to start The ideal time to begin solid foods is when the baby shows interest in starting. Some babies will show interest in solid food when it’s on their parents’ plates, as early as 4 months of age. By 5 – 6 months, most babies will reach out and try to grab the food. When the baby starts to reach for food, it’s normally the time to go ahead and give him some.
Sometimes, it may be a better idea to start food earlier. When a baby seems to get hungry or once weight gain isn’t continuing at the desired rate, it may be good to start solid foods as early as 3 months. It may be possible however, to continue breast feeding alone and have the baby less hungry or growing more rapidly.
Breast fed babies will digest solid foods better and earlier than artificially fed babies because the breast milk will contain enzymes which help to digest fats, proteins, and starch. Breast fed babies will also have had a variety of different tastes in their life, since the flavors of many foods the mother eats will pass into her milk.
Introducing solid foods When the baby begins to take solid foods at the age of 5 – 6 months, there is very little difference what he starts will or what order it is introduced. You should however, avoid spicy foods or highly allergenic foods at first, although if your baby reaches for the potato on your plate, you should let him have it if it isn’t too hot.
Offer your baby the foods that he seems to be interested in. Allow your baby to enjoy the food and don’t worry too much about how much he takes at first, as much of it may end up on the floor or in his hair anyhow.
The easiest way to get iron for your baby at 5 – 6 months of age is by giving him meat. Cereal for infants has iron, although it is poorly absorbed and may cause your baby to get constipated.