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Feeding Your Baby The First 6 Months

Super Papa / Khmer Times Share:

Since the day my little baby girl Athena came into our lives two months ago, my biggest concern has been about her diet. Good nutrition not only helps building a strong body, it also contributes to a having strong mind. According to UNICEF, during the first two years of a baby’s life, up to 75 percent of each meal goes to building its brain.

It is every parent’s dream to see his or her child grow up healthy and smart; unfortunately, many of them do not know what to feed their babies. My wife and I have come up with a good diet for the little one, with the assistance of our family doctor and friends who are nutritional specialists. We are happy to share it with all new parents out there.


Breast milk and formula only

In the first 5 months, milk is THE BEST food for your baby because it provides all the nutrients the baby needs at this stage; solid food is not recommended at all. The first choice without any doubt is breast milk, which is highly recommended by doctors and midwifes. Should you have to head back to work soon after your confinement, try pumping your breast milk and storing it in the freezer. If this proves challenging, the second choice is giving formula to your baby.

Formula may not have everything found in breast milk, however it contains the vitamins and nutrients as well as calories your baby requires.

Your doctor may recommend a milk-based formula, which is widely available on the market, or soy-based formula if your child is allergic to dairy products. They may also recommend a “hydrolyzed” one, which is easier to digest and makes it less likely for your child to grow up with an allergy if it runs in the family. Also, some formulas have probiotics, the “good” bacteria which keeps their intestines healthier.

So which formula brand is the best for your baby? Well, it really depends. That’s why when you are shopping for formula for the first time, you should buy just enough for one week to make sure your little one likes it and is not allergic to it before buying more.

Always wash your hands first before preparing the formula for them with boiled or bottled water.


How to tell the little one is hungry

Crying is a common sign babies give to their parents to tell they want food, but there are many more signs other than that. Typical cues for hunger shown before crying include licking lips, sticking tongue out, moving jaw, mouth or head (as when they are searching for the breast), putting their hand to the mouth repeatedly, opening their mouths, and sucking on everything around them. However, bear in mind, crying and sucking does not always mean they are hungry. Sucking can also be a sign of comfort while crying could also be a sign of pain or discomfort. Take heed, if this happens especially after they have just been fed.


Avoid overfeeding

Babies usually stop feeding when they have had enough (My little Athena is very good at that).Unlike breastfed babies, bottle-fed ones are more likely to be overfed since drinking from a bottle takes less effort. Overfeeding can cause stomach pain, gas, spitting up or even obesity later in life. It is always a good idea to give your baby less milk each time and do more feeds.

To know whether your baby is getting enough to eat, you can keep looking at how many times a day you need to change the diapers (should be 3 or more stools per day). Come up with a feeding pattern (8 to 12 times per day) and keep track of their weight every time you visit the pediatrician for their checkups.  Be sure to talk with them about how often and how much to feed your baby.

When feeding with a bottle, have your baby be in an upright position as much as possible. Don’t feed them when they are lying down as this causes more gas to form in their stomachs and sometimes the baby can also choke from feeding in this position. Another reason why breastfeeding is recommended as these issues do not arise.


Should babies drink water?

Our doctor told us not to give water until our baby girl reaches her sixth month. Giving babies’ water might cause them to drink less milk or formula and put them at risk of not receiving enough nutrients they require.

Giving a baby water when he or she has a hiccup is definitely out of the question. Instead, you can try to burb your baby by rubbing or gently patting your baby’s back. You can also use a pacifier or simply let it stop on its own.

At the end of the day, enjoy spending time with your child, learning about their eating patterns and habits, what foods he or she enjoys and this will help you in the long run as the baby keeps maturing.

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