Baby Feeding Schedule. First half of the first year.

No doubt that all parents want to give their child healthy and happy start of his or her life. So let’s talk about baby feeding during the first half of the first year.
During the first four - six months, the only food your baby needs is breast milk or iron-fortified formula. The baby doesn't need any extra water, juice, rice cereal, baby foods or table foods until four months. These are the reasons why earlier feeding is not a good idea.


First of all babies grow and gain weight just fine on breast milk or formula because breast milk and formulas are complete nutrition in themselves, and contain enough protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals for babies. Cow's milk is too concentrated for a baby's kidneys to handle.
Babies fed solid foods this early (before their head and neck muscles are coordinated) can choke and gag on the strange textures. Moreover in this case allergies and asthma can develop.
Babies who drink too much water or juice instead of formula have trouble gaining weight, and can have a sodium imbalance in their blood.

Here are some tips on feeding a very young infant that can help you.
A pleasant feeding time makes your baby feel happy and secure. So it’s better to hold and talk your baby while feeding.
To prevent baby bottle tooth decay and ear infections, don't prop a bottle or put the baby to sleep with a bottle.
There is no need to force a baby to finish a bottle. If you are concerned your baby is not eating enough, let us know.
In the first couple of months, you may need to feed your baby every two to three hours, especially if you are breastfeeding. Eventually, the feeding schedule may be stretched out to three or four hours, and you will also notice that your baby is able to go longer between feedings at night. It is important, though, that you feed your infant when he is hungry. Now is not the time to try and force a strict feeding schedule

At approximately four to six months, you have probably begun introducing your baby to solids under the guidance of your pediatrician. While breast milk or formula should still be her main source of nutrition, you can begin feeding her solids a couple of times a day.
In the beginning, you are really feeding her just enough to help her become familiar with taking food from a spoon and swallowing. Eventually, she'll look forward to the various foods that you give her.

Babies are ready to begin spoon feedings when they can:
1. Sit with a little help and turn their heads.
2. Open their mouths and lean forward.
3. Lean back and turn their heads away.
4. Accept a small amount off a spoon without thrusting out their tongues.
Some babies may be ready by four months and others need to wait until six months. Don't rush. Remember - your baby is the best guide. Nutritionally, your baby's milk still provides his complete needs. Spoon feedings are to practice developmental skills - and for fun. Don't get stressed, keep feeding time calm, and enjoy this time of discovery together with your baby.

Here are some tips for starting spoon feedings.
Begin with baby rice cereal. Thin the cereal with breast milk or formula. The consistency should be like Cream-of-Wheat. Do not add sugar or honey.
After your baby has tried cereal, you can offer mild-tasting vegetables until six months of age. For example, carrots, peas, or squash are good choices to start. You can use the "step 1" baby foods, or you can puree your own vegetables at home.
First of all start with just a little bit of food at a time, 1-2 teaspoons. Use a child-size spoon to feed your baby.
You should remember to go slowly with new foods. Try one at a time and allow three days to pass before trying another new food.
First foods should consist of only one ingredient; don't use mixtures or "dinners” because if the baby is sensitive to one of the ingredients, you won't know which one.
You shoud be prepared for initial refusal of the new flavors and textures. If your baby refuses food - stop feeding, try another food and re-introduce the refused food in another week or two.
Try to avoid infant feeders. These syringe-like gadgets basically force-feed solids into infants. A normal baby will never need this. Either he is too young to take food from a spoon (and thus doesn't need the solids yet anyway) or he can take some off a spoon, even if it doesn't seem like ''enough."

An example of a meal plan for five-six month old infants
• Breakfast: 4-6 tablespoons baby cereal, 6-8 oz milk feeding
• Mid-morning: 2-4 oz milk feeding
• Lunch: 2-4 tablespoons cooked strained vegetables, 6-8 oz milk feeding
• Mid-afternoon: 4-6 oz milk feeding
• Dinner: 2-4 tablespoons cooked strained vegetables, 6-8 oz milk feeding

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