Taking care of babies can be difficult. Their delicate bodies require utmost attention and love; even a small mistake can cost them dearly. Therefore, it is important to be prepared and do the best for your baby. So here are 13 tips for feeding your baby for the first time:
A. Breast Feeding
1. Take professional help
Be prepared in advance. Search for an experienced and professional consultant. You may even opt for breast-feeding classes. Having an on-call lactation expert will be of great help when the time comes.
2. Be patient with the position
Babies can be fussy and might take time to latch properly. For the first few weeks after birth, nursing can take a lot of time and will only improve with practice. You need to learn to take control. It is important that you are mentally prepared and have a relaxed body in a comfortable position.
3. Take care of your body
Nursing can lead to cracked or sore nipples, pain due to improper latching and dryness. Make sure you care for your breasts during this time. Here’s how you can do that. With a proper consultation with your doctor, you may also use relief pads, nipple shields and nipple balm.
4. You're the food supply, so feed yourself
Your diet shall affect the quality of your milk, which in turn will affect the health of your baby. Keep yourself hydrated. Drink at the least two liters of water every day. Green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, salmon etc. will help increase the milk flow. Further, avoid caffeinated drinks, alcohol and try to quit smoking. Since, your child’s health is directly related to yours, it is time to correct your habits.
5. Pumping and storing milk
Large quantities of milk in your breasts can lead to blocked ducts or mastitis (inflammation). To avoid the same you must regularly drain your breasts. In case you feel engorged you may need to feed or pump the milk to get a relief from the pressure. There are several pumps with varying size and suction pressure available in the market.
While storing the milk, be sure of using sterilized containers. You may use plastic bottles or plastic breastmilk bags. Meanwhile, be organized while storing milk. Write down the date you pumped the milk on the container and use the oldest one first. Try to store all the containers in one basket/section in the fridge for further ease.
B. Solid Food
The transition of your baby’s meal to solid food can be a big milestone. Your baby can now learn about different varieties of food, textures, aroma, etc. This a great time to inculcate healthy eating habits, so that one does not become a fussy eater. However, this is also the time when the baby might show symptoms of allergies. Thus, one needs to be careful and patient while introducing new foods.
6. Look for the correct signs to gauge if your baby is ready
Usually breast milk should be supplemented with small spoons of solid foods from 6 to 9 months onwards. However, the right time to do so will be decided by the baby. Look for the following signs:
a. She is curious, looking at everything around her--especially what you're eating!
b. She has lost the tongue thrust reflex that automatically pushes food out of her mouth.
c. She still seems hungry after getting a full day's portion of milk (eight to 10 breast feedings or about 32 ounces of formula).
7. Set the place
Before giving your baby the taste of first solid food in their life make sure somethings are in place. Make them sit in an infant seat or any higher chair with towels and bibs around. This is to help you in clean up. Next, give them something to hold. This will keep the baby distracted and give you enough time to feed her.
8. Time for variety bomb
Once the baby gets to try solid food, make them experiment a variety of food as time passes, slowly introducing new foods every few days or once a week. This will help you track any allergies or food they cannot tolerate. The variety will help in opening the baby’s world to a new palate so that they will not become a picky eater in future.
9. Do not let go easy!
The baby will create a fuss and might reject new food. However, you should keep trying to inculcate healthy habits, since research suggest it can take up to fifteen attempts before a child accepts a new food.
10. What to feed and how much
a. Baby cereal (rice, barley, or oats) are the ‘traditional first food’ for the baby. They are easy to digest and mostly do not cause any allergy
b.Gradually you can move towards vegetables, fruits and finally meat.
c.Avoid sugar as far as possible and do not feed your baby honey or cow milk until they are at least a year old.
d.Your infant has stomach the size of an egg, thus small quantities of food suffice. Start with a small teaspoon and then move towards a tablespoon to estimate the proportions.
11. Embrace the chaos
Mostly your baby will cause a lot of discomfort and will create a lot of mess during mealtime. Be it breastfeeding or eating solids, you need to be prepared for all the circumstances. Meanwhile, it is extremely important that you maintain hygiene at all times. Sterilize the spoons, pumps, bottles, etc. The baby can be affected by the smallest reasons.
12. Share responsibilities
It is extremely important that you also get enough rest with the baby, without your proper health the baby cannot flourish. Therefore, you need to ask your partner to help. They may clean the dishes; prepare the food, etc. while you are nursing. Only with shared responsibilities, you can parent the child successfully.
Hope the above help you make the first time special for your baby and without hassle. Taking proper care and attention is important. If you are still confused, you should contact your doctor for the best advice.