Providing adequate and appropriate nutrition to our children is an important part of parenting. As a result, we are frequently asked many questions about feeding children and whether a child is obtaining the correct nutrition. In this section, we will discuss a number of common issues.
First 4-6 months
The choice of whether to breast or bottle-feed is a personal decision.While we strongly encourage and support breast feeding, we also feel that formulas today are alternatives for those families who choose not to breast-feed. Breast-feeding can be an enjoyable, rewarding, and successful experience if you are well prepared. Breast milk or formula is all the nutrition that your child should need to thrive in the first four to six months of life. Adding rice cereal or other solids before 4-6 months will not help your child sleep through the night and may reduce the amount of formula or breast milk that your child will take (thus reducing his/her calorie intake). Between 4 and 6 months of age your child will start to show signs that he/she is ready for solid foods. These may include good head and back control, an interest in what you are eating, and more frequent feeds. At your four month checkup, talk with your practitioner when solid foods may be started on your child. In the 20th century, it was common to start infants on solid food from 4+ months onwards – however current research recommend only breast milk until at least 6 months of age.
Iron fortified cereals or pureed vegetables with meat as an example of liquid style baby food are recommended when the child is 4-6 months old, initially 1 teaspoon before milk feeds. The frequency and amount is then gradually increased. Other foods can be introduced gradually. The food should gradually change from smooth pureés to mashed, minced and then diced. This will encourage chewing. Wheat can be introduced from the end of the 6 months. At 12 months the child should follow a diet similar to that of the family. Milk should be reduced to daily maximum 700-900ml. A cup should then be used instead of bottle feeds.
If there is a family history of allergies, one may wish to introduce only one new food at a time, leaving a few days in between to notice any reactions that would indicate a food allergy.
Latest news: Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions on the Development of Atopic Disease in Infants and Children: The Role of Maternal Dietary Restriction, Breastfeeding, Timing of Introduction of Complementary Foods, and Hydrolyzed Formulas - AAP: aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/pediatrics;121/1/183
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