Baby Food for ThoughtIN INFANTS' HEALTH
An infant’s first year of life consists of many exciting adventures, including becoming acquainted with food.
Breastfeeding and Formula
Babies should be fed breast milk or formula for the first 12 months of life. Breast milk and formula contain the necessary minerals and vitamins that a new baby needs to grow and develop properly.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believes that breastfeeding is the optimal source of nutrition through the first year of life. They recommend exclusively breastfeeding for a minimum of four months but preferably for six months, and then gradually adding solid foods while continuing breastfeeding until at least the baby’s first birthday.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that infants remain solely on a breast milk/formula diet until they are 6 months old. Solid foods may be added to a baby’s diet once he or she reaches this age. However, keep in mind some of the following tips when introducing your child to solid foods.
- Slowly introduce new foods into your child’s diet. Add one new food every couple of days. Staggering food introduction will help you to determine what foods your baby enjoys and can even help you discover any food allergies he or she may have.
- Introduce softer foods first, such as infant cereal or mashed vegetables. Progressively move toward more solid foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
One of the most important things to keep in mind during the first year of feeding your child is to only feed him or her when he or she is hungry. Babies only eat when they are actually hungry and will refuse food when they are satisfied. Therefore, be open to the idea of moderately following a feeding schedule, and allow your infant to guide feeding times.
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Sources: kidshealth.org, aap.org, nlm.nih.gov, cdc.gov