Break milk and formula is crucial to your infants early development. Whether you choose to breastfeed or to use iron fortified formula is a topic that can be discussed with your provider at a pre-natal visit. There are many benefits to nursing. Some of the nutrients in breast milk help protect your infant against common childhood illnesses and infections. Make sure you talk with your provider to discuss possible options for you and your child to ensure your baby gets the proper nutrients.
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Whether you choose to nurse or to use formula at some point your child is going to be ready to switch to solid food. Some ways to know the child is ready to make the switch includes.
• The birth weight has doubled
• Child is able to hold head up steady, and upwright
• Nurses numerous times a day, consuming over 32oz of formula
• Does not use the tongue to push food out of mouth
Below are some tips and guidelines on how to make the transition to solid food. Remember that babies need practice, and will take time becoming accustomed to solid foods.
• Pick a time when the baby is in a good mood and not to tired or hungry.
• Start with rice cereal. This is the easiest on the baby’s stomach.
• Use a small spoon and only put cereal on the tip.
•If the baby does not seem interested in the food, let them smell and taste the food.
• Use the same cereal for at least a week before changing.
Once your baby is used to cereal, you can start adding fruit, vegetables, bread, and meats. Offer a few spoonfuls of other foods along with the cereal during their meal. You will when the baby is becoming full as he or she will lean back in their chair and resist food, or just starts playing with the food. Here are a few other things to keep in mind.
• Try one new food at a time.
• Begin with single foods and begin to mix foods as time goes on.
• When your baby starts to gain teeth, add chopped foods as texture helps sore gums
• At 6 months offer juice
• If your child will not eat a certain food, try again later on. The more you offer a food to a child the more likely they will like it.
• Babies do not need sugar or salt added to their food
• Do not limit the amount of fat in a babies diet as fat is needed for brain growth.
Sweet Dessert Foods – Sweets promote obesity by adding food energy with few nutrients to support growth. Artificial sweeteners found in many reduced calorie sweet foods may cause diarrhea.
Juice – Infants younger than 6 months should not get juice. Limit juice to no more than 4 ounces a day and offer it only with a meal or snack. Any more than this will reduce her appetite for other, more nutritious foods, including breast milk and/or formula. Too much juice also can cause diaper rash, diarrhea, or excessive weight gain.
Food that may cause choking – Hot dogs, candy, nuts, grapes, uncut meats, raw carrots, apples and other similar foods can get stuck in your babies throat.
Foods associated with infant botulism – Infant botulism is a rare but serious paralyzing illness that is caused by ingesting the spores of a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, found in honey (even pasteurized), products containing honey, and home canned foods (even canned perfectly right). For this reason these foods should be avoided until your child’s first birthday.
Its important to eat eat a variety of food to ensure the best overall health. Many nutrition guidelines can be found at choosemyplate.gov. On a typical day you should be consuming fruits, vegetables, protein, along with grains. The graphic below demonstrates what a sample plate should look like. Try to avoid excess processed foods as theses food have poor nutritional value, and are often high in calories.