Practicing proper infant nutrition will have life-long effects for your baby, as well as yourself. The very first step towards proper nutrition for your infant is to decide whether to breastfeed or bottle feed. It is important to consider that mother’s milk is the best milk for your baby.
There are a few points to remember when considering breast feeding. First, always remember that nature designed breast milk especially for human babies; therefore, it contains just the right amount of nutrients. These nutrients are contained in a form that is gentle to your baby’s systems.
If you decide to bottle feed, there are many iron-fortified formulas available that can provide adequate nutrition. Infant formulas contain protein, calories, fat, vitamins, and minerals for optimal growth and nutrition. If your infant receives enough iron-fortified formula, they may not require vitamin supplements.
When your infant is about six months old, solid foods may be introduced. Be mindful not to start solid foods unless your infant has shown signs of readiness. Signs of readiness include demonstrating good head control and if your infant loses their natural tongue reflex. You may begin with rice cereal and mix it with formula or breast milk.
Once they are used to this mixture once or twice a day for some period of time, then oatmeal may be tried, followed lastly by fruits and vegetables to add optimal infant nutrition.
After your infant has started solids, your may also add water or juice to your infant’s diet. Water is preferred by physicians, as juice contains sugar and calories that infants do not need. The water assists in digestion of the solids.
By creating good habits with breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and eventually solids, your infant can receive proper nutrition during their formative first year. These habits of proper infant nutrition will create lifelong nutritional habits.