Having a baby in the house is always a great joy. Loving parents from the first days of life want to surround their child with care and attention, to provide a comfortable environment for growth and development. First, it is important to take care of a healthy diet, which should be safe and meet the child’s need for nutrients, vitamins, trace elements.
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What is the best baby food?
Of course, there can only be one answer to this question – breast milk. And it’s hard to disagree with this. But what if the mother has no milk for medical reasons, or the growing child is not enough of his mother’s “supply”?
Modern formulas, oatmeal, purées and other baby products made from hypoallergenic, environmentally friendly components allow to provide the child’s body with proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals. So do not be so afraid of the term “artificial feeding”, and sort out the question: what baby food is best for newborns and older children?
How to choose baby formula?
The range of baby food presented in the market of products is so great that even experienced parents, not to mention those moms and dads, for whom everything, as well as for their baby, for the first time can get lost in it. So, let’s try to help you with this question.
1. When is artificial feeding necessary?
A baby should only be switched to artificial feeding on the recommendation of the pediatrician who supervises the baby. The doctor regularly assesses the baby’s weight gain and the amount of milk from the mother and draws his conclusion. If not enough milk is being produced, the doctor explains to the woman how to increase the amount of milk.
However, there are cases when lactation cannot be restored, and then the baby is switched to mixed or artificial feeding. Another reason why the baby begins to be fed artificial formula is a woman’s own health problems. She may be prescribed medications that should not be combined with breastfeeding.
2. What are breast milk substitutes made of?
Most artificial formulas are based on cow’s milk, but there are also formulas based on goat’s milk or soy (such formulas are used for babies with a cow’s milk protein allergy). Since cow’s milk and mother’s milk differ considerably in composition, cow’s milk is processed and enriched with minerals to become as similar to woman’s milk as possible before it is “turned” into formula.
Depending on how close the composition of the formula is to that of breast milk, all substitutes are divided into adapted and partially adapted. In the first six months of life, your baby should only be given an adapted formula.
3. How to choose the right formula?
A doctor selects the right formula for the baby, taking into account the individual characteristics of the baby.
It is important for parents to know that there are starting and follow-up formula. The beginners are suitable for babies during the first 4-6 months of life (marked “0-6” or “1” on the packet), and the later mixes are suitable for children over 6 months (marked “6-12” or “2”). For example, Holle Formula (Stage PRE suitable from birth and Stage 2 suitable from 6 months onwards). HiPP formula have the same stages.
The following formulas contain more protein, iron, calcium, because the baby is growing up and his needs for nutrients are increasing. There are also breast milk substitutes which can be used for the whole first year of life of a baby – their package says “from 0 to 12”.
Formulas can be unleavened and fermented. Various starters are used to prepare fermented milk, such as kefir fungus, bifidobacteria and acidophilus coli. Fermented milk mixtures improve the gastrointestinal tract, but giving them in the first 2-3 weeks of a baby’s life is not recommended, since they can increase the amount of regurgitation. Later on, it is necessary to combine fresh and fermented milk mixtures in the child’s diet, and in such a ratio that the amount of fermented milk does not exceed 50% of the daily requirement.
4. What is the right way to introduce formula into your baby’s diet?
When you start to give formula to your baby, remember that you need to keep a close eye on your baby for a few days to see if he has any rashes on his skin, how his stools are and if his tummy is bothering him (gas). Often in the first day or two, your baby may be constipated. In fact, it is not too bad, and your baby’s condition will soon normalize. The criteria for the right choice of formula is the absence of allergic reactions and rashes on the baby’s skin, normal stools, good weight gain and a calm baby.
5. How do I feed my baby – by the hour or on demand?
With artificial feeding, it is recommended that your baby is given formula every 3-3.5 hours, and the night break should be about 6 hours. Older children are fed 5 times a day. There are cases where the baby doesn’t eat a calculated amount of formula, and then you need to feed him more often, but in smaller portions.
6. How to prepare the formula correctly?
First, carefully read the instructions on the package on how to dilute the mixture. Each jar has a measuring spoon or cup which is used to measure out a certain amount of powder. If you add too much powder, you run the risk of getting a mixture that is too thick, and this risks regurgitation, vomiting and stool disorders in the baby. If you add too much water, the mixture will turn out “liquid”, that is, not enough calories and nutrients.
7. What kind of water is suitable for making formula?
Pediatricians unanimously recommend using bottled water that has been spotless. Many manufacturers produce special water for children, it is soft, and its composition is well adapted to the peculiarities of the child’s body. If you, for whatever reason, do not have the opportunity to buy bottled water, make sure to use a filter, and then boil the water. Do not use spring water without proper treatment (again – filter and boiling).
8. What temperature should the formula be prepared for your baby?
It is thought that the ideal temperature for formula is the temperature of a woman’s breast milk, which is 36-37°C. To assess the temperature of the formula, put a few drops on your wrist or press the bottle against your temple – you should not feel warm.
9. What do I do with the leftover formula in the bottle after feeding?
If your baby can’t handle all the formula you have prepared for him, pour it out immediately after feeding. Never leave the formula in the “next time”, as it is a great breeding ground for germs! The bottle and the nipple should be washed with hot water and a ruffle, then sterilized or boiled for a few minutes.
And finally, remember the main thing – the baby’s diet must be balanced, because it is the key to a strong immune system. If you had to resort to artificial feeding, choose a quality formula, follow the rules of its storage and preparation, and discuss the choice of manufacturer, portion size and switching to another formula with your pediatrician.