Feeding your newborn or toddler is vital as a parent. It plays a crucial role in your child's growth and development and can help establish healthy eating habits for life. Although it may be daunting to know how often and what to feed your child, with some knowledge and preparation, it can become a natural and enjoyable routine that you and your child can look forward to daily.
When to start feeding my newborn/toddler?
Newborns should be fed soon after birth, ideally within the first hour. They should be provided with breast milk or formula whenever they show signs of hunger, such as rooting, sucking on their fists, or crying. Toddlers can begin to eat solid foods around six months of age, but they should continue to receive breast milk or formula until at least one year of age to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need.
What to feed my newborn/toddler?
Newborns should be exclusively breastfed or given formula for the first six months of life. After that, they can be introduced to solid foods gradually, starting with pureed fruits and vegetables. Toddlers should be offered a variety of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein sources like meats, beans, and eggs. It is important to offer a variety of foods to ensure that your child is getting all the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.
How much to feed my newborn/toddler?
Newborns should be fed on demand, which means whenever they show signs of hunger. They will need more milk or food as they grow, but it is important to continue to follow their cues for hunger and fullness. Toddlers should be offered three meals and two to three snacks per day, with portion sizes based on their age and activity level. It is important to avoid forcing your child to eat or overfeeding them, as this can lead to unhealthy eating habits.
Benefits of breastfeeding/bottle feeding
Breastfeeding provides numerous benefits for both the baby and mother, including a reduced risk of infections, allergies, and chronic diseases. It also helps promote bonding between mother and baby. Bottle feeding allows for more flexibility and convenience and allows other caregivers to participate in feeding. It is important to choose the feeding method that works best for you and your family.
Risks of breastfeeding/bottle feeding
While breastfeeding has numerous benefits, it can be challenging for some mothers and may require time and support to establish a successful routine. Common problems include sore nipples, engorgement, and low milk supply. Bottle feeding is expensive and may not provide the same immune-boosting benefits as breast milk. Common bottle-feeding problems include overfeeding and nipple confusion. These issues can be addressed with support from healthcare providers or lactation consultants.
How to ensure my newborn/toddler is getting enough milk?
For breastfed newborns, it is important to ensure they are latching correctly and getting enough milk during each feeding. This can be monitored by tracking their wet and dirty diapers, as well as their weight gain. For bottle-fed newborns and toddlers, it is important to follow the recommended serving sizes for their age and monitor their growth to ensure they are getting enough nutrition.
Is formula better than breastfeeding/bottle feeding for my newborn/toddler?
Breast milk is considered the gold standard for infant nutrition, but formula can provide adequate nutrition for newborns and toddlers who are unable to breastfeed or when breastfeeding is not possible or desirable. The decision to use formula should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider, who can provide guidance on selecting the appropriate formula and feeding method.
When to wean my newborn/toddler from breastfeeding/bottle feeding?
Breastfeeding can continue as long as both mother and baby are comfortable with it. Most babies will naturally wean between 6 months and 2 years of age. Bottle feeding can be phased out gradually as solid foods are introduced and the baby begins to take more food by mouth. It is important to follow your child's lead and wean at a pace that is right for them.
Tips for successful weaning of a newborn/toddler
Weaning should be a gradual process, with one feeding being eliminated at a time. This can be done over several weeks or months. Offer alternative sources of comfort and bonding, such as cuddling, singing, or reading stories. Be patient and understanding and follow the child's lead. Remember, weaning is a natural process that can be a positive experience for both you and your child.