Breastmilk is the best nutrition available for your newborn baby. Even with the best intentions to continue feeding long term, there will be plenty of challenges that could get in the way of this. Adequate supply and time being the biggest challenges.
It may be necessary for you to supplement the nutrition of your baby if these challenges prove too much. It will always benefit your baby to feed as much as you can, and it is ok to rely on formula in between feedings to get by. Add in some solid food (when they are ready) and you are providing more than enough nutrition for your baby.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
1. Different Types of Infant Formula
There are many types of infant milk formulas in the market to choose from. It is important to spend some time learning what goes into each type so that you can match the ingredients with what you are comfortable with. It is also useful to know so that you can identify any allergies quickly before they harm your baby.
Cow’s Milk Formula
This is the most common formula in the market. The cow’s milk was altered to resemble a mother’s milk. It is easy to digest and contains balanced nutrients for your baby.
This type of formula is for parents who do not want any animal protein in their baby’s diet. This can be a great alternative to cow’s milk and is best for babies who are lactose intolerant.
Protein Hydrolysate Formulas
This formula contains proteins that are broken down into smaller components to make it easier to digest. It is best for babies who are allergic to protein.
This is a specially designed milk formula for premature babies.
2. When to Give Supplemental Feedings
If you are breastfeeding, you need to know the signs if your baby needs supplemental feeding.
Check your baby’s weight
Consult your doctor is your baby is gaining weight normally. If not and you are breastfeeding, it is possible that you are not producing enough milk.
Fewer Diaper Changes
Again, this means that your baby is not getting enough milk.
You might start to notice that your baby is fuzzy or even lethargic at times.
Ideally, you can start supplementing with a milk formula when your baby is at least a month old. This will allow your baby to have an established feeding routine so it is easier to shift him on bottle/formula feeding.
3. Do not mix breastmilk and milk formula in a bottle
This is a big no-no. Never mix your precious breastmilk with formula milk. It can ruin the breastmilk. If your baby is still hungry after breastfeeding, you can bottle feed him with formula milk.
If your baby is still hungry after breastfeeding, you can bottle feed him with formula milk.
4. Introduction of solid foods
Anywhere between four to six months of age, you can finally introduce solid food to your baby. This will not only give you the chance to introduce a variety of flavors but it will really help in balancing the nutrients that your baby is getting.
5. Timing is everything
It is important to establish a routine feeding schedule. From birth until about nine months old, your baby needs at least 28 ounces of milk every 3-4 hours. As your baby gets older, the feeding is going to be less frequent because you are now going to introduce solid foods.
For solid food, starting 4-6 months, you can start feeding your baby two meals per day. Start with at least 2-4 tablespoons of solid food per meal. As your baby reaches nine to twelve months, you can increase the number of feedings to three times a day and increase the amount to at least three to four tablespoon or about the size of your baby’s fist.
Mealtime needs to be an established routine. If possible stick to a routine and a fixed time. You can maybe start with teaching you baby that he needs to wash his hands before eating. So wash your baby’s hand and then sit him on his chair.
It is important to remain calm and make sure that there’s no distractions when it’s meal time. This means no TV or loud music and noises. Eating solid food is a new experience. Your baby needs to have the consciousness and focus so he can familiarize himself with taste and sensation.
5. Nutrients Your Child Needs
Educate yourself with the type of nutrients your baby requires to balance his diet. Your baby’s diet needs to have the following:
This is necessary for brain development and is also needed for proper motor development. Most milk formula contains iron and babies are usually born with large iron reserves which can last for at least four to six months – just in time when your baby is ready for solid food.
Foods that are rich in iron are avocado, eggs, chicken, spinach, potatoes, and soybeans.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K
This is necessary for the development of vision and the skin. Breastmilk and milk formula contains these essential vitamins. Aside from that, you can also find these essential vitamins in the following foods: fruits that contain carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli
Vitamins C and B
Vitamins C helps in the absorption of other essential minerals such as iron. Foods that contain these are citrus fruits, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Vitamin B enhanced the function of the immune and even the nervous system. You can easily add Vitamin B in your baby’s diet by adding green vegetables, bananas, fish and poultry.
6. Progressive Supplements
It is important to note that you need to wait for your babies to be ready for certain food such as meat and poultry. Here’s a guideline as to when your child can start eating certain foods.
Birth to Four months: Breastmilk or Formula milk only.
Four to six months of age: In combination with breastmilk or formula, you can start giving the following: `
- Pureed sweet potatoes and squash.
- Pureed fruit such as bananas and apples.
- Iron-fortified cereals.
Start small and watch for any adverse reaction. It is safe to start with one tablespoon on your first try and gradually increase as your baby gets older.
Six to Eight Months of Age: In addition to pureed fruits and vegetables, you can start adding pureed meat such as chicken, pork, and beef. You can also try to add the following:
- Pureed legumes such as beans – fava beans, lentils, black and kidney beans.
- Unsweetened yogurt.
Eight to Ten Months of Age: You can start adding the following:
- Mixed mashed vegetables.
- Start adding more protein by adding bits and pieces of chicken, beef, and pork to their meal.
- Finger foods such as cooked pasta, cooked potatoes and carrots, and even bread.
- Dairy products such as cheese.
Babies around this age can consume ¾ to 1 cup of solid food per meal. Do not overwhelm your child by introducing so many new food all at once. Keep in mind that you need to be on the lookout of any food allergies your child may have.
Ten to Twelve Months of Age: Aside from the food mentioned above, your baby can benefit by adding the following to his diet:
- Bite-size vegetables.
- Bite-size meat
- Food combination such as pasta and casseroles.
Depending on how well your baby is taking to the food it may even be possible wean them off milk and formula entirely.
7. Avoid anything artificial
When you are trying to balance and supplement the diet of your baby, it is best to go all natural. There are many processed food in the market that you can prepare in an instant but they cannot give your child the right experience because it doesn’t have the right texture and taste when compared to the real thing.
8. Avoid sugary food
As much as possible, do not give your baby candies and other food that has high sugar content. It has no nutritional value that will help your baby’s development, and it can lead to medical conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
Establishing good dietary habits early with minimal consumption of sugar is something that can stick with your child long term.
9. Plan ahead
Your baby’s diet does not need to be anything more than an extension of the existing family diet. You can pick out the elements of your meals that are baby friendly and work with that. If you are not already someone who plans out the shopping list for the family then you probably already find it difficult to fill the week with complete meals.
If you are not already someone who plans out the shopping list for the family then you probably already find it difficult to fill the week with complete meals. Working to a meal plan could be a positive exercise in self-improvement that will benefit the whole family, and remove any stress that might come with keeping your baby fed also.
Before you get too caught up in overthinking your baby’s nutritional balance, let the overriding question be are they being fed? If the answer is yes, you are winning – and so is your baby.
Anything beyond this is personal preference, and the details probably won’t matter as much as you may think in the long run. Having said that, a little time and effort are all you need to ensure you baby has the best start in life possible.