The easiest way to feed your baby is also the best and that is by breast feeding. Some women do however experience some problems initially but with the right advice most will overcome these problems and find that breastfeeding is convenient as there is always a ready supply available for the baby whenever it is needed.
Breast milk is the best form of food that you can give your baby for maintaining good nutrition.
Some women are opposed to breast feeding for various different reasons but don't let any preconceived ideas or opinions from ill informed individuals affect your decision making.
It is acceptable to breast feed anywhere these days and that has made the decision for many women all the easier although some people still feel somewhat embarrassed to breastfeed in public places.
If breastfeeding causes any form of pain or discomfort discuss this with your medical professional and see if the problem can be resolved.
If there are ongoing problems then there might be no alternative than to use baby formula milk powders and bottle feeding.
Fortunately the formulas for babies have improved considerably over the years and you will be happy to know that babies will get excellent nutrition from baby formula.
There will be the added work of having to ensure complete cleanliness at all times with the baby's bottle and the need to have some way to warm the milk which makes it less convenient than breast milk but they are minor things that you will learn to deal with and plan for if you need to go places.
One of the biggest advantages of breast milk is the fact that it is always ready should the baby require feeding and initially this can be at any time of the day or night and you can imagine how much easier that will be if your baby wakes up in the early hours of the morning expecting to be fed.
Keep a watch on your baby's weight when breast feeding to ensure that it is getting enough nutrition to gain weight and if not talk to your doctor.
Whether by necessity or choice you might decide that bottle feeding is best for you and your baby.
If that is the case then here are some tips worth considering ensuring that your baby's health is always well cared for.
Naturally when feeding your baby on formula you will need to read the instructions supplied with the formula and not deviate from the recommended procedure.
It is possible to reduce the degree of nutrition your baby will be getting if you start to alter the recommended mixtures.
Once you find a formula that your baby is happy with this will ensure that they will be getting their required daily nutritional needs as they will be more likely to have formula that they enjoy consuming. Some formulas can cause allergic reactions in babies and it might take a little while before you find the one that is suitable for your child.
Cleanliness is one of the most important factors that you need to consider when using formula and bottles will need to be properly cleaned at all times.
You should never refill a bottle that has been used with more formula until it has been properly cleaned as it is too risky for your child's health. Bacteria can form when old formula is left in a bottle.
Never share bottles that other mothers have been using with their children and don't mix formulas or dilute one formula with another.
Cow milk isn't recommended for younger children as it cannot be digested properly.
It is not until your child is approximately one year old before they can digest cow milk sufficiently to get the benefit of the nutrition that is available.
If you find that your baby isn't increasing in weight as normally expected consult with your doctor and see whether a different formula might be more suitable or if there are other factors that might be causing a deficiency in nutritional levels.
Another thing that can cause degradation in the nutritional quality of the formula is if you freeze it for use at a later date.
This is something that should never be done.
Supplement With Formular
It is common practice for some mothers to supplement their baby's feeding with formula when they are breast feeding.
There can be a number of reasons to make this decision and usually it is because they have insufficient milk to satisfy the needs of the baby or else there is some concern that the baby might not be getting complete nutrition from the breast milk.
It can also be convenient for mothers who need to be away from their baby occasionally and they can still do so if they have someone who can mind the baby and bottle feed it.
It is perfectly safe to supplement the baby's diet with formula just as it is safe to feed the baby on either breast milk or formula.
Most people will agree that breast milk is the best for the baby so a diet that consists of a higher portion of breast milk than formula will generally be better for the baby's health.
One of the main reasons why breast milk is better is because it helps the baby to build up immunities and these same nutrients aren't present in formula. This in turn will help protect your baby from illnesses so even if you are bottle feeding on formula then supplementing that with breast milk will only enhance your baby's health.
One thing that you will need to be aware of is the fact that the less you breast feed the less there will be a demand for the milk and that will affect the supply.
Your breasts will produce less milk when this happens.
If your baby is gaining weight on a good basis and not crying out for more food then it is likely that you have the right balance in the supply of nutrients with the combination of breast milk and baby formula.
For some babies changing from breast milk to formula too often can lead to stomach upsets so a common sense approach and monitoring your baby's condition at all times should see that it remains content, happy and healthy.
Gas can cause a baby discomfort and the level of this discomfort will vary from one baby to another but there is one thing for certain; a baby that doesn't have a problem with getting rid of gas will be a more contented child.
The best way to get rid of gas, if your baby can't do so itself, is to burp it.
Burping your baby and getting rid of gas can also help reduce colic problems.
One of the most common techniques to burp your baby is to simply put your baby up on your shoulder and pat it in the middle of the back around about the same area where the stomach is.
This will help the gas to come up as your baby's head rests on your shoulder. It might pay to drape a cloth over your shoulder as the burp is often followed by the regurgitation of food.
Another technique that works equally well is to lay your baby across your knees, face down, and once again pat relatively firmly in the middle of the back.
This technique is excellent for babies who are unable to be burped well enough across the shoulder in the upright position.
You can also burp your baby in a seated position by using one hand to support if from the stomach while patting in the middle of the back but this technique should only be used once your baby can hold its head up on its own.
As with the seated position the next technique requires that the baby can hold its head up on its own and this technique involves bouncing the baby up and down on your knee while assisting it with an upward patting motion on the back.
Try using all of these techniques until you find the one that is most suitable and gives the best results for your child.
As a mother, maintaining your own levels of good nutrition is not only essential during pregnancy but also after your baby is born and you are breast-feeding your child.
If your own body is nutritionally deficient then you can't expect your child to be getting sufficient nutrition from your breast milk to ensure optimum development.
If you have any health issues that you believe might be detrimental to the quality of your breast milk then you will need to discuss this with your doctor and consider feeding your child on baby formula to make sure that it is getting the best start in life that can lead on to a strong and healthy childhood.
Getting this good nutrition at an early stage in life will help your child to combat infection and diseases by developing a stronger constitution.
Living conditions can also have a dramatic effect on the health of your child and under no circumstances should anybody be smoking in the presence of your baby or other children in the house.
If you are a smoker then it is likely that your own nutritional balance is deficient and that imbalance will be passed on to your child through your breast milk.
No matter which method you choose to feed your child you should always have regular checkups to see that healthy body weight is increasing and there are no other health issues that are present or developing that are a cause for concern.
Ultimately the food and drink that you put inside your body will have a corresponding effect on the well being of your child.
As the child's body is more susceptible to these factors it is something well worth considering.
There can be other factors why feeding your baby on formula might be the best option and it is best not to listen to the opinion of others regarding these matters unless they are educated with the full facts to make an informed decision.
The first stool that you see from your baby can come as a surprise simply because most parents aren't expecting what they see which is a green/black and is a result of the baby excreting the substance that is present in its system from before the birth.
This is actually a good sign because it shows that the baby's systems are working as expected in the elimination of this substance.
The usual color for a breast fed baby is a mustard or yellowish colored stool that is very loose and easy to pass.
Babies with colic can have stools that are more greenish colored.
The color of a breast fed baby's stool can change somewhat depending on the foods that the mother is consuming.
If your baby is bottled fed on baby formula the stool is more likely to be light brown in color and usually better formed than those of a breast fed baby.
You should always note any changes in the color and consistency of your baby's stool as this can show where there might be some irregularities in the diet or other health problems.
When weaning your baby you can expect changes in color and consistency, sometimes on a daily basis depending on what you are feeding your child.
During weaning these can even be multi-colored but more often than not they will be of a similar color to the food that they have been eating.
If you notice foods that are passing through without being digested then this is a sign that those foods might not be suitable for your baby at this stage and should be eliminated form the diet until a later date.
The frequency that baby's pass stools can vary considerable from those who will go every day to other babies who will take up to a week to pass a motion.
Provided your child isn't constipated there is generally nothing to be worried about but always mention any of your concerns to your doctor to be safe.
Likewise if there are any signs that there are problems such as blood in the stool or mucous then consult with your doctor immediately.
Many parents are unaware that constipation in babies and toddlers is a relatively common problem and is a cause for concern for a large percentage of parents.
Constipation can lead to very unsettled and unhappy children and makes for sleeping difficulties too.
The same causes of constipation in adults are the reasons while babies and young children get constipated.
It is due to a lack of fluids and/or fiber in the diet.
One of the problems with babies however is the fact that the problem tends to get worse if steps aren't taken to resolve it.
Once a baby gets constipated they will realize that pain is associated with their attempts to pass a stool and this will make them tend to avoid going.
Once this starts to happen they get into a circle of not wanting to go to the toilet and getting constipated more often.
One thing that you must avoid doing with babies or young children is to use laxatives.
Laxatives can cause other problems for your child and you should never use any forms of medication without consulting your doctor.
The problem stems from the child's diet and the first step is to increase the fiber in their diet.
This can be as simple as adding more fruit and vegetables to the diet and making sure that the fluid intake is increased.
Water is the best form of fluid and the additional moisture that is present in the child's stool will make it easier to pass.
You should also try to get your child into a routine whereby they expect to make a bowel movement at particular times during the day and the best time is often soon after a meal.
This will introduce some regularity into their life and reduce the chance of them getting constipated from 'holding on'
Colic is a term that is used to describe the situation where you have a perfectly healthy baby who cries uncontrollably for extended periods of time.
This could be for several hours at a time or where there are regular periods throughout the week where there are extended periods of crying.
It can be a very stressful time for parents of colicky babies and although it won't cause your baby any long term health problems it can also be a very distressing time for your baby too.
It is usually in the first two to three weeks that a baby will get colic and while it is common for babies to cry when there is something unsettling them such as hunger or wet nappies babies with colic will cry excessively and often at the same time each day or evening.
The fact that they are unable to be consoled makes it difficult for parents to handle.
Fortunately colic tends to start getting better from a month to a month and a half.
Within a couple of months the crying periods will tend to decrease and most babies are past that stage in their life before 6 months.
While this is quite a long time for most parents to endure at least you can get some comfort knowing that every day you are one day closer to it stopping.
You should always get your doctor to give your child a thorough checkup to see that it is actually colic and nothing else that needs attention.
It is times like these that you need to get a little time out, where possible, to maintain your sanity and accepting any offers of assistance is a wise move.
Also; getting short naps during the day will help you to cope better with your baby.
The best you can do is offer your baby all the comforting that you can give and hope that you will have a child that gets over these episodes sooner rather than later.
It is not uncommon for babies to have stomach upsets.
While they are still developing so too is their digestive system but there is another cause that is more common for the reason why many young children have stomach upsets and that is simply because of the fact that they put their hands or anything that they find in their mouth a regular basis.
Obviously if their hands or the objects that they are putting in their mouth are dirty then there is an increased chance that they will get a stomach upset.
By keeping your child clean at all times and not allowing him or her to handle objects that are dirty will go a long way to reducing the incidence of stomach upsets.
Another cause a stomach upset can be where the quality of the milk that the child is getting from the mother when being breast-fed does not contain the necessary nutrition for the child to remain healthy and if that's the case then your doctor's advice will be required.
Not cleaning bottles sufficiently if your child is fed baby formula can also result in stomach upsets that can lead to diarrhoea or constipation.
A change of baby formula can also cause an upset and even when weaning your child onto solid foods it is not uncommon for stomach upsets to be more prevalent.
There is a delicate balance that needs to be maintained in your child's digestive system and there are many different factors that can affect that balance.
These are just a few areas that you need to take a look at if you find that your child is getting stomach upsets on a regular basis.
If you can't find a suitable solution relatively fast then see your doctor as soon as possible because it doesn't take much for such a small child to suffer from malnutrition.
When To Wean Baby
Generally you will begin weaning your baby onto solid foods at around 6 months of age. At this stage of most babies' development they would have doubled in bodyweight and they will be ready for the transition to solids.
In order to assist the baby with this transition their mouth will begin to change making it easier to cope with solid foods.
Up until this time the digestive system has only had to cope with the consumption of breast milk or baby formula so the process of moving towards solids needs to be a gradual one.
It is important however that you start introducing solids at this time as delaying the transition too long can hinder the baby's ability to swallow solid food initially.
In the early stages of your baby's development the breast milk or formula is sufficient for good nutrition and this balanced nutrition needs to be maintained when on solids so a variety of foods will assist in maintaining healthy nutritional requirements.
Along with the transition to solid foods comes additional expense in the form of bowls spoons and other utensils that are required for feeding the baby.
One thing that will make life a lot easier for you is if you have a food processor where you can blend of food to a consistency that is more easily digested by your baby.
Fortunately the price of food processors is relatively inexpensive these days and particularly if you buy them from any of the online appliance stores.
You will also be able to buy most of the products that you need for feeding your baby from the online baby stores at prices that are generally cheaper than you would find at your local stores.
One of the best solid foods to start your baby on is baby rice simply because is unlikely to cause any allergic reaction and can be readily mixed with other foods such as vegetables, fruit and potatoes which will blend nicely together and be easy to swallow.
Keeping your baby safe requires basic commonsense and the ability to see potential danger before it happens.
One thing that you need to consider above all else is the fact that babies and for that matter most young children are very inquisitive and the way that they learn about all these new things in their life is by touching them. Unfortunately they don't know the difference between the things that are safe and those than can cause them harm so it is up to you to eliminate their ability to come into contact with items that can cause them harm.
With most items making a beeline to the child's mouth you can see how danger is only seconds away if items are left lying around the house.
The list of such items becomes greater once the baby has become mobile with the ability to crawl and more so once they start to walk.
Quite apart from keeping dangerous items out of reach you need to consider whether the items and foods that you are actually giving your child will be detrimental to their well-being.
It is easy for a small baby to choke on food and it is best to be present at all times when feeding but it is also very important that the meals don't contain foods that have the ability to cause problems. Food such as raisins, nuts etc can easily cause your child to choke and should never be included in their diet until they are old enough to safely eat them.
You should always test the temperature of the food that you are feeding your child as food that has been heated in a microwave can heat unevenly and children will trust you to provide it to them at the right temperature and can quickly burn themselves if the food or drink is too hot.
Make sure that you are only feeding your child wholesome and nutritious food as this will set a pattern for them to eat well into the future as they will be accustomed to eating foods that are free from the ills that accompany food high in flour and sugar.
Introducing Solid Foods
Moving from feeding your child breast milk or formula to solid foods should be a gradual process.
There are no hard and fast rules that apply as every child is different and they all progress at different stages of their life. Don't compare your child to others unless you are concerned that there are some factors that might be affecting healthy development.
If you have specific dietary beliefs that you would like your child to follow, such as a vegetarian diet then you will need to ensure that your child is getting balanced nutrition and it might be wise to delay weaning off breast milk totally until the diet consists of sufficient foods to maintain a good balance of nutrients.
The first stage of weaning off breast milk/formula is to start by replacing one of the baby's milk feeds with pureed solid food. Once accustomed to this food it is time to replace more and more milk feeds with the solid foods and introduce more variations into the diet.
The types of foods that you choose to feed your child will have a bearing on their future eating habits so be sure to make good healthy choices and persevere with foods that have high nutrition value rather than food that appears to be easier to feed to your child.
Over a period of 3 or 4 months you will be able to transition from pureed solid food to chopped portions as your child learns to chew. You will be feeding less and less milk or formula but it is still possible that you will need to continue with this option for a while to ensure that the child is content and not hungry.
You should see some healthy weight gain during this time and if not seek professional advice to make sure that all the necessary nutritional needs are being met in the food that you are giving your child.
Organic baby products seem to be what every parent wants right now. It is all part of wanting the best for your baby. Organic products are restricted in their use of chemicals and should contain fewer additives or chemical treatments than standard products. Some will also be fair trade so you can be sure the manufacturer is not profiting from exploitative work policies. Buying organic gives you as a parent more security in knowing that nothing toxic or harmful should be coming in contact with your beautiful baby. Fortunately there are many organic baby care products available to consumers today.
Organic Baby Bath Products
Baby bath wash and lotion is a small but important purchase that you will be making. If you buy organic bath products you should find that all of the ingredients are natural. Soap ingredients should be plant-based rather than made from animal fats, herbal oils will be used, and any coloring and fragrance should be natural. Organic products will usually be easier on your baby's skin, so that sensitivities and rashes are less likely to develop. Also you should not need to worry about the long term effects if your baby drinks some of the bath water.
Organic Diaper Cream
Organic diaper ointment or cream is a wonderful product and comes highly recommended. An organically formulated diaper cream should be 100% natural and perfect for your baby's sensitive bottom. Again herbal essential oils, beeswax and natural plant-derived butters are used. These are less likely to cause irritation than chemical-based products, and they are usually easier to wipe away.
Organic Baby Food
Organic baby food has become popular in the last couple of decades along with all other organic food. The rules for organic food products are very stringent and if the label says 'organic' you can be sure that the ingredients were all grown in an environment free of pesticides. In addition, purified water will be used and the mashed and strained fruits and vegetables that you buy for your baby will have undergone less processing if they are organic.
You can also buy organic infant formula which gives your baby a great start in life. This is made from the same ingredients as non-organic formula except that it will be free of pesticide residues and genetically modified ingredients. It may be easier for babies to digest and the lack of chemical residues means that it is less likely to spark an allergic reaction.
Organic Baby Clothes
Organic baby clothing is usually made from organically grown cotton. The same rules apply as for organic food. The cotton will not have been sprayed with pesticides and is less likely to irritate your baby's skin. The fabric is often softer too. However, the lack of treatments means that the cotton is more likely to shrink, so you may want to buy a size bigger than you need right now.
Organic Baby Toys
The way babies put their toys in their mouths all the time, you will see why many parents want to buy organic baby toys. You almost have to consider them as food! Organic toys will be made from natural materials, without the chemicals that are found in plastics. Examples of organic toys are rag dolls and other soft toys made of cotton, wooden trucks and other wooden toys, and board books made of organic cardboard. Organic toys are very attractive with an old fashioned style and although they can be more expensive, they will be high quality and often last longer than cheap toys.
All of these products are things that you and your baby will use every day for the first important formative years. You can be reassured that you are providing your baby with the best chance of staying healthy and growing strong with organic baby products.
Toddler Self Feeding
Life becomes a little easier once your toddler begins self feeding.
After about 10 months you can start feeding your baby more variety of food and while you previously had to put the food in a food processor to make it easy to eat you can start feeding your child food that it chopped finely rather than blended.
You need to make sure that the pieces of food are chopped fine enough to ensure that your baby won't choke.
By this stage your child will have enough teeth to start chewing the food and the next step for you is to teach your toddler to start self feeding.
You will still need to be present when your child is eating as most young children have a tendency to put all the food they can get their hands on into their mouth and this can result in choking.
The best solution is to use a highchair and have it close to the dinner table so you can keep an eye on the food consumption while you are having your own dinner.
By giving your child small portions there will be less likelihood of too much food getting put into its mouth.
You will also be assured that all the food has been swallowed before the next portion is offered.
Soft foods are the best to start with as they will reduce the chance of problems that could occur with solid food getting lodged in the throat or airways.
Food and drink should always be at room temperature or warmed slightly as anything that is overly hot or cold can cause damage to the stomach and intestines.
Warm food is more easily digested too.
Try to avoid feeding your child any food that you know is not wholesome and nutritious as food and drinks that are of low value such as fizzy drinks, can cause stomach upsets, wind and other intestinal problems.
Toddlers will quickly adapt to feeding themselves and before too long they will prefer to have the control over the amount and speed by which they eat.