Ensure a healthy diet for your infant

Ensure a healthy diet for your infant
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Ensure a healthy diet for your infant

Highlights

Be calm and patient if the baby refuses to eat a particular thing. Do not get tempted to make them taste junk food. If the problem of not eating properly persists, consult a doctor

Babies after turning 1 grow quickly and need healthy and nutritious food every day. It is important to help them develop a strong body and smart mind. Usually, mothers breastfeed their babies for the first 6 months. But one needs to understand that breast milk remains the main source of energy even after reaching or completing their 12 months. Breast milk provides vital nutrients to a baby's development, however, it is not enough for a 1-year-old.

When babies turn one, they have got teeth to chew. That's the time when a mother needs to introduce them to solid food. As the baby grows, they start to crawl and explore increasing the chances of the baby taking germs into their mouth. Thus, the mother needs to be extra protective to make sure they wash the hands of the baby and keep them hygienically clean to avoid them from falling sick.

What to feed for healthy development?

The baby's first food should be given while keeping in mind their ability to chew and digest. It needs to be soft that's easy to swallow. It could be semi-solids including mashed fruits or vegetables (boiled potato, carrot, etc.). Usually, the packed baby food available in the market is not as nutritious as it seems.

Thus, the key is to avoid feeding the baby with something that has a TV commercial for selling gimmicks.

When a baby has teeth, they eat anything that the family eats but it needs to be packed with extra nutrition. The taste of new food might surprise the baby, it is better to give them time to get used to semi-solid food. Be patient for easy transition from liquid to semi-solids.

How much and how often to feed?

Before starting with the food, a mother needs to know there is a difference between a breastfed baby and the one who does not consume breastmilk. Everything differs – from appetite to their diet. For a breastfed baby, three-quarters to one cup of food three to four times a day is sufficient. Packs of healthy and nutritious snacks should also be added between the meals. Additionally, dairy products make every important part of a baby's development. Try to feed them with milk and related products twice or thrice a day.

A baby who does not consume breastmilk should be fed more often. When turning 1, the baby tries to crawl, walk and learn more activities. Thus, his/her feeding schedule should be four to five times a day to give them extra energy and nutrition.

How to find out the baby is full or hungry?

It is very common to think that crying is a sign of feeling hungry. There are several reasons behind a baby's cry or fuss – tired, upset stomach, need a diaper change, etc. Some other general signs that can help mothers understand when their baby is hungry are – smacking lips, leaning towards breast or milk bottle, putting their hands in the mouth or sucking their fingers. These signs are like hunger cues that can help in satisfying the baby's hunger on time.

Similarly, the babies show visible signs when they are full or not in the mood to eat. For instance – a baby pushing away the milk bottle or spoon is a clear sign of feeling full. Apart from this, when a baby's hunger is satisfied, they easily fall asleep or move their body parts actively. These signs help the caregiver the hint to not to force them to eat more.

What to do when a baby refuses to eat?

At the age of 1, the baby needs to have solid food. Do not overfill their tummy with breastmilk. Make sure they are hungry during the mealtimes, only then he/she would be able to eat properly. In the initial days of starting solid food, try some experiments to figure out the baby's reaction to food and their favourite meal. This can help in making a unique combination of foods that the baby might like and do not refuse to eat.

Be calm and patient if the baby refuses to eat a particular thing. Do not get tempted to make them taste junk food. If the problem of not eating properly persists, consult a doctor.

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