With young babies, every day brings new joy and surprises. We eagerly watch them accomplish new developmental milestones each month, fall in love with that first smile and our hearts flutter with delight when we hear their first coos.
As babies grow every mother look forward to feeding them solid foods for the first time. The perfect food for an infant in the initial stages of life is breast milk, as it contains the right quantities of amino acids and fats for growth, carbohydrates, vitamins A, B, and C for energy, and iron. The mother also passes on protective antibodies to her child through her milk.
Ideally breast milk (or infant formula) should be the only source of nutrition for babies for the first five to six months. Many parents mistakenly try to feed solids to their babies at four months. This is too soon as the baby’s digestive and immunological systems have not yet fully developed. Early feeding can result in poor digestion, allergies, and obesity. Approximately six months is the best time to begin feeding your little one solid food. Excellent nutrition is key to your baby’s mental and physical development. The following guidelines can help you in shaping the healthiest diet for your baby:
Start your baby on iron-fortified rice cereals which is the easiest type of cereal to be digested. Wheat cereal should not be introduced until after seven months because it is likely to cause allergies. Infant cereals supply B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. In the beginning, only provide one meal of solid food a day as the baby’s diet should still mainly consist of breast milk.
For variety, add a little blackstrap molasses to the rice cereal to boost its nutritional benefits. Blackstrap molasses is very rich in iron and calcium. Other ways to vary the taste and nutritional value of your baby’s cereal include: soaking two dried apricots or two prunes or two dates or several raisins in warm water. Then mix the dried fruit with the grain cereal in a blender until smooth. That way you naturally flavor your baby’s cereal and you add fiber and vitamins and iron. Make sure the cereal with fruit has no chunks to avoid choking. For more read here.