Importance of mother's
milk, growth patterns and the reason behind weaning and introduction
of various food groups at different stages of infancy.
- The first advantage is that
the baby is close to the mother, is held close against the mothers
body, feels the warmth of the body, gets the smell of the mother
and this builds bonding, security and a sense of well-being which
is a great booster to the overall growth and development of the
- The mother's milk is in the
exact composition and right balance of protein, carbohydrate,
fat, vitamin and minerals for the ideal growth of the baby.
- It is ready made, no making
or mixing and is at the exact temperature at which the baby should
- It is clean and free of all
- It contains antibodies that
protect the baby from falling ill easily.
- Breast milk develops a degree
of protection in the child against the developments of lymph system
cancer and diabetes in later years. Breast fed infants are less
likely to develop allergies in early life as compared to those
that are formula fed.
- Intelligence, as measured
by IQ, tends to be higher in babies receiving breast milk than
in those given formula.
BREAST IS BEST !
is it done?
Put the baby to the right breast, allow her to drink for five minutes,
burp her. Then put her to your left breast and allow her to drink
for as long she wants (10-15 mins). Try not to feed again for at
least 2 hrs. This time limit is essential for milk production. If
she keeps crying in-between this period, check all other needs,
burp her, change the nappy if necessary, play with her, walk her,
rock her, and some how postpone the feeding for 2 hours. When it
is time for the next feed, start at the left breast for 5 mins,
burp and then place at right breast for the longer duration. One
more important factor is to ensure that the baby's mouth is properly
placed on the areola (brown/pink area around the nipple.) If the
mouth is on the nipple the nipple will crack and breast-feeding
will be very painful and difficult.
Give me some points on how to wean my baby?
Weaning is the introduction of any food other than the breast milk
or bottle feed the baby has been taking from birth and can be done
between 3 to 4 months of age.
is ideal to start with orange juice when the baby is 3 months old.
Try and avoid sour oranges and see that it is well diluted, one
part of orange juice to 3 parts of water with a little sugar. Taste
it yourself. It should be mild and pleasant to taste. Do remember
that orange juice is not a substitute to milk. As it is mainly water,
it should be given between 2 milk feeds. Please use boiled and cooled
water and a clean sterile bottle. Musambi (sweet lime) can also
In the beginning
the baby may take 1 - 2 tsp. of it but this can be increased within
a week to 50 ml and then to 100 ml. After a month or so the concentration
of juice to water can be increased to 1:2 or 1:1. If the child is
not showing any revulsion or allergic reaction, it can be given
in all seasons. If the weather is cold, use lukewarm water to mix
the juice. Hot water will destroy Vit C. One of the Vitamins that
milk lacks significantly is Vit C, which is important for healthy
growth, resistance to infection and improving iron absorption. Therefore,
fruit juice rich in Vit C such as orange, musambi or tomato is usually
the first thing to be started for the baby.
drops like Abdec or Zevit must be given from 4 months to 1 year.
Also expose the child regularly to morning sunlight so that Vitamin
D is formed in their body.
To meet the increased calorie needs from the 3rd or 4th month a
cereal and milk porridge type of preparation is to be started. Rice
is the safest choice as it has been seen to be easily accepted by
children and not causing any irritation or allergy in babies. One
level tsp. of roasted rice powder can be mixed in 100ml-diluted
cow's milk and cooked to a gruel or porridge on a slow fire. More
milk may be added if it is too thick and sugar for taste. This can
be spooned into the baby's mouth little by little. Gradually increase
the quantity as per the requirement of the baby.
you would prefer a commercial brand you may go for a rice Cerelac
or Nestum. There is no harm in using the so-called commercial foods
like Cerelac, as it is safe, clean and convenient. Follow the instructions
and quantities prescribed on the packet or container. Please introduce
this as a breakfast feed around 8 or 9 am and continue all other
milk feeds. Water must be introduced with the Cerelac feed. Spoon
a few teaspoons into the baby's mouth after the feed. When the baby
is 4 or 5 months, and can hold up her head, allow her to sip water
from a small narrow cup (e.g. The cap of a feeding bottle.) This
prevents water from spilling. Avoid water in a feeding bottle. Water
must be boiled and cooled.
banana can be introduced in small quantities when the baby is 5
or 6 months old. Mash thoroughly with a fork.
porridge may be introduced at breakfast instead of the Cerelac.
Sieve coarse ragi powder and using the fine powder make a gruel
of it with water and milk, add a little sugar or jaggery for taste.
A 6-month-old baby is ready for lunch. Over cooked rice with a little
dhal and vegetables like potato and carrot can be mashed with a
fork. Make it semisolid and start with a couple of teaspoons at
lunch everyday (strictly avoid grinding the food in the mixi). At
this stage the baby is ready for mashed food. Continue the milk
feed at this time soon after the few spoons of rice. As the intake
of rice increases, reduce the quantity of milk. Please avoid adding
additional ghee or butter to the baby's meal. It is very taxing
to the baby's digestive system and should be strictly avoided till
9 months of age.
After the 6 month, an evening meal can be started and as Ragi is
given in the morning, the Cerelac can be shifted to a 6 or 7 PM
feed. After 6 months you may use wheat Cerelac and other variations
like vegetable and fruit Cerelacs.
apple, scraped with a spoon can be given before or after dinner
from 7 months onwards. It is a waste to stew apple or juice it.
Scrape the pulp carefully from a freshly cut apple and give tiny
amounts in a spoon.