The Golden Rules of Feeding Babies and Toddlers
Nutrition guidelines and feeding tips for the first two years
Wondering precisely what your baby or toddler needs to be eating at each age? No surprise, pediatricians receive a lot of the same infant feeding and nutrition concerns. Here, then, are guidelines to keep in mind:
Golden Rules of Breastfeeding
1. Breastfeed your newborn on demand. Forget your clock. Forget your schedule. High maintenance, yes, but this is worth the effort: Babies fed on demand typically gain weight naturally and settle into a routine on their own—with less stress on you!
2. Breastfeeding is working if you hear your baby swallowing (after Day 3 or 4), you see urine and stool output frequently, and your pediatrician tells you that your baby’s weight gain is sufficient. If those factors are in place, just relax.
3. Two-month-olds are often fussy, and it is unlikely to be because of the one cup of coffee, the small bowl of ice cream, or the two cookies you indulged yourself in (and so deserved!). Breastfeed Baby as usual, take deep breaths, and this, too, will pass.
Golden Rules of Feeding Infants
1. Unless your infant is constipated, fruit juice is unnecessary. Juice has too many empty calories, too much sugar. Breast milk, formula, and water (after four months) are all the liquid your baby needs.
2. Foods to avoid until (at least) one year of age: honey (infection risk); citrus fruits, strawberries, egg whites, peanut butter, fish, and shellfish (allergy risk); whole or low-fat milk in bottle or cup (wrong nutrients for this age, plus a potential allergy risk).
3. Starting solid foods has little to do with developmental readiness these days. Introducing complex solids at six months of age, rather than much earlier, may help to reduce your child’s risk of later food allergies. For many infants, developmental readiness occurs much younger than six months of age but should be delayed no matter how excited Grandma is to begin the big boy/girl feedings.
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