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Top Tips for Weaning Your Baby
Weaning can be one of the most exciting times for Mum, and of course for baby too! New tastes, new sensations and new expressions… you will begin to appreciate the saying, “Diversity is the spice of life!”
But it can be a bit stressful, and there’s no doubt that if you want your baby to have the best and most nutritious start in life – you need to be organised. SO…
My Best Tips
1 – Think a day ahead!
2 – Keep a diary – this is essential to keep track of food reactions, baby’s mood which may be linked to increased blood sugar levels, and of course it will be something to refer to in years down the line the line or for when number 2 comes on!
3 – Introduce ONE food at a time. This is important to be aware of any unusual reactions (especially if there are allergy symptoms or a history of allergies in the family).
4 – When introducing any new food to your child, leave 3 days before starting any new food. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include sneezing, runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, or ear infection.
5 – Rotate meals from day to day as much as possible.
6 – Be patient – mealtimes should not be rushed. Your baby decides when she is full.
7 – Continue with food, if your baby doesn’t seem to like it at first. Try again the next day, or in a few days or weeks.
8 – Try not to worry too much during the weaning process!
9 – When you are “out” bananas and ripe avocados are the best foods to carry with you. Both can easily be mashed together and will be delicious, nutritious and satisfying for your baby!
10 – If your baby becomes a little fussy when you first introduce solids… don’t worry. It may take a while for the adults to “wake up” to solid food. Try giving kiwi fruit a try!
When a baby reaches the age of 6 months (usually having doubled its birth weight), the energy requirements (calories) as well as the requirements for nutrients such as protein, iron (see below), selenium, zinc, vitamin A and D, & essential fatty acids, are higher than what can be provided by the mother’s breast milk. It should be better to maintain breast milk or quality milk until the age of one at least. DO NOT give your baby cow’s milk until they are at least one year old. Some people think it should be closer to 2 years old – I would definitely say 2 if there is any history of allergy in the family.
Build foods over the next 4 months “slowly” in the following order…
Vegetables and fruit – see note below but usually you like to include a whole variety! Fruits are easy to introduce because babies love the sweetness, and of course they learn what NATURAL sweetness is. Avoid fruit juices. Fruit also goes well with vegetables, but try not to rely too much on fruit, just because you think your baby is more likely to want something sweet! Just keep an eye out for some fruit with large pips like raspberries – kiwis should be fine. Frozen fruit and vegetables such as peas are fine for your baby and can be very useful to use!
Beans and beans – well cooked and well mixed – try chickpeas, white beans, and puy lentils. These mash well and combine with savory or sweet ingredients and add a great deal of satisfaction.
Cooked brown rice, quinoa, millet and tapioca – homemade porridges or purees using these grains are better than store-bought baby rice. If you must use baby rice, make sure you buy organic and one that is FREE of fillers, eg Organix.
Lamb, poultry, and fish (especially oily fish such as wild trout and sea bass which have the lowest PCB and mercury levels) – add in small amounts at first, focusing on organic meats if possible. You may find that after introducing meat like lamb or chicken, your baby’s mood and energy levels will improve!
At 6-9 months, iron requirements are considered to be 7-8mg/day.
To give you an idea of how to achieve this, mix and match the following foods that are good sources of iron…
- 4 dried apricots (preferably soaked and crushed) – 5 mg
- 100g cooked red lentils – 2.4mg (pair with something sweet for an interesting dish)
- 100 g cooked peas – 2 mg
- * 100g cooked spinach – 1.6mg (not given to 1 year)
- 100g cooked chicken – 1.5mg
- 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses – 1.5 mg
- 4 prunes – 1 mg
- 100g cooked sweet potato – 1mg
- 150g cooked butter squash – 1mg
- ½ avocado – 0.4 mg
- 100g cooked cabbage – 0.4mg
- 1 tablespoon of raisins – 0.4 mg
- 100g cooked carrot – 0.4
Focus on vegetables as much as fruit in the first few weeks if you can. Try the “sweet” vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, peas, and sweet potatoes, butternut squash, asparagus, cauliflower and broccoli
Shop seasonally and locally when you can. Avoid introducing foods that you don’t like or didn’t like as a child! Remember, with a baby – you are starting with a clean palate, and NO understanding or knowledge of likes and dislikes. So go ahead with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, pumpkin, leek, swede or mushrooms – they might surprise you! All of these vegetables are very healthy in their own right!
It is generally advisable to avoid the “deadly nightshade family” of vegetables as there are ingredients that a baby may be sensitive to. These include aubergines, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. Wait until the first year is over!
After introducing these as a single food, try these “mashed” or “pure” combinations…
- Ripe avocado and banana
- Ripe avocado and mango
- Sweet potatoes and peas
- quinoa porridge and paw paw
- Quinoa and kiwi
- Beetroot and peas
- Broccoli and peas
- Orchard fruit puree – apple, ripe pear and peach
- Apple, parsnip and butternut squash
- Apricot and swede – don’t be afraid to combine fruits and vegetables – be imaginative!
- Meat, fish and bean combos. .
- Chicken, rice or sweet potatoes and broccoli
- Lamb, peas, sweet potatoes
- Tuna salad – crushed and mixed yellow tuna, avocado, natural yogurt, chopped chives and lemon juice!
- Bean and root vegetable mash – swede, celeriac, sweet potato and organic baked beans (sweetened with apple juice)
Other foods that make up your baby’s “diet”…
Suitable fortified foods – eg Nanny Goat milk, organic baby rice, cooked brown rice, tapioca, millet and quinoa porridge. These grains have a very low allergenic potential, as well as being excellent sources of protein and carbohydrate – see above.
* Spinach is a good source of iron(as well as calcium and vitamin A), but it is better to leave it until the child is 1 year old.
Blue-green algae and spirulina are green “superfoods” widely available in supplement form, and are useful additions for vegan/vegetarian babies, “atopic” babies, especially those who are not fed a -into grains of any kind until age 1-2. .
(NB 10g of dried spirulina provides almost 3mg of iron).
For these babies, millet and quinoa are the best grains to start introducing, very nutritious, gluten free and excellent sources of protein and iron. Both can be cooked and used as porridge, with interesting additions, such as banana or papaya.
How much food should I give?
The following is a guide to the first 3 months of weaning – eg from 6-9 months of age.
Weeks 1 and 2 – Try 1-2 teaspoons during a lunchtime feed, halfway through the breast or bottle feed.
Weeks 3 and 4 – As above + 1-2 scoops at breakfast halfway through bottle or breast feeding. Increase feeding at lunch time to 3-4 teaspoons.
Weeks 5 and 6 – 1-2 tsp at breakfast. Take 2 courses at lunch time with 5-6 tsp, and take a snack of 2-3 tsp.
Weeks 7 and 8 – As above + give solids FIRST at lunchtime and then top up with milk.
Weeks 9 and 10 – As above + solids only for lunch + water from baker – give solids FIRST at tea time.
Weeks 11 and 12 – Solids only for lunch and tea. Take a beaker of water after lunch and tea.
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