Breast milk is best for babies. Food gives energy and nutrients that babies need to be healthy. Breast milk contains all necessary vitamin and minerals. Breast feeding helps in the development of the babies and also helps babies fight off diseases and infection both now and in future. Breastfeeding stimulates such hormones like oxytocin and prolactin which are beneficial for a mother to lose weight and bond with her baby.
While breast feeding is beneficial but if you can’t breast feed due to some medical complications, don’t be disheartened. There are many circumstances due to which mothers are not able to breastfeed. For example: – If you have any health issue or are on certain medications, infant formula is the only option available. Please note that it is certainly not the best as there is no synthetic formula available that matches the properties of breast milk along with its benefits.
Please note that if you are breastfeeding you also need to keep away from certain food items that can change the taste of your breast milk making it not that likeable for the baby.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, etc.
Avoid toxins, sea foods, junk and fried food items.
Recommendations by the WHO and UNICEF:-
Opt for breastfeeding with within 1 hour of birth of the baby.
Exclusive breast feeding for the first 6 months of life of the baby is a must.
Introduction of nutritionally adequate complementary (solid) foods at 6 months together with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.
What Is Complementary Feeding?
Infants grow very rapidly and have special nutritional requirements that are different from other age groups. At the age of 6 months, the requirement of energy and protein exceed and to meet those needs, complimentary food is necessary. If complementary food are not given at this stage or if they are given in inappropriate manner the growth of infant may falter. For appropriate complementary feeding there are some principles like:-
On demand, continue breastfeeding until 2 years of age or beyond.
Feed your baby slowly and patiently, don’t force them but encourage them to eat.
Gradually increase the variety and consistency of food.
Start small amount of food at the age of 6 months and increase gradually as the child gets older.
Increase fluid intake including breast feeding when your baby is sick and also include soft and other favorite foods.
It is highly recommended that when your baby turns 6 months old, consult a nutrition specialist to get clarity on the best diet for your baby.