Every new parent is eager to provide the best care for their baby. However, most people don’t have much experience with taking care of younger children. Fortunately, babies and toddlers are quite simple to take care of. With a bit of preparation, childless new parents can have a positive experience caring for their infant.
The first six months of a baby’s life are called the ‘baby friendly’ period because infants aren’t able to digest cow’s milk or other solid foods yet. Most baby friendly foods can be introduced at six months old, as long as these foods are soft enough to pass from the mouth to the stomach without being chewed or broken down into smaller pieces.
What are the essential baby health tips for newborns?
Newborns have special dietary requirements that are different than those of older children and adults. Newborns require foods that are easy to digest and that have low amounts of iron or calcium. Your newborn’s pediatrician can provide you with specific guidelines for her dietary needs. Newborns are particularly sensitive to iron in the diet.
The iron in cow’s milk is easily digested and is not a concern for newborns. However, any iron-containing food (such as beef, pork, chicken, fish with bones, or any food with “bread” in its name) can cause serious harm to a newborn. Your baby’s diet should be low in calcium.
The best foods for a newborn are breast milk or formula mixed with water or rice. As your baby gets older, you should gradually add a small amount of low-calorie dairy products such as low-fat yogurt and low-calorie cheese.
Begin breastfeeding immediately
Newborns are at a great risk of getting sick from bacteria in their mothers’ saliva. The key to preventing this is breastfeeding. Breastfeeding lowers a newborn’s risk of getting infections such as laryngitis, croup, and gastroenteritis. Breastfeeding also decreases a baby’s risk of getting anemia, childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes, and allergies. A newborn can gain weight quickly if she is being breastfed.
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Your pediatrician will advise you how often to breastfeed your baby and how much to weigh her. The World Health Organization recommends that babies get the majority of their nutrition from breast milk or formula during the first 6 months; this is also when a baby is most developmentally advanced.
Breastfeeding is beneficial not only for the baby but also for you. Breastfeeding decreases your risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. Breastfeeding also decreases a mother’s risk of developing postpartum depression.
Eat every 2-3 hours, but never too close to bedtime
Newborns are often sleepy and hungry. It is important to feed your newborn often and to eat small portions at each feeding. Your baby’s pediatrician can advise you on the ideal feeding schedule for your individual baby. Try to feed your newborn on a schedule of 2-3 times per day. Your baby will get the best nutrition if she is fed within 30 minutes of waking up and before she goes to sleep.
If you feed your baby at other times, she will not get the nutrients she needs from her meal. Many babies like to be fed while they are lying down. This is fine as long as you feed your baby frequently and keep her portions small.
If your baby is having trouble staying awake for a feeding, try mixing formula and water or giving your baby a spoonful of cereal before bed. You can also try holding your baby on your lap while she watches a show or uses a baby monitor.
Keep water and formula in the same place at all times
Newborns can quickly become dehydrated if they aren’t fed often enough. If your baby doesn’t seem to be drinking enough water, she may be too tired to drink. You can try holding your baby on your lap while she takes a few sips from a cup of water. Also, you can offer your baby formula diluted in water rather than feeding her a full meal. Make sure your baby is always drinking enough water and that you are keeping her food and water in the same place at all times.
You can keep bottles and formula in a kitchen cabinet or pantry or have a water bottle attached to your baby’s diaper. Newborns who are not eating enough water could have a medical condition that causes them to not drink enough water, such as a medical condition that causes a baby to be too weak to drink water or a medical condition that prevents a baby from swallowing water, such as a cleft palate.
In these cases, it is important to see your baby’s doctor. If your baby is not drinking water, she may also be too tired to eat. In these cases, your baby may also be suffering from a medical condition that needs to be treated.
Don’t give your infant honey or other sweet foods
Honey is a highly concentrated source of sugar and provides no nutritional value. Newborns have a unique digestive system that is not yet mature enough to break down complex sugars like honey. Honey can cause serious damage to an infant’s intestines. Therefore, honey should not be given to newborns. Sweet foods are digested quickly and cause too much sugar in an infant’s blood too quickly.
Sweet foods are best avoided until your baby’s intestines have had time to mature. Your baby’s pediatrician may recommend that you avoid honey or other sweet foods. You can also try to avoid sweet foods while your baby is breastfeeding. Breast milk is already high in sugar, so a small amount of honey or other sweet foods added to a feeding can have little effect on your baby.
Bring on solids slowly
Newborns have a special digestive system that is not yet mature enough to break down complex foods. Thus, your baby’s diet should consist of a majority of liquids and easy-to-digest foods such as breast milk, formula, and low-fat dairy products such as yogurt. Your infant’s pediatrician will recommend the best way to introduce solids. For example, your doctor may recommend that you start with low-calorie foods such as baby cereal and fruits such as apple, pear, and orange.
You can also try adding mashed cooked vegetables such as carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes to your baby’s diet. When you are ready to introduce more nutritious foods, follow your baby’s doctor’s advice on the best way to do this. You can also try having your baby watch you eat; this can help your baby realize that food needs to be chewed before being consumed.
Newborns need special care when it comes to health and diet. Breastfeeding is recommended by most experts as the best method of feeding, but other options are available. Your baby’s doctor can help you ensure that he or she receives the most well-rounded diet possible. Newborns also have a special digestive system that is not yet mature enough to break down complex foods.
Therefore, your baby’s diet should consist of a majority of liquids and easy-to-digest foods such as breast milk, formula, and low-fat dairy products such as yogurt. Newborns also need to be kept well hydrated, so it is important to drink plenty of water and to keep your baby’s food and water in the same place at all times.