Guidelines for Babies

Average, normal daily intakes for babies this young can be anywhere from 16 to 32 ounces. You needn't worry much about what specific nutrients your baby needs. Getting them all is like one stop shopping when they are served formula or breastmilk. One nutrient of caution for nursing moms in dark, northern climates...vitamin D. Check with your pediatrician to see if a supplement is necessary.

4 months to 6 months A Solid Start: Sometime during these two months most babies are introduced to solid foods. Although for the most part breastmilk and formula can continue to supply all their nutritional needs, adding some semisolid foods seems developmentally appropriate. Baby can control his head better, he sucks stronger, he can now mimic what he sees, and may even have the beginning of a palmer grasp, bringing objects to their mouth to bite. In fact, by 6 months, it seems like everything goes into their mouth! To your delight and amusement, your baby also has an improved ability to communicate. You've certainly had plenty of Îconversations' by now. Being able to communicate is important for starting solids. Now he can show his hunger by opening his mouth and leaning toward the spoon, and he can show his disinterest by leaning back and pushing away. Without these skills you could unintentionally force feed your baby.

The food you offer your baby now, must be both nutritionally and developmentally appropriate. It should offer the nutrients he needs with the consistency and texture that will help his eating skills. For this reason, an iron fortified rice cereal, whose consistency you can change, is a good choice for a first food. By four months, those birth stores of iron are depleted, and an outside source is necessary. Because at this age they will gradually be drinking less formula or breastmilk as their solid intake increases, they will need to replace their iron source. Establishing baby on an iron-fortified cereal early on will help secure their iron status throughout infancy and toddlerhood when it is most critical. Rice cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula also provides a good balance of calories amongst protein, carbohydrates and fat. Start with rice cereal since it is the grain least likely to cause an allergic reaction.

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