For a mother, feeding her baby is a normal concern. When should you give your baby the breast or the bottle? In fact, it is the child himself who will decide and ask for it at the beginning.
Baby feeding: on demand
Babies know how much and what they need. And every child has different needs. The best way to feed babies is to feed them on demand at first. Each child has his own way of expressing himself, often in the form of short cries that get louder. On average, an infant will take about 6 feedings per 24 hours for the first two months and sometimes more at the very beginning.
For babies who are hungry and cry frequently, however, a minimum of 2.5 hours is needed between feeds to allow time for digestion and for the stomach and breasts to settle.
Breastfeeding on demand is true both day and night. It is not necessary to wake up a child to feed him/her unless he/she is premature or on medical advice: a hungry baby will wake up and cry!
Good to know: if the child wakes up during the night, it can be due to hunger or thirst, but also to colic, a full diaper, etc.
From the age of two or three months, it will be necessary to gradually regulate the baby’s feeding so that it becomes more regular and fits in with the alternation of day and night and the family’s rhythm. Baby can be woken up to feed him if he sleeps too long during the day.
Milk: the only food for up to 4 months
Until 4 months, milk is the only food necessary for infants. It is perfectly adapted and covers all their nutritional needs.
The choice between breastfeeding and bottle feeding is a personal decision. Breast milk is the best food for the baby. But breastfeeding, to be fully effective, must be a moment of pleasure for both mother and baby.
In addition, the mother must produce enough milk and sufficient consistency for the needs of her child, which is not always possible, especially if the baby or the mother is not in perfect health. Everyone should choose the type of breastfeeding that seems most appropriate.
Diversifying baby’s diet
Milk is the basic food until the age of 1 year. But from 4 to 6 months of age, babies can start to diversify their diet.
Food diversification should not begin before 5 or even 6 months of age if the child is at risk of allergies (history of allergies in the family). However, trying to prevent an allergy by excluding certain foods or taking food supplements cannot be recommended. On the contrary, it is recommended to introduce foods that are known to be allergenic from the beginning of food diversification with, for example, small quantities of peanuts and well-cooked eggs.
During diversification, the introduction of foods should be gradual. As a general rule, it is not advisable to introduce more than one food per week.
New textures can be tried for 6-8 months (about two months after the start of diversification). It is also recommended to systematically add fat to homemade or commercial formulas that do not contain fat. On the other hand, the introduction of sweet products should be done as late as possible and in a limited way.
Experts also advise offering a new food often (up to ten times): a baby may need time to appreciate it, but not to force a child to eat. Also, trust the child’s appetite and be aware of signs of fullness. Finally, the environment of the meal is important, especially in avoiding the presence of screens.