Baby Booming – 5 Secrets to Ensuring the Best Nutrition for Your Baby

Parenthood might feel like a minefield, especially in those early weeks when life is a muddle of late-night feeds, bleary-eyed mornings, crying, dirty dishes, and piled-up laundry. Amidst this insanity, ensuring you’re giving your baby the best nutrition isn’t easy. While we like to think that breastfeeding is natural, it doesn’t feel that way for every mother. If you’re finding it a struggle, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not for you. Before you throw in the towel, try these tips:

  1. See a midwife or a lactation expert

Successful nutrition in those early weeks of life can come from breast milk (which is worth aiming for) or infant formula. There is no other suitable substance for feeding. Sometimes, the success of breastfeeding is as simple as changing the way your baby latches to the breast. However, the latching difficulties might be due to physical constraints like a lip tie or a tongue tie. A consultation with a lactation expert or midwife will help you understand what’s going on. 

  1. Try feeding in colder conditions

Got a good latch but your baby isn’t drinking? Turn on the AC. It’s instinctive for babies to start suckling more actively in colder conditions. Mothers who previously thought they would not be able to breastfeed because the baby wasn’t gaining weight fast enough found a dramatic improvement when they choose a colder area to breastfeed in. It may even help to remove a few layers of clothing from baby and enjoy the benefits of skin-to-skin. 

  1. Rely on research when transitioning to solids

Remember the bit about parenting being a minefield of conflicting advice and opinions? The same goes for transitioning your child to solids after being exclusively on milk. According to La Leche League, the leaders in breastfeeding research and knowledge, the ideal time for healthy babies to start tasting solid foods, is around the 6-month mark, when they are able to sit on their own, unsupported. Due to health reasons, there may be times when a pediatrician recommends earlier introductions. If you have a healthy child, ensure you take your information from credible sources that back their claims with research. 

  1. Research your macros

How much protein does your baby actually need? How many grams of carbs per day will give your baby what its brain needs for optimal serotonin production? These considerations matter. Find credible research and use a macros calculator (available on Google) to calculate what your baby needs. Typical baby cereals like rice porridge will help your child feel full and gain weight but provide very little nutrition. If you’re not careful, your little one may suffer deficiencies on such a diet. 

  1. Include Micros

Speaking of being nourished versus feeling full – consider your child’s micros too. It’s wonderful to have a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat on your baby’s plate, but what about their B-vitamins? Phytonutrients? Essential fatty acids? The more fresh fruit and vegetables you can include, the better. 

Fresh fruit provides a wide range of vitamins and minerals to grow strong bones, encourage healthy brain development, and build a strong immune system (the immune system is only active from the age of 3, but this preparation time is key in developing its strength). Many parents include supplements in their baby’s diet to account for commercially-grown produce, which contains fewer nutrients than organic. 

Ultimately, the best plan for your baby is one that fits into your lifestyle. Use the above information as a guideline, and remember – while “breast is best,” fed is better.  

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