WHAT TO FEED YOUR BABY: TIPS

A critical window exists in infancy and early childhood, when the brain is growing and the body is developing. What you feed your child can greatly influence how he will grow and develop. Some of the options are more nutritious than others; and some far less expensive.

Although the cost of breast feeding is a small fraction of the cost of formula, its real value is in the potential to lessen allergies, infections, reflux, obesity and diabetes. 

Docosahexaenoic acid and perhaps other as-yet-unrecognized breastmilk components increase visual function and brain development, with a substantial improvement in I.Q. 

While breastfeeding is natural and instinctive (it's almost as simple as it looks), parents and their babies often benefit from the insight and suggestions offered in resources such as What to Feed Your Baby and what2feedyourbaby.com

Infant formula provides a safe and reasonable method of feeding for mothers who are unable to breastfeed, choose not to, or want to supplement. The major manufacturers have done extensive research that has produced safe routine formulas that are modeled on breast milk. 

The powdered versions are easy to mix, the most portable, and the least expensive. The water should be put in the bottle first, and then powder should be added to bring the total volume up to the specific number of ounces.  

Almost all the nutrients a baby needs for the first four to six months are present in breastmilk and formula, though newborns consuming smaller amounts and all breastfeeding infants need more vitamin D initially. And even higher amounts of D may soon be recommended.

Grocery shelves are confusing with all the different formulas displayed, with enormous differences in their cost and content. This book can help parents and providers select the right formula and offers suggestions to problems that range from prematurity to reflux, allergy and irritability to those who are underweight or gaining too quickly.

Babies with many different conditions are often mistakenly thought to have reflux or allergies.

Allergies in the family increase the likelihood that your baby will have allergies and these odds increase if multiple family members are involved. However, 55% of babies who have allergies do not have anyone in the immediate family with documented allergies.   

The introduction of solids should not depend on age alone. Timing and what foods are started will depend on whether the baby has certain conditions that need to be addressed.  

Juices and other drinks offered to babies may add calories and fluid but little else to a baby's nutrition.

Picky eating can usually be prevented, but it's unclear whether food allergies can be.

Well-fed babies don't necessarily finish their bottles or what's on their plates--and certain techniques can lessen the tendency to their becoming overweight or too thin.