• Good Food Guide
 

Baby Foods

If your baby is ready to start on solid foods, you might want to know which foods are best. The variety of foods is huge and that can be good starter foods. Here are some ideas to help you get going.

Rice, mixed grains or cereals are the typical baby foods that you mix with formula or breast milk. This is a good starter food because it is easily tolerated and you can make it as thin as you like for those first meals. Start with just about a tablespoon of the cereal.

Many babies love plain, unsweetened yogurt, and it is a very healthy first food. If your baby doesn't like it, try yogurt with the fruit on the bottom, but check labels, and buy yogurt with low sugar content. Very often the grocery store brand will be lower in sugar than the national brands.
Applesauce, bananas, peaches and pears are all good choices, and babies love them.

These are some of the best foods to offer first. Many doctors recommend offering vegetables, cereals and unsweetened yogurt first and adding fruits and sweetened yogurt a bit later. This is based on the theory that saving sweeter foods for later discourages the advance of a sweet tooth.

Be certain that you introduce only one new food at a time, and wait a week before introducing something new. This will let you determine if there is any food that your child is allergic to or does not tolerate well. Once you have introduced the foods above successfully, you can add other vegetables, like green beans and peas, and meat. It is usually recommended that you wait until your baby is older to introduce spinach and broccoli.

Beware trying to approach those first few solid meals when your baby is really hungry - he is likely to rebel. Give him just a little breast milk or formula, and he is likely to be much more patient with the process. Don't expect much those first few feedings. Your baby will wear more than he will eat for some time. But, it will get better - and these first few meals are more about learning the skill than actual nutrition, anyway!

Those little containers of baby food are expensive, you are probably wondering how you could possibly save money on baby food. Well, you can't save money on those little containers, but you can on baby food itself. How? Make it yourself! It's really not as hard as you think. Do a search on the internet for "homemade baby food" and you'll find tons of recipes on how to make just about anything perfect for your little one.

Let me tell you how easy it can be to make your own baby food. Yes, it takes a bit of time, but knowing that you're giving your baby the best food for him and saving some money at the same time.

 Breastfeeding

The best thing to do is to buy fresh fruits and veggies, but the next best is frozen. Canned foods usually have too much sodium or preservatives in them. Besides bananas and melons, most foods need to be cooked or steamed first. Steaming is the best choice for preparing your baby food. You'll need to steam the foods until they are nice and soft which can take anywhere from 15-25 minutes. Once they are done, they are placed into a blender to be pureed. When they've been pureed, you will either use fresh water or the water left over from being steamed to mix with the pureed food to make it thinner for the baby to eat.

While the breastfeeding process exists to nourish a newborn and to provide everything that it needs to grow, breastfeeding is much more than food for a baby. The entire breastfeeding process provides significant benefits for both the baby and the mother.

Babies do not have a fully functioning immune system until they are one year old. For the first year of life, a breastfeeding mother actually provides the immune response for a baby who is exposed to a cold or flu. If a baby were to suffer a cold, his mother would immediately start to increase her white blood cell production to counteract the bacteria or virus whether or not she experiences the baby's symptoms. The baby would get these doses of immunity through breast milk. Breast milk contains many white blood cells (the blood cells that fight bacteria, viruses and parasites) and because of them, breast milk can actually sit on a countertop for 8 hours and be perfectly safe to drink.

The proteins, carbohydrates and fatty acids in breast milk provide everything that a baby needs to grow strong bones, muscles and tissues. All of these components of breast milk exist in perfect proportion to a growing baby's needs. Breast milk proteins are easily digested and breastfed babies feed often to build up their mother's milk supply. The fatty acids found in breast milk help to support the growth of the baby's brain and nervous system. The carbohydrates (or sugars) found in breast milk provide energy for the baby to play and interact with her world.

Breastfeeding provides great health benefits for the mother after birth, it helps to contract the uterus back to its pre-pregnant state. Mothers who breastfeed for longer periods of time experience less breast or uterine cancer later on in life.

The hormone oxytocin stimulates the let down reflex when a baby starts to breastfeed; however, the role of oxytocin is not just for breastfeeding. In fact, oxytocin is called the hormone of love. Our bodies release high doses of oxytocin during the infatuation stage of love which creates the wonderful high that we experience when we first fall for someone. Breastfeeding creates this same feeling of infatuation every time a mother breastfeeds her baby. These continual doses of oxytocin enhance the bonding and attachment process to securely attach the mother/baby pair.

We all know that breast milk is best for babies. However, there is a vulnerable time for both the mother and the baby for the first month after birth as they learn to breastfeed. Some babies learn easily, others take their time. If a baby is continually fussy during this process a new mother can interpret the fussiness to mean that the baby has a specific problem with her, and that can influence her decision whether or not to keep trying.

With a calmer baby, there is a greater chance that the mother will continue to breastfeed, which helps to create a more bonded mother and infant and a relatively peaceful home life. With the reduction of crying and fussiness, the relationship between the mother and father is less strained in the transitional year to becoming a family, and that helps to bond the family unit more easily.

When a baby fusses or cries, especially in the evening, the problem is usually that the baby is experiencing an adverse reaction to something that the mother is eating. If a breastfeeding mother can alter her diet on a short-term basis, the baby usually calms down and the breastfeeding process becomes easier for both mother and baby.

The main food source that a breastfeeding mother eats that causes babies discomfort are cow's milk proteins. Small amounts of cow's milk proteins end up in breast milk and can cause the baby to experience either food hypersensitivities or food intolerances. The resulting symptoms are gas, bloating, discomfort and crying.