Do's and don'ts when feeding baby
Raising a healthy eater begins at the time when baby starts eating from the family pot at around six months. The general guidelines are for babies to be exclusively breastfed up to six months -- that is breastmilk only, no additives, no water -- but many factors prevent many mothers from attaining this goal. Indeed many Jamaican moms introduce foods as early as four months, which is generally frowned upon.
Problems with high body weight and poor nutrition continue to plague many children in the early childhood system and so it's up to parents to ensure that their kids get the best start from early. Here are some dos and don'ts when it comes to feeding your baby.
* Don't rush the start of solid foods as it will upset the baby's stomach as babies find it hard to digest some foods. Wait until the baby shows signs that he is ready, usually around six months.
* First solid food should be rice cereal in a bowl mixed with formula and fed with a spoon. Adding cereal to baby's bottle can cause babies to become overweight and prevents the baby from learning how to eat solids.
* Introduce one food at a time for several days. This will help you identify allergies. Signs of allergies include gas, bloating, rashes or diarrhoea.
* Steam or bake baby's food to preserve nutrients. Give baby only 100 per cent fruit juices when you introduce juices after six months old. Make sure you introduced fruits and vegetables at this stage too.
* Don't give your baby cow's milk until a year old. This includes powdered flavoured milk and condensed milk. The same goes for honey which contains spores which may cause botulism in infants. Cow's milk should be whole milk to ensure full nutritional benefits.
* Pay attention to signs that your baby is full. Do not overfeed.
* Keep a growth chart so you know how much your baby should be weighing for height.
* If your child wants to drink mostly, ensure that they are getting energy from the juice.
* Feed healthy snacks.