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How to feed the baby for the first time?

When you are giving solid foods to your baby for the first time, you need to take it slow and easy. Your child can't start having three meals a day with sufficient carbohydrates, protein, vegetables, and fruits all of a sudden. Your baby's first food only does the job of supplementing breastfeeding or bottle feeding, not replacing it instantly. For the first couple of months of solid feeding, the bulk of the diet for your baby will still be the formula and/or breast milk. If you have concerns about feeding your baby for the first time, you can try talking to the best gynecologist in Bangalore. If you reside in Bangalore, medical help is likely just a few moments away. So, if you have concerns and want information on what you should and shouldn't feed your child, you can visit Rainbow Children's Hospital regarding your queries. Start feeding your baby The most important decision you need to make is to choose what you should feed your child. Your child needs to get balanced nutrition in terms of calcium, proteins, essential vitamins, and minerals. Formula or breast milk still provides almost all the nutrition. Since your baby's nutritional requirements are still being met, you don't have to worry about a balanced solid diet. You can feed him/her anything safe to consume for a baby. Until your pediatrician says it is okay to do so, you should not mix cereal with cow milk for your baby. Young infants should not consume cow's milk as it is known to cause allergic reactions along with other medical complications. The best food to start up with for your baby is baby cereal. It can be made easily and its consistency can be also altered by adding less or more liquid depending on what your baby needs. Baby cereal (oats, barley, or rice) does not cause any allergic reaction and can be easily digested as well. Not only that, most baby cereals are rich in iron, which is lacking in breast milk. Therefore, it is a particularly good starting food for a baby who has been exclusively breastfed. You may be tempted to sweeten your baby's cereal but you should avoid doing so. Simply mix the cereal with just water and give your baby a chance to have a taste of the plain cereal. You may think it is too bland to eat but most babies usually have a liking for baby cereal. If your baby does not like it plain, you can sweeten it a little bit by using expressed breast milk or formula or even a clear juice like pear or apple. You do not have to add sugar. Vary the menu Once your baby starts to have a grasp of the concept of consuming solid food, you can start introducing some variety into his/her diet. You need to guide your baby and help them discover foods with different textures and flavors. When introducing new foods to your child, always introduce just one item at a time in small amounts. Give your baby 2-3 days before you feed your baby something new. This is also helpful if your baby has a food reaction. Of course, you wouldn't want to be taking your baby to the hospital for a food reaction, even if it is the best maternity hospital in Bangalore. When you introduce food one at a time, you will know which food is the cause of a reaction, if your baby ever has one. An allergy or indigestion shows up in the form of a rash, diarrhea, or even your baby being too cranking for no reason. If there is an adverse reaction to a specific food, do not feed it for the next couple of months. After that, the baby may be able to tolerate the food better. Gradually, as you start adding more food to the diet of your baby, you should aim at providing balanced nutrition. Formula and breast milk are quite rich in protein. So, if you are bottle-feeding or nursing your child multiple times a day, he/she won't need much protein from other sources. So, there is no need of feeding him/her meat, fish, soy products, etc. Instead, you should feed grains through bread, pasta, and cereal, along with vegetables and fruits during the first months of solid food feeding. What to feed and what to avoid? For the first few months, you should prevent feeding citrus fruits and juices as well as berries. Citrus fruits are highly acidic, which makes them difficult to digest for a baby. Berries are also common allergens that must be avoided. Grains: You should start with rice cereal as they can be digested most easily. Thereafter, you can add variety by feeding oat, barley, and mixed baby cereals.

You can then gradually move to pasta and bread after 5-6 months. Vegetables and fruits: Babies usually love fruits, and some of them even like vegetables. It would be wise of you to introduce fruits only after you have

introduced vegetables. If not, there are chances that your baby will develop a taste for sweet foods and reject vegetables. You can start with vegetables like

sweet potatoes and carrots before moving on to beans and peas. You can feed a variety of fruits to your baby including pears, apple, bananas, peaches,

apricots, prunes, plums, etc. Meats: You should avoid high protein foods like meats until your baby is 7-8 months old at least. Dairy products and eggs: The best gynecologist in Bangalore would not recommend introducing eggs and dairy products like yogurt, cheese, and ice

cream until your baby is a year old. If you do want to start feeding dairy products earlier, you need to wait until your baby is at least 8-10 months old. Even

if you do so, consult with a pediatrician first.

When you are introducing new food to your baby, you must remember that the taste he/she develops during infancy is likely to persist throughout life. So, be wise in choosing foods for your baby.

Dr. Pranathi Reddy A

Clinical Director – Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Rainbow Children's Hospital, Banjara Hills