Feeding your baby should be a time of bonding, relaxation, and fun — not filled with worry. Here are three things to remember to keep the process calm and enjoyable for both you and your baby.
1. There is no deadline for stopping breastfeeding.
Worried about when to wean? If your 15-month-old still loves to breastfeed and you do too, then stick with it. At around 6 months of age, when your child is getting nutrients from solid foods too, his desire for breast milk may gradually lessen. The simplest and most natural way to wean is when your child initiates the process … and when that time comes, you’ll know it.
2. Breast milk or formula is enough to keep your new baby hydrated.
Some well-meaning family friends might suggest you give water to your new baby, especially in the hot days of summer, to keep him hydrated. But if she fills up on water, she’ll miss out on essential nutrients from feedings. So feel free to ignore this advice — your baby is actually getting all the hydration she needs from breast milk or formula. (The only time when you need to give your baby water is when she’s sick and losing fluids through vomiting or diarrhea. In this case, consult with your pediatrician first.)
3. The first solid food can be a fruit or vegetable.
At 6 months of age, your healthy baby is likely ready for some yummy pureed food. In the past, parents were encouraged to start with rice cereal or another single grain cereal before adding other foods. What we know now is that a fruit or vegetable (think mashed banana or pureed avocado) is a great first food. So feel free to give your baby real food from the get-go. Just make sure it’s soft and has a single ingredient. Expand from there and follow your baby’s lead.
Feedings are wonderful opportunities to bond with your precious baby. By following these tips, you’ll ensure a full belly and full heart.