Source : Sherin Saad / 26 Oct 2013
Being a mother is definitely a blessing from Allah; however, we all know that it could sometimes get quite overwhelming and stressful. Part of that could just be thinking too much, and worrying if you’re doing the right thing, especially if it’s your first experience of being a mother. I pray that after reading this article you will feel more relieved, and have more confidence in your abilities.
It also helps to remember the beautiful verse in the Holy Qur’an:
“And we have enjoined upon man [care] for his parents. His mother carried him, [increasing her] in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the [final] destination” (31:14).
Optimum nutrition for your baby, why?
Choosing the best quality of nutrients to feed your baby is as important as many other aspects, including emotional, physical and mental care. Every step a child takes, whether it’s their first toddle on the kitchen floor or their first athletic performance at school, depends on how well their body is working.
According to the UK National Health Service (NHS) babies need nothing but breast milk or infant formula for the first 6 months. Breast milk contains all the nutrition a child needs to grow and develop during this period. However, there could be a need for extra vitamin D, which your child could get through drops. The recommended dose for vitamin D varies according to your country of residence, so it’s best to ask your pediatrician. To ensure your baby is born with enough stores of vitamin D, and that your own needs are met as well, it is best you take a vitamin D supplement while you’re pregnant and breastfeeding.
Sadly, the number of women who choose to breast feed today has declined. Some do this due to inconvenience, while others may want to return to work quickly. Of course some women may not have an option if they are unable to produce enough breast milk. However, for those who have the choice, it might be worth re-considering breastfeeding for many reasons, including the following:
Breast milk contains antibodies (protective proteins) and other substances that decrease the risk of infections such as ear infections and gastroenteritis (also known as stomach flu).
Research also shows that children who are breast-fed are at lower risk of becoming overweight and developing high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes as adults.
As colic could be a nightmare for both mother and baby. It is worth knowing that breast milk helps establish healthy gut bacteria that aid digestion and protect against harmful bacteria that may invade your baby’s digestive tract.
Remember food is not the only means by which your baby nurtures and grows; being physically close establishes a bond between you and your baby which is important for both of you!
Weaning-When to Start Introducing Solid Foods:
Every baby is of course unique, but there are three clear signs which, together, indicate that your baby is ready for solid foods alongside breast milk or infant formula. It is very rare for these signs to appear together before your baby is six months old, which is the recommended time to introduce solid foods. Please watch link bellow to learn about them.
Tips to get started:
Always stay with your baby when they are eating in case they start to choke.
Let your baby enjoy touching and holding the food.
Allow your baby to feed themselves, using their fingers, as soon as they show an interest.
Don’t force your baby. Wait for the next meal if they aren’t interested this time. Note that during the first few weeks of weaning, a couple of teaspoons are enough.
Remember your child is still getting essential nutrients from breast milk or formula.
Guide them by eating together. Babies copy their parents as well as other children, so you can help them join in by talking to them and giving them food when you or the rest of the family is eating.
When using a spoon, wait for your baby to open their mouth before you offer the food. Your baby may like to hold a spoon too!
Wait for hot food to cool down and test it before giving it to your baby.
Start by introducing pureed or mashed foods as they are easier to swallow and digest, especially since your baby’s teeth haven’t all grown yet.
Homemade is best. Homemade food is made from simple ingredients with no added
sugar or salt. Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge (or frozen in an ice cube tray).
This saves a lot of money and makes children more used to the taste of homemade food.
It is important to offer solid foods when your child isn’t too hungry, too full, or too tired so that he/she isn’t too grumpy. Some nutritionists suggest you start by doing mixed feeds (i.e. give breasts milk before and after introducing solid foods) at the early stages of weaning when your baby is not yet used to swallowing (6).
Suggested Food during the First Year of your Child’s life:
Remember these are just general guidelines, so don’t take this as something you have to follow. In addition, as every child has different needs, it is important to experiment with your child and to regularly follow up with your child’s pediatrician.
||Breast milk or infant formula according to your child’s feeding rhythm.
|From 6 months
||There are no rules on what to start with. Most important is that the food has a soft consistency and easily digested. When you start weaning, your baby will still be getting the majority of the protein, fat and carbohydrates they need from breast milk which is why, at least initially, you’ll find yourself feeding as much as before. So your baby’s first foods should be vitamin- and mineral-rich vegetables and fruit, especially foods rich in iron, as by this age your baby’s iron reserves will be running low. Cow’s milk should not be introduced before one year of age.
Afterwards, when your child has started getting the hang of new foods, you may want to go for protein-rich foods. These include soft cooked chicken, mashed fish (check very carefully for any bones!), lentils, hommus (mashed chickpeas), hard boiled eggs and tofu. Lentils,, tofu and red meat (such as ground beef) are good sources iron.
|From around 8-9 months
||Continue breast- or formula- feeding according to your child’s feeding rhythm.
Gradually, when your child wants larger bites to taste, your baby will move towards eating small meals a day, consisting of a mixture of soft finger foods, mashed, and chopped foods.
Your baby’s diet should start to consist of a variety of food groups to ensure they receive the full spectrum of nutrients they need. Fruit and vegetables(in addition to those mentioned above, you might introduce new vegetables such as broccoli. Carbohydrates include rice (white or brown), quinoa (also good source of protein), peeled potatoes, bulgur, and bread (preferably wholegrain without much yeast). Proteins (mentioned above) and some full-fat dairy (preferably organic) products such as yoghurt.
At this stage children start having a higher need for fat as they are growing quickly. Good sources include avocado and oily fish such as salmon (2 portions a week on average) ).
||1-2 meals (with a variation of all the food groups mentioned above) of gradually coarser consistency.
2-3 small snacks
Breast milk or formula according to your child’s feeding rhythm.
Infants can enjoy most foods with the rest of the family. However special considerations should be given to some foods:
Honey is not suitable for infants under one year, as it could contain spores that the baby’s digestive system is not yet able to deal with. In rare cases, those spores can develop into bacteria in the intestine and produce botulin, a deadly toxin.
There is no doubt that children’s food should taste good, so don’t be afraid to give their food a tasty flavor by adding herbs like dill, parsley and coriander. However, be careful with salt as infants cannot properly balance salt in their system. An important advantage of reducing salt is that their taste buds don’t get used to salty foods, which may have negative effects later in life. Therefore, avoid salty snacks and salted meats such as sausages, salami, etc.
Remember, sugar only provides empty calories, i.e. no vitamins or minerals. Take care of hidden sugars in foods like flavored yogurt, creams, jellies and marmalades.
Cow’s milk shouldn’t be given as a drink to babies until they are 12 months old. There are two main reasons for that;
Proteins in cow’s milk may trigger allergic reactions in baby´s as their intestines are still not mature enough to handle them.
Cows’ milk doesn’t contain enough iron and other nutrients to meet young babies’ needs. If your child gets too much milk or dairy, there is a risk that he or she won’t manage to eat enough of other foods, which are richer in iron.
Finally, I pray that any fear you may have had about weaning gradually turns into excitement in anticipation of the wonderful time you are going to have with your baby!