Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is – for many reasons – considered the best diet for a baby.

 

 

1)      Breast milk is a complete and a natural diet right from birth; it strengthens the immune system of your child.

Breast milk contains a combination of protective factors including antibodies and prebiotic oligosaccharides that help protect the child from illnesses such as stomach irritation or ear infections. Breast milk also helps protect an infant from children’s asthma.

Prebiotic oligosaccharides that are naturally found in breast milk are special nutrients that support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. An adequate amount of these bacteria help the body fight harmful bacteria and thus strengthen the child’s natural defenses from the inside. They also contribute to a healthy digestion and soften the stool so that the child can pass stool more easily.

Your child needs a constant supply of polyunsaturated fatty acid that he gets from birth from your breast milk, because they help his brain, eye and nervous system development.  Therefore, you should continue to eat foods like fish, which are rich on polyunsaturated fatty acids. If for any reason you can’t breastfeed, choose a formula that has added polyunsaturated fatty acids referred to as AA or DHA.

 

2)      Your body creates just as much milk as your child needs.

The volume of breast milk that your body produces correlates with how hungry your child is and the composition of it is modified to fit your child’s needs. And not only during a month, but also sometimes from day to day or even from the beginning to the end of one breastfeeding.

 

 3)       Breastfeeding helps with bonding.

The simple act of holding your child while breastfeeding is nature’s way of encouraging you to a lot of physical contact, to talking, eye contact and rocking. This closeness between a mother and her child provides warmth and comfort and also stimulates all five senses of your baby – touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste.

When a child is born, his eyes are only able to focus at a distance of only 20-37 cm. Breastfeeding brings him close enough to you that he can watch your features and facial expressions and will learn to recognize you while also developing basic abilities that will help the development of his sight, attention and concentration.

 

4)      Breastfeeding is healthy for you too.

Breastfeeding stimulates the release of a hormone called oxytocin. When your child latches on for the first time, this hormone triggers milk flow and also the uterus starts contracting. This contracting protects you from postpartum bleeding and helps the uterus return into its original size. The hormone oxytocin – sometimes known as the “love hormone” – also has a positive influence on your feelings; thanks to it, you feel relaxed and satisfied while breastfeeding. So breastfeeding is a calming thing for both of you.

Breastfeeding is also a natural and healthy way to get rid of the excess fat stored during pregnancy. A gradual weight loss is always safer and studies have shown that breastfeeding mothers reach their previous weight sooner and are more likely to stay at their target weight.

Recent studies have shown that breastfeeding has other long-term benefits to your body as well. Besides psychological benefits like decreased stress, it also helps metabolism and lowers the risk of osteoporosis (bone loss) or breast or ovary cancer. It also postpones the return of the menstrual cycle, which means your iron count will not decrease, and you will have a low chance of getting pregnant (although we want to remind you that it’s not considered an effective birth control method).

 

Communication with your unborn

When the mummy feels the first few movements of her baby, a more intensive contact between her and the baby start to develop. At the beginning, she might not yet be sure what this “language” might mean.

 

The feeling of “having butterflies” in your belly comes from the movement of its little hands. The “boxing”, which can be felt as pushes against the abdominal wall, are caused by movement of its legs or its elbows. Sometimes, towards the end of the pregnancy, we can even observe a shape of a little leg pushed against the abdominal wall at certain moments. If the head lies in the pelvic area, you can feel its movement as very mild electric shocks in the direction towards your labia.

 

The first knock – first communication 

 

The first sensations of the baby “knocking” in this way, are incredibly amazing. Of course, that every mother tries to involve the daddy too in this amazing experience. However, when the daddy places his hands over the belly, there is usually a complete silence. The baby usually feels that it is now the center of attention and it keeps still and pays attention to what is happening out there.

 

When these movements are felt, every mother places her hands over the belly every now and then, pats the unborn child and talks to him. The baby hears and feels this. It reacts to the gentle pressure of the patting hand and it then swims towards the abdominal wall, it presses itself against it so that it exposes itself to even more of this tender love and care.

 

Talk to me

 

The babies sleep inside their mummy’s body during the day too. Because of this, the mother might  sometimes be worried that there is something wrong with it. If she is not sure about this, she can awaken the baby by talking to it, by moving the belly or, in some cases, even by ringing an alarm clock.

 

The mum-to-be learns to interpret the different types of the baby’s movement pretty fast: when it wants to cuddle or when it is agitated, when it feels frightened or when it is in a good mood and it rolls over. They show their feelings and impressions with their whole body. They can “jump” with joy, or move suddenly when they get startled with something and they curl up when they are scared.

 

Most of the women call their unborn babies cute names at this stage of pregnancy and it even seems that children remember these sounds and respond to them later on in life. Communication could help.

 

Some adults even talk about their life before being born during various therapy sessions. It seems that with the use of trance, certain breathing techniques or drugs, these repressed, spontaneous memories can flow up to the surface and be recalled again.

 

 

 

Burp

When a baby drinks, it often swallows some air with it too, although not always. There are two reasons for helping your baby to burp.

 

Firstly, the baby doesn’t feel comfortable since the trapped air causes crams in its tummy which leads to a glutted feeling. The baby is then annoyed, it cries and cannot fall asleep. Secondly, the swallowed air bubbles in the stomach can cause a false feeling of being adequately full. When the baby feels this full, it stops drinking and later on after the air bubbles escape, its empty stomach demands feeding again. In this way, the baby is hungry and it wants to drink earlier than what was originally awaited which could sometimes be confusing and bothersome.

The more hastily the baby drinks, the more the milk spouts into its mouth, the more air it will probably swallow while drinking – and the other way round. In case that the child drinks especially calmly, it might not be necessary for it to burp at all.

According to this observation, you can decide whether to hold him in a position to induce burping for a while or whether to offer him your other breast. If the baby becomes upset after a few minutes of drinking the milk, it lets go of the breast and starts to wriggle, it is important to check if it needs to burp quickly.

You should certainly hold the baby in a vertical position for a while after the feeding, in the case that it has not fallen asleep yet. If you think that he has had enough, you can let him sleep until he himself shows a need to burp. It might be a good thing to offer the baby your breast once more after it has burped. Keep this in mind especially if the baby’s burp is very prominent (which could be a sign of false fullness) or if it has thrown up a significant amount of milk. This has occupied the space above the air bubbles and was emitted together with it – in this case we should not presume that the baby has had more than enough.

 

How to help the baby burp

The air rises upwards and so, you should hold the baby in an upright position –  the air then rises towards the entrance into the stomach and then it can escape better. The classical position for the baby to burp is for it to sit on your arm looking over your shoulder or to sit on your thighs leaning backwards against you. You can also gently and repeatedly pat him over his back from downwards to upwards using your palm so that the air can rise up at a faster rate. Since a little bit of milk will also be purged out when the baby burps, try to keep it away from your clothes. Don’t attempt to wait for the burp “forever”. If it doesn’t come in a few minutes, you can forget about it, especially if the baby feels alright. If it will feel like burping later on, it will show this by becoming upset and behaving in a confused manner. Then you should lightly hold him up for a while and he should burp without a problem.

 

What to do if the burp doesn’t come and the air causes crams in the stomach

 

For babies who gobble down the milk in a hasty manner, it can take a while before they burp. As I mentioned previously, the air bubbles are causing crams in the stomach and they trap a lot of milk above it – more time is needed before it can rise up. Some babies need to burp several times before all the air gets pushed out. Until then, they are restless and tend to cry even though they have had enough and don’t want to drink anymore. In such cases, you should feed your baby as soon as possible, so that it doesn’t drink as hastily, and not to wait until it starts to cry out of hunger. It would also be good if the child could burp while drinking, but this is not always possible. It might help if your hold him more upwards while feeding so that its head lies higher than its buttock. If your breastfeeding let down reflex functions so well that the milk spouts out in large amount immediately so that the baby needs to gobble it down rapidly which causes him to swallow lots of air as well, then you could try to take him away from your breast for a few seconds after a few gulps. Keep a towel aside to wipe off the  milk that flows out and then place the baby right back to your breast once the milk starts to flow out a little slower.

Fish Should Be Included in Your Child’s Diet

It’s well known that in coastal countries parents include fish in their child’s diet from an early age, basically as one of the first solid foods introduced at around their sixth of seventh month.

Until recently, people were very careful in including fish into a child’s diet, even freshwater fish, which has been a popular ingredient in many cookbooks for hundreds of years.

Fish, just like cow milk and nuts, is one of the most common allergens. This is the reason why many parents were reluctant in including fish in the diet of the smallest children. Studies have shown however, that eliminating these allergens from ones diet is necessary only if one truly has an allergic reaction to them. It’s ineffective and unnecessary to exclude fish from a child’s diet, even if he has a family history of allergies, only to prevent one from developing allergies. We cannot influence whether or not a child will be allergic. For more please read about the anaphylaxis on fish in children here.

Fish (especially freshwater fish) can be fed to a nursing baby. If a baby has a family history of allergies, it’s advised to be careful, but we don’t have to wait until our child is two (as was previously advised) to give him this very nutritious food.

Fish in baby diet

Fish in baby diet

Opinions on a balanced, nutrition diet change so quickly that many recommendations loose their validity. Nevertheless it’s true that regarding nutrition, it pays to learn form our ancestors.

Nursing unquestionably remains the best diet for a baby in his first months. Between his fourth and sixth month, it’s appropriate to start introducing additional liquids and solid foods, while still breastfeeding. It’s unnecessary to hurry or to give a child his first spoon of vegetables right at the end of his fourth month. If you start after his seventh month, nothing happens, but the child can refuse some solid foods and his tolerance to new foods (i.e. fish) can be lower then the month before. The same is also true for gluten.

Introducing Solid Foods

When a child reaches its first half a year, he is becoming more skillful. He can now openly show what he likes and what he doesn’t like. A child that is breastfed benefits from breast milk and long-term breastfeeding (up to two years or longer) is always recommended.

 

Starting with solid foods

Whether your baby is breastfed or not, we should usually start adding solid foods or additional liquids after his sixth month of age. We can start earlier if he is hungry, but never do so before his 17th week of age. Waiting to add other liquids or solid foods until the seventh month is not really beneficial for the baby. For a breastfed child, breast milk is the best way to go for the whole first six months.

We should not give a baby under the age of four months (whether it is breastfed or not) anything more, not even juice of tea! Breast milk (and formula) has enough vitamin C, so juices aren’t needed.

 

We should start with only a teaspoon-fullBeginning with solid foods

We start with only a small amount before noon breastfeeding or drinking. Typically, the first solid foods are purees from one type of vegetable. Give your child a sweet, soft, mashed vegetable cooked in unsalted water – you can use carrots, parsley, potatoes, broccoli cauliflower, etc. At first we only serve one type of vegetable.

It’s enough to mash the vegetable with a fork, because if a child gets used to very finely mashed foods, he may later refuse tougher pieces.

Be patient! You should consider one or two fully swallowed teaspoons a success. After that, breastfeed him or feed him infant formula. Some children need about 10-20 tries of a certain food before they like the taste.

 

Introducing more flavors in the foods

In the next three to four days you can introduce another type of vegetable. Such a time gap is needed to fully recognize if the baby likes or can handle a certain food item. You can now mix the previously tried out vegetable with meat, and slowly raise the amount of solid foods given to the baby at the expense of milk.  Meat is a very important source of iron, protein and fatty acids.

Between the second and the third week, replace „noon milk“ with solid foods. Of course, such scenario will not be a possibility with all children and that is fine. The result is, that a baby will get 150-200 grams of meat-and-vegetable soup at noon (instead of breast milk or formula) six times a week.

 

Meat & egg yolk

At first, the amount of lean and finely cut meat per dose should be one tablespoon (about 20g); later, from the seventh month, we slowly raise to two tablespoons (about 40 g) per dose. Once a week it`s good to replace the meat-and-vegetable soup with chicken egg yolk (or twice a week a vegetable soup with a half of yolk).  The yolk must be cooked in boiling water to prevent any bacterial disease. Egg white is not suitable for children under one year of age.

 

Porridge

After introducing meat and vegetables – or during that time – we can start feeding our baby fruit puree and cereal porridge. These can replace evening milk.

The purchased porridge should say what type of cereal it is made of and what age it should be served from. The porridge either contains milk and has to be diluted with water, or it’s without milk, which has to be added.

Porridge and other foods that contain gluten (flour and flour products, semolina pudding) should ideally be introduced while the baby is still being breasted, but never before his fourth month of age. At that time, the mucous membrane is not mature enough to handle gluten.

Rice does not contain gluten, so rice porridge can be served earlier (for example when treating infant diarrhea).

 

9. – 10. Month

In regards to growing teeth, we include tougher foods, soft cooked vegetables and larger pieces of meat during the ninth month. This is to help support chewing. We also start handing the child his food, so he can hold it alone (like a roll or a piece of bread) and practice chewing.

As for side dishes, we can try feeding our baby different types of coarsely chopped pasta (spaghetti, egg noodles, etc.). During this time, when solid foods are a big part of the diet and contain less water, we add about 200 ml of infant water to the babies diet. Children that are not breastfed should drink about a double of that amount (around 400ml)

The amount of milk a baby should drink during this time should be about 400 ml a day.

Fruit juices should be fed in smaller amounts (primarily to vary the diet), at around 120-150 ml a day. Later, when the child is a toddler, you can raise to 250ml a day.

 

Cottage cheese in the foods

Cow milk and dairy products such as cottage cheese are not suitable for children under one year of age. They are too heavy on the organism and a cow’s milk protein can be a source of some later allergies. The only thing recommended is yoghurt with fruit that can be fed to an 8-9th month old child.

 

10. – 12. Month

At this time, the child’s diet starts looking more and more similar to the diet of a toddler. Daily intake of meat can be raised to three tablespoons a day. Pasteurized milk can be introduced at tenth month, but not as a drink, but only as additional “food”.

 

Foods should not be salted or sweetened

Not even fruit should be sweetened. Fruit contains fruit sugar and so additional sugar could burden the organism, increase tooth decay and provide too much extra energy. Also, a child could then refuse non-sweetened food. Salted foods place heavy demands on the kidneys, which are still being developed.

We should avoid artificial preservatives in the foods, artificial sweeteners, ketchup and mustard.