Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: If you're a new mom, there's a lot to learn about the basics of breastfeeding. Like any other new skill, breastfeeding certainly requires knowledge and practice to be successful. There will be a number of questions running through your mind – how much is enough for your baby, how often you should breastfeed, how long should you breastfeed, when should you start cereal, and which is the first best food to give and so on.
But, relax! Things aren't all that complicated, although it can definitely be confusing. Here's how you may do it-
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend exclusive breastfeeding (i.e. no other fluids or solids) for six months, and then continued breastfeeding combined with solid foods for 12-24 months or as long as mother and baby want.
Your baby should be nursing 8-12 times per day during the first month after birth. By 1 to 2 months, a breastfed baby will need to nurse 7-9 times a day. It is recommended that newborns should not go more than about 4 hours without feeding, even overnight.
- Birth to 6 months – Only breast milk/infant formula (whether by choice or out of necessity).
- 6 to 7 months – Breast milk/infant formula, can slowly start introducing iron-fortified baby creals such as rice, oatmeal, barley.
- 6 to 8 months – Breast milk/infant formula, can start giving strained or mashed fruits and vegetables, water or juice.
- 7 to 9 months - Breast milk/infant formula, a small amount of meat, cooked vegetables, soft fruits, etc, can be added to your baby's diet.
- 9 to 12 months – Apart from breast milk/formula, you can start giving your baby a little bit of mashed or finely chopped meat, fish, poultry, etc. But, be sure to cook the food and remove bones.
- After one year – Your baby should be eating a variety of foods including those that are considered more likely to cause allergies such as eggs, fish and peanuts. Your baby can also have cow's milk at this stage. You can breastfeed your baby for two years or even longer.
However, there are some foods your baby shouldn't have until he/she turns one. They are: Salt, sugar, honey, artificial sweeteners, tea or coffee, high-mercury fish, whole nuts, low-fat foods.