Baby Care & Child Health Problems

Part II
CHILD HEALTH PROBLEMS

 

I
Baby Feeding

The right start can help your baby develop a lifetime of healthy eating habits. The first year of a baby is very crucial as it is all about development, nutrition, exploration, sharing and learning. Feeding your baby is all the more an adventure for a mother. While feeding, breast milk is the best food for your newborn for the first six months of his/her life as it includes the right amount and quality of nutrients to suit the baby's first food needs. Breast milk contains antibodies and other immune factors that help your baby prevent and fight off illness better. Though breast milk is the best food for your baby, it does not meet all the baby's nutritional requirements.

As far as feeding your baby with milk is concerned, cow milk-based infant formula milk is the next best choice. At six months, it is advisable to introduce your baby to other foods. In fact, your baby will indicate you when he is ready to take on other foods. These include your baby will start feeling hungry frequently, he/ she is able to sit up without support, shows interest in food when others are eating, and lets you know that he does not require more food by leaning back or turning his head away. This chapter of baby care deals with introducing your baby to formula milk, tips on bottle feeding, and sanitizing those bottles. It also covers how to choose nipples and bottles and problems related to feeding your baby.

Different ways of baby feeding

1. Food Guide for Babies

Anxiety over feeding your newborn can drive you into frenzy! Most new parents are often worried about how often and how much they should feed their little ones. What more, contradictory advices from friends and folks like feed your baby when hungry or feed your newborns after every two hours can make you feel quite helpless? Coming up with the right feeding chart for your baby can be quite an accomplishment. Babies are highly erratic and vary from each other in more ways than one. So what works for one baby may not work for the other. This surmounts the confusion for the parents who are left unsure about the right feeding chart for their babies and which feeding plan to follow.

Here is a complete food guide for your little one. This chart is meant to be a rough guideline on what and how much to feed your baby from birth to 12 months.

From Birth – 4 Months

A newborn baby's stomach is roughly the size of a grape and requires very little food in the beginning. During this stage of infancy, a baby turns towards nipple for sustenance.

Tips to Feed

 The best recommended food during this stage is mother's milk or formula food. As your baby's digestive tract is still developing, solid food is a strict no-no. Also, avoid feeding your baby on cow's milk before 12 months.

 During this stage, your baby needs to be nursed more frequently if put on breast-feeding. Since breast milk digests easier than formula milk, your baby is likely to get hungry faster. A one month old baby needs to be breastfed for seven to nine times a day. As they grow old, the newborn need to be nursed less frequently. While some babies may wail for food after every one hour, others may go for a 2 to 3 hours gap between each feeding.

From 4 – 6 Months

This is the stage when your baby shows signs of development. Apart from significant changes in relation to growth and other vital changes, your baby will show a considerable rise in his appetite too.

Tips to Feed

 During this stage, you can introduce your baby to semi-liquid, iron fortified food, such as rice cereal or other grains cereal like oats or barley, apart from feeding him/her on breast milk or formula food.

 You can start with giving your baby 1 tsp of dry rice cereal mixed with 4 to 5 tsp of breast milk or formula food. Keep the consistency light in the beginning and gradually thicken it, as the baby grows used to it. You can also increase the feeding duration to two once your baby grows fond of the food. In case your baby refuses to take in the cereal at first attempt, try again after a few days.

From 6 – 8 Months

This is the ideal stage to introduce your baby to solid food. You can continue to breast feed or formula feed your baby. However at this stage, you can add other food supplements like fruits and vegetables to his/her diet.

Tips to Feed

 You can introduce your baby to pureed or strained fruits and vegetables like banana, peaches, pears, carrot, potato, avocado, squash, etc.

 You can increase the quantity of cereals to 3 to 9 tbsps in 2-3 feedings, during this stage. For fruits and vegetables, you can start with one tsp fruit and slowly increase it to ¼ to ½ cup in 2-3 feedings. Also, while introducing new foods to your baby, make sure to start with a single variety and wait for three days to ensure that your baby is not allergic to that particular variety of food.

From 8 – 10 Months

At this age, a baby shows appetite for solid food and other finger foods. You can continue to breast feed your baby along with feeding him/her on other essential food items.

Tips to Feed

 You can start with small amounts of soft pasteurised cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, cereals like rice, barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals, mashed fruits and vegetables, finger foods like small pieces of ripe banana, well-cooked spiral pasta, crackers, small amounts of protein like egg, pureed meats, poultry, and boneless fish, mashed beans with soft skins, such as lentils, split peas, black beans and non-citrus juices like apples or pears.

 Start out by feeding your baby with ¼ to 1/3 cup daily. For cereals, you can opt for ¼ to ½ cup iron-fortified cereal daily. The fruits and vegetables should be kept to an amount of ¼ to ½ cup every day. You can give 3 to 4 tbsps of juice to your baby.

From 10 – 12 Months

This is the time by which your baby's teeth appear and he/she can swallow food more easily. Tips to Feed

 During this time you can introduce bite-sized, soft-cooked vegetables, such as peas and carrots to his/her diet. You can also introduce him/her to tastier combo meals like macaroni and cheese.

 You can increase the quantity by ¼ to ½ cup combo foods, ¼ to ½ cup iron-fortified cereal, ¼ to ½ cup fruits and ¼ to ½ cup protein foods.

Baby in different stages of growth

2. Feeding Problems

If you are seriously bothered with your little one throwing up or gagging every time you feed him/her, reading this article will surely help. Feeding problems is very common among babies, although it might trigger panic button in mums at times. Choking while eating or refusing to eat are some of the characteristic plights of baby feeding woes. Feeding is the ultimate bonding experience for a mother and her baby. So, every time your baby refuses to be nursed or eat, or puke and poop after meals, it is likely for you to curl your brows with worry. Feeding problems in babies can lead to gastro-esophageal reflux, gastroenteritis or dehydration. Proper nutrition and suitable feeding techniques can allay your problems to a certain extent. Understanding what leads to feeding problems can help to ease out your stress and take an action. Here are some common feeding problems and ways to deal with them.

Spitting Up

Most mothers are often troubled with their babies spitting up every time they are fed or nursed. This is one common problem with babies since they cannot sit straight during and after feeds. As the sphincter that separates the esophagus and stomach is still immature, it becomes difficult for the babies to keep their food in place and thus it runs up the mouth or nose each time after they are fed. It generally worsens if a baby eats too fast or sucks in wind. However, this problem is likely to fade away by the seventh month.

Tips to Manage

 You can cut down spitting up of food by feeding your baby before he/she is extremely hungry, making him sit upright after every feed, burping him for three to four times, and checking the flow of your feeding bottle.

 Spitting up can sometimes lead to gastro esophageal reflux that might need medical help. In such a case consult a pediatrician.

Throwing Up

Your baby may often throw up after eating, which isn't a very normal sign. Vomiting after feeding can be the outcome of acute viral gastroenteritis, infections, ear or even urinary tract infections. Forceful throwing up of food can also be the result of blockage of the stomach outlet. Vomiting after feeding should not be treated very lightly, since it can be indicative of serious health disorders in your baby like meningitis, intestinal blockage, and even appendicitis.

Tips to Manage

 A baby suffering from gastroenteritis might throw up very frequently after feeds. The best way to deal with it is to keep him/her on fluids, so that he/she doesn't get dehydrated. It is helpful to give him/her smaller amounts more frequently than larger amounts given at once.

 If your child has abdominal pain, is unable to swallow and keep fluids, has high fever, is lethargic or acting extremely ill, vomits for more than 12 hours, vomits blood or green material (bile), or is unable to urinate, he/she should be immediately rushed to the doctor without any delay.

Overfeeding

Overfeeding is another common feeding problem among babies. Most parents tend to feed their babies every time they cry, or give them a bottle to distract them even if they aren't hungry. Overfeeding can lead to spitting up and diarrhoea and can also lead to obesity in the longer run.

Tips to Manage

 Do not try to feed your child every time he/she cries. At times, you can try to distract his/her mind with toys and other things.

Underfeeding

Some babies fuss a lot while feeding. Result? Underfed babies. Some babies tend to fidget while eating or have difficulty in swallowing or sucking. Improper feeding techniques or poorly prepared formula milk that has lumps can cause the baby to spit up. Also, abusive and irresponsible parents may sometimes deliberately withhold food from their little ones leading to hungry, underdeveloped babies.

Tips to Manage

 It is important to know which formula milk to pick and how to prepare it as per your baby's convenience.

 If your baby is undernourished and underweight, medical intervention might be required to resolve this problem

Underfeeding in babies

Dehydration

Dehydration is one of the most serious complications that might occur as a result of poor intake of fluids or breast milk in babies. A dehydrated child can show symptoms of dry mouth, less active and playful, sleepy and lethargic, cry without tears, less urination. Severe dehydration can cause the concentration of salt in the blood to drop or rise significantly, and at times, lead to seizure and cerebral hemorrhage.

Tips to Manage

 Dehydration can be successfully dealt with by feeding your baby on fluids and electrolytes, such as sodium and chloride.

 If the condition is severe, intravenous fluids may be needed. In such a case, it is better to consult the doctor.

Always Hungry

Your little one may always appear hungry, no matter how frequently fed. If your baby appears to be hungry despite of frequent feedings, he may have difficulty latching on properly. It could be also be the result of insufficient milk production or even a sore mouth.

Tips to Manage

 Learn how to breast feed properly. You can talk to your doctor if your child has problems latching on. Frequent feedings, pumping and even drinking enough fluids may help in increasing the milk supply.

 Look for small white patches or sores in and around your baby's mouth. Consult a doctor in case your child has a sore mouth.

Sleeping Soon after Meals

It is normal for your baby to fall asleep soon after feeds. Also if your baby fails to latch on properly while feeding, he/she might fall asleep.

Tips to Manage

You can check out with your doctor to make sure there are no other severe complications involved. However, if your baby is unable to latch on properly, you can release the suction and reposition your child again.

Give frequent feeds to your baby so the baby does not remain hungry.

Passing Motion

If your baby passes motion every time he/she is fed then this could be the result of lactose intolerance or some other allergy.

Tips to Manage

 It's better to seek advice from a doctor in case your baby is suffering from allergies. Babies suffering from lactose intolerance can benefit by switching over to soy formula milk.

 If the doctor is not able to detect any of the above causes then wait for a few days and see if the situation changes with time.

3. Transition to Bottle-Feeding

Making your baby shift from breast-feeding to bottle might be a tedious task. Almost all the parents face the problem ensuring a smooth transition pertaining to this. Babies who are breastfed find it very difficult to digest a sudden change in the schedule. They may refuse the bottle when introduced to them for the first time. It is very difficult to make babies get used to something, and when they get used to something, it becomes very difficult to make them shift to another schedule. It may take a long time for you to make your baby get used to the bottle. You should understand the fact that your baby was used to your warmness and coziness, and it will be a bit difficult for them to get introduced to a totally different pattern or technique of feeding. You need to have some patience and accept the fact that this process will take some time.

Be Patient

Do not hurry, be patient and keep the process of shifting your baby from breast-feeding to bottle-feeding a bit slow. It is better to wait a bit before you introduce the bottle to your kid. There is a difference in nursing and having milk from a bottle. Therefore, the baby might reject the bottle when you introduce it for the first time. It is advisable to apply the bottle rule at the third or the eighth week.

Maintain Consistency

Babies don't like changes and even if there are any changes they don't get used to the change very soon. So, it is better to keep everything same even during bottle feeding. You can boil the bottle nipple to body temperature; this will give a same feel to the baby. Give breast milk in bottle for the first time, if that's what the baby is used to. If you are feeding some formula, warm it up to the body temperature.

Calm and Cozy Affair

It is a common practice to bottle feed in a peaceful and quiet place and time. Another thing that can make bottle feeding easier is to have a body contact that will be a mimic for breast-feeding. Sometimes, it is advisable to take tour baby to a quite place and just be with them. This cozy and calm way of feeding should be applied at times to make the process easy. It also will increase the bonding between the baby and the mother.

Bottle-feeding

Change of Guard

A baby who is used to nursing might find it a bit odd to find a bottle instead. It is better to let someone else start with bottle feeding for the first time. Go for a walk and let the father handle the baby for some time while feeding. Any other person can also take up the job for the first time.

Switch Arms

While breast-feeding you need to change sides while feeding and even during different feedings. Do the same when feeding with bottle. This will give the baby the same feel, and is also good for your back and the baby's neck and vision.

Don't Measure

When nursing, you don't know how much does your baby has consumed. However, while feeding the baby with a bottle you can measure the quantity. Don't try to measure as to how much your baby had? Let the baby decide as to how much milk he/she wants. If the baby is drinking more or less according to you, it is just normal.

Use the Right Nipple

The nipple that you use to feed your baby should be the right one with the correct hole in it. The nipple hole should not be too small or too big. If it is too small, it will make it difficult for the baby to suck the milk, leaving them with no option but to give up. On the other hand, if the hole is too big it might choke your baby as the flow will be too fast. Turn the bottle upside down before feeding. If milk flows instead of drips, the nipple hole is too large. If the baby tries too hard and gets tired during sucking, it means the hole is too small.

Make Them Burp

Babies may swallow a lot of air while drinking from a bottle. Make it a habit to burp your baby half way to make them get rid of the air swallowed and also to avoid stomach pain. To minimize air swallowing, tilt the bottle, allow the milk to fill the nipple and the air to rise to the bottom of the bottle.

Making Night Feeding Easier

To make night feeding easier, keep boiled water with right temperature in a thermos used only for the baby's water. Keep the water bottle and the formula you need in the bedroom, so that you can mix the formula real fast when the baby wakes up.

4. Choosing Formula Milk

Deciding on whether to breast-feed or formula feed your baby is one of the first major choices that you have to make as parents. Although nothing can equal the advantages of breast-feeding, it may not be possible for all women to nurse their little ones consistently. Comfort, lifestyle, and at times, medical concerns require us to make that big decision for our babies to switch from breast-feeding to formula feed. In case you have to go for formula food, it is important to consider that the baby's nutritional demands are adequately met. Breast milk has all the vital nutrients required for your baby. For all mothers who cannot breast feed or choose not to, infant formula is the next best nutritional alternative. But for this, it is important to educate yourself on the kind of formula food that is good for your baby. Formula food are usually based on the nutritional standard of human milk and are rich in proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water. They contain vital ingredients which match up to the rough proportions of human milk. Here are some formula foods for you to choose from. Scroll down to know how to choose formula milk for infants and watch him/her grow into a happy healthy child.

Premature Infant Food

This is made to suit the exclusive demands of preterm babies. Premature infant formula food is heavy on calories and other nutrients essential for the proper nourishment of premature and low-weight babies.

Cow Milk-Based Formula Food

This is the kind of formula food that an average baby should be on, if not breast fed. However, it is medically advised not to introduce your little ones to cow's milk before 12 months as your baby's digestive system is not suitably developed to handle the complex balance of nutrients contained in it.

Soya-Based Formula Food

For babies suffering from lactose intolerance or milk protein allergies, soya based formula milk is the best option. Replete with essential nutrients, this formula food is made of soya beans. However, this milk should be given to your babies only after medical consultation.

Gentle Formula Food

This kind of formula food is generally lower in lactose content than the general milk based formula food and is best recommended for babies with gas problems, or those babies who generally fuss over milk.

Boxes of formula milk

Lactose-Free Formula Food

Lactose free formula foods are the perfect pick for babies with zero tolerance for lactose based food. Some babies are born with lactose intolerance. In this case, lactose free formula food is the right choice.

Toddler Formula Food

This kind of formula food is best given to toddlers aged between 9-24 months. As this milk is specially designed for a specific age group, it is sated with all the necessary nutrition and prebiotics required for your growing child. It is easy to digest as well.

Elemental Formula Food

For babies suffering from milk and soya allergies, elemental formula food is the best source of nutrition. You can choose this to ensure that your baby has the best in nutrition as well as taste, and also to ensure that its health is not adversely affected.

5. Guide to Choose Nipples and Bottles

Do you wish to get a feeding bottle for your baby but have the least idea on what to buy? Feeding bottles can play a crucial role when it comes to feeding your child and parents are usually anxious to make the best pick. Choosing the right bottle can make the challenging work of feeding your little one a child's play. For some parents, figuring out their child's preference can be an easy bet, while for some, especially the new ones, it can be quite an uphill task. New mothers often struggle in choosing what is best for their baby. Contradiction of views in regard to feeding bottle can just add to their plight. With so many options to choose from, picking the right bottle for your baby is never an easy win. There are certain crucial things to be considered while buying your feeding bottle – the size, shape, material and types of the bottle and the nipple. Being aware of the little niceties about feeding bottle can actually bail you out from the gargantuan pressure of choosing your bottle. Here is a brief guide on how to choose the best nipples and bottles for infants.

The Bottle

 Finding Best Bottle
The first big challenge is always to find out the right kind of bottle for your baby. You will find a great variety of bottles available in the market ranging from the basic ones to anti-colic bottles, sterilizer bottles, disposable bottles, and glass-feeding ones. Basic feeding bottles are easy on your pocket and easy to maintain. Sterilizer bottles and glass bottles, though little expensive, are a healthier option to go for. Anti-colic bottles are the best bet for babies who suffer with heavy and queasy stomach.

 Size Matters
The next important thing to take into account is the size of the bottle. The appetite of a baby usually varies with age. While a newborn may need a smaller bottle, the slightly older ones may want a bigger size. However, it's wise to go for a bigger bottle as your baby will need more food per meal, as he/she gradually grows up. Never try to fill the bottle all the way up from the beginning. Also, it is advisable to go for bottles that have colourful, easy-to-read measurements on them rather than the colourless ones as they are difficult to read once the bottle is filled.

 Glass versus Plastic
Are you still undecided on whether to opt for a glass bottle or a plastic one for your little one? The basic problem with glass bottles is that they are heavy, expensive and cumbersome in comparison to the light weight, unbreakable, chic looking and more economical plastic bottles. But think twice before picking your bottle! Recent study reveals that the plastic found in baby bottles can cause potentially harmful damages to your child. In case you still wish to go for plastic bottles, it is best recommended to go for any bottle that has “#7” recycling symbol or “PC” on the bottom. Also, discard any bottles that look scratched and cloudy.

 Shape of the Bottle
If your baby suffers from post-meal fussiness, the shape of the bottle is what you should concentrate on while buying your bottle. Some babies ingest more air while feeding that can cause tummy discomforts. In such cases, it is advisable to opt for bottles with an air vent system. Bottles with unusual shapes, such as the angular shaped bottles prevent air from entering into baby's stomach, thereby reducing all discomforts.

 Drop-in Bottle Liners
If you are much terrorised with the thought of washing and sterilizing the bottle each time your baby feeds, check out for the drop-in bottle liners. These bendable plastic bags easily fit inside the feeding bottles and are disposable. This reduces your chore to just cleaning the nipple and rinsing the other parts. Also, these drop-in bottle liners allow lesser air into the bottle making them safe for babies who suffer due to wind. A drop-in bottle does not contain harmful chemicals and is safe for your babies.

The Nipple

 Shape of the Nipple
While deciding on your bottle, stress should be laid on finding the right shaped nipple for your baby. The choice varies from- traditional, orthodontic, or flat-topped nipples. You need to understand your child's comfort level. Orthodontic nipples are shaped to support your child's palate and gums. If the baby had been weaned earlier, he/she would prefer a fuller sized nipple against the flat artificial ones. In that case, it is advisable to opt for flat topped nipples that resemble the shape of a mother's breast.

 Choosing the Right Flow
You should always check the speed of the fluid coming out of the nipple before picking your bottle. Most brands sell nipples designed for slow or fast flow. Nearly all newborns need a slower nipple in the beginning. Make sure that you don't choke your little one with excess inflow of food. For growing babies, however, you need a faster nipple with a wide hole for convenient sucking.

 Material for the Nipple
There are plenty of options available in the market when choosing for nipple- latex, silicone, rubber. Latex nipples are soft and wear out easily. While picking up the nipples, always go for the silicone ones over the dark-coloured latex nipples. They don't pick up smell or taste and aren't potential carriers of allergies too. Also silicone nipples are hard to chew, thereby making them a safe option for your precious little ones.

6. Sanitising Baby Bottles

Babies are quite vulnerable to viruses, bacteria and parasitic infections. These infections can lead to any mild attack of thrush to the more serious conditions of gastroenteritis. So to save your babies from these infections, it is important to keep them in a clean and healthy environment. One of the very important items that need utmost care is your baby's feeding bottle. Baby's bottle should be properly sanitised. Some people think that a bottle just bought from the store is clean, so what is the need of sanitising it. The newly bought bottles are actually not clean. The bottles and nipples are coated with many chemicals, while they were being manufactured. Thereafter, they are packaged by people, sent to stores and then stocked on the shelves by people, thus travelling through many hands. Another important reason for which you should sterilize the bottles is bacteria. Have you ever forgotten the bottle in the diaper bag? Have you ever left the bottle unwashed for a certain time period to wash it later? Bacteria can grow in these bottles very easily, due to the milk particles left in the bottle, the warmth inside the bottle, and the dampness inside. So, to keep away these bacteria and infection from affecting your kid, it is advisable to sterilize the bottles properly. Sterilizing the bottles will keep them germ-free and fresh, and will save your baby from any risk of getting infected.

Tips to Sanitise Baby's Bottles

 Boiling
One of the simplest ways to sanitise the bottle and keep it germ free is by boiling it. All the bottle-feeding equipments should be boiled for, at least, 10 minutes. The utensil you use should be for this purpose specifically. All you need to do is to wash the baby's bottle first and then, place it in a pan of boiling water. One precaution that needs to be taken is that the rubber nipple of the bottle should be replaced on a timely basis, as it can get sticky due to constant heat exposure.

    You can even sterilize the bottles and nipples by placing them at the bottom of a deep pot and covering it with water. Place a lid on the pot and bring it to boiling point. The bottle should be allowed to simmer for about 20 minutes before removal and then, put it for drying on a clean towel. If it is a glass bottle, place a wash cloth underneath it, in the pot, to prevent breakage.

 Sterilising in Microwave
These days, there are bottles available that are microwave resistant. These bottles can be sterilized in the microwave on their own. It just takes 90 seconds to sterilize a bottle. One precaution to be taken while putting the bottle inside the microwave is that it should not be sealed, as pressure might build inside during the heating process.

Different ways of sanitising bottles

 Bottle Sanitisers
There are many bottle sanitisers available in the market that are designed by using the method of steam sterilization. In this method, the bottle and the rubber nipple should be kept in the upside down manner. Precaution should be taken while opening the lid of the steamer, as the insides might get pretty hot. This entire process takes 15 minutes for proper sanitisation of the bottles.

 Cold Water Sterilizing
Another method of sanitising baby's bottles is the cold water sterilising. This method uses non-toxic, chlorine free solutions or tablets for sanitising the bottles. These tablets are so safe that they can be applied on the skin or even swallowed without any harmful effects.

 In Dishwasher
Select the hottest cycle on your dishwasher and choose the drying option. The heat generated in the process acts like a sterilizer. If your dishwasher does not have an upper rack with its own water source just below, choose a different option for cleaning baby bottles.

 Stove Top Sterilizer
You can use a stove top sterilizer. It uses a rack to hold the bottles and other equipments and proceed with the sterilizing process. Do not leave the sterilized bottle for a long time in your working place as it may again get contaminated.

 Electric Sterilizer
An electric sterilizer is specifically designed to hold more than one bottle. It can also be carried out while travelling, this adds to its benefit.

7. Weaning to Solid Foods

Your baby cannot derive all the nutrition from milk all his/her life. After 4-6 months of exclusive milk-feed, the baby needs to be introduced to solid foods. It is a great experience for the new mother to cook tiny, special meals for her little one. But after spending hours in the kitchen slicing, dicing, sautéing and sweating, you prepare a nutritionally balanced, delicious delight only to realise that your baby is not enjoying it. While eating solid food is a new experience for your toddler, he/ she require time to get used to the various colours, textures and tastes of new food. As toddlers crave consistency and familiarity, most of them do not try on new foods unless you serve them numerous times. The best way to provide them with wide variety of healthful foods is to serve them in a positive, relaxed environment so that everyone can enjoy the meal. Give them food when they are likely to be hungry so that they can dig in immediately with whatever they are served.

Tips to Feed Picky Eaters

 Introduce a variety of healthy food to your baby at each meal. While offering a new food, simply add to your baby's highchair table making a fuss about it. Ensure that the food is age-appropriate.

 Start introducing new foods one at a time and in small amounts. Do not offer an entire meal of unfamiliar foods. Instead, offer the standards with something new.

 While serving your baby or toddler, always use toddler-size portions. For example, a serving size of bread for a 1-year old is only ¼ slice. Serve only 2 tablespoons of rice, potatoes or pasta as the serving size.

 Some kids have more sensitive palates than others and hence, they do not like texture, colour or taste of some foods. With such toddlers, try to make food that looks creative and tempting when served so that they are naturally attracted towards it.

 For toddlers that are picky eaters, food should contain the desired nutritional value your baby requires. You can add some wheat germ or tune to his/ her macaroni and some little chunks of fruit to their favourite cereal.

Baby surrounded by many foods

 Avoid serving sugary foods just for the sake of fulfilling his/her diet. Remember that the food your serve should develop his sense of culinary adventure and not his sweet tooth.

 Keep the distractions at the dinning table at the minimum. If you have other kids running round the table or a cartoon is beckoning in the background; your baby is bound to lose interest in the food being served. Try making your baby's meals relaxed and quiet.

8. Healthy Diet for Toddlers

If you have seen the movie, Baby's Day Out, you would know it is not at all easy to handle kids. Ask the mothers how difficult it gets for them to feed their child, especially if their kid is a toddler. Babies grow at lightning speed, almost 3 inches every 3 months, but after a year or so they grow only 2 to 5 inches a year. While growth process slows down, nutrition remains the top priority. This is also the time when the kids are learning to eat and drink food other than bottle milk. This is the period of transition for the kids and, hence they require more attention with regard to their diet. If they get adequate intake of proteins, iron, vitamins and carbohydrates now, they will grow up to be a healthy boy or a girl. Even a little negligence at this stage will cost the kids their entire life. So it becomes necessary for the parents to plan out a proper food intake for their babies so that they can get the required amount of nutrition on a daily basis.

Nutritional Foods for Toddlers

 Chocolate Milk
Milk is an important part of a kid's diet. Milk provides calcium and vitamin D to build strong bones. Children will gulp down plain milk without any complain, but it is better to add in some flavour to make it appealing and not boring. Why chocolate? Because there is a popular belief that chocolate does not hinder calcium absorption.

 Baked Potatoes
Baked potatoes are rich in potassium and fibre. It is any day better than greasy and oily fries. It is lower in fat than any other form of potatoes.

 Baby Carrots
For babies and toddlers, steam the carrots until soft and then cut them into small pieces and feed them.

 American Cheese
One slice of this cheese has about 125 milligram of bone building calcium. Children between 1 to 3 years need 500 ml a day while 4 to 8 years old need 800 ml a day.

 Fortified Cereals
Fortified cereals are another rich source of numerous vitamins and minerals, including iron and vitamin B, which build blood cells. There are two brands of cereals: ones with less sugar content and ones with normal sugar content. You can choose depending upon your baby's taste.

 Broccoli
Broccolis are rich in vitamin A and C and with every bite, your child will get healthier and stronger. Many kids like it raw or lightly steamed. You can use the vegetables in other dishes as well.

 Eggs
Eggs are packed with protein and vitamin D. They help in building muscles and provide calcium to the body. So an egg a day will complete your kid's diet requirement.

 Mixed Vegetables
Mixed vegetables include a combination of different vegetables with different vitamins and proteins which the body requires on a daily basis. Peas for e.g., provide proteins and foliate and vitamin B. Green beans on the other hand provide potassium. You can either serve them all together in a bowl or toss them all in a soup.

 Ketchup
Usually you might get worried with the fact that your kid eats everything with sauce. Let them continue eating ketchup as it contains a natural cancer fighting compound called lycopene.

 Kiwi Fruit
This fruit has more vitamin C than orange. It is rich in fibers and antioxidants that help protect the body's cells from getting damaged.

 Orange Juice
Out of all the natural juices, orange juice is the most nutritious. It contains lots of vitamin C, foliate and potassium. The calcium, fortified one is the best for kids who don't want to drink milk.

 Sweet Potatoes
Slice it into strips, use little oil and bake into fries which will be serving all the vitamin A that a kid requires in a day.

 Whole Wheat Bread
It is rich in fibre. Start with wheat bread first. When your kids transform into toddlers, get them used to whole wheat bread. Other such options may be brown rice, whole wheat muffins, etc.

 Tortillas
These are low in fat. Roll them up with ham or turkey, slice into wheels, cut them into wedges, and then bake to make low-fat chips. You can also top with chopped vegetables and melted cheese.

 Cantaloupe
It is one of the rare fruits containing both beta carotene and vitamin C. It is a great substitute for kids who are not vegetable eaters.

 Peanut Butter
Peanut butter has become very popular among kids. It is rich in protein and a good source of fiber. Spread on bread or thin with water to make a tasty dip for your toddler.

 Parmesan Cheese
Each serve of this grated cheese provide close to 10% of daily requirement of calcium. You can sprinkle it on top of pastas, pizzas, vegetables, salads and eggs.

 Yoghurt
Yoghurt is good for babies. Eight ounces of yoghurt provides around 250 to 450 milligrams of calcium. While purchasing, look for the ones that are low in fat. These beneficiary bacteria in yoghurt boost the health of your child's intestine.

Food for toddlers

 Porridge
Porridge is very light and healthy food as it contains both milk and cereals. You may begin with porridge prepared with suji (semolina) and milk. Later you may prepare it with ground rice, ragi, millet, oats, etc.

9. Feeding Schedule

A baby, who is between 7-9 months old, should be given semisolid and solid foods with milk feed. A schedule given below may provide an idea as to how and what kind of foods may be given.

Tips to Remember

 Be careful about the hygiene while preparing foods for the baby. The cooking and serving utensils should be thoroughly clean and you should wash your hands with soap and water before handling and preparing the food. Lack of hygiene may cause contamination of baby's food with germs causing diarrhea.

 The food for the baby should be cooked just before serving. In case of delay, the food may be stored for a few hours in a refrigerator.

 The half-eaten food or milk of baby should not be kept for later use as germs may grow in it and cause contamination.

 The intake of salt and sugar for baby should be minimum. Do not put extra fat, sugar or salt in baby's food as this may lead to blood pressure problems and obesity.

 Do not leave the baby alone while feeding because of the risk of choking. Do not give finger food in small size so that the baby may not swallow it the wrong way and choke.

FAQs

Q-1. How do I start weaning my baby?

Ans. You may start by giving a teaspoonful of rice water and gradually increase its quantity. At the same time, you may also introduce other liquid foods like lentil water, thin soup, fruit juice in very small quantities. This may gradually be replaced with semisolid mashed foods. Slowly you may skip one entire milk feed with one of these foods.

Q-2. When can I give water to my baby?

Ans. Breastfed babies do not require water while they are on exclusive breast feeds because the breast milk contains sufficient water. Once the process of weaning starts, they may be given water to drink. If the baby passes urine 6-9 times a day and the stools are soft then you may consider the baby's water intake to be adequate.

Q-3. My baby does not like to eat cereal or other semisolid foods with spoon. Can I give her such foods with milk in bottle?

Ans. Do not mix cereals or other solid foods to the milk in the baby's bottle. Given them separately with a bowl and a spoon. Feed the baby playfully and at a time when the baby is hungry. After a milk feed if you try to feed the baby, she is more likely to reject the spoon as her hunger is satisfied.

Q-4. How much milk should I give to my baby after he starts taking semisolid foods?

Ans. Milk is an important dietry requirement for meeting the baby's nutritional needs. The milk intake can be reduced once the child starts taking solid and semisolid foods. Between 9 to 12 months the baby may be given about 750 ml to 1 litre of milk till he is five years old.

Q-5. My baby has just begun the weaning process. Can I give her fruit juices?

Ans. Fruit juices are good source of vitamin C. You may begin by giving orange or sweet lime (mosambi) juice. To start with, offer just two teaspoons of juice diluted with equal amounts of boiled and cooled water. Gradually increase the amount of juice still diluted with water. Once baby can manage to drink 50-60 ml of diluted juice then start giving undiluted juice in small amounts. Do not warm up the fresh fruit juice before giving it to baby as the heating may destroy the vitamin C present in the juice.

Q-6. My baby always leaves some milk in the bottle. Should I force-feed her?

Ans. Do not force-feed your baby by insisting that she should finish all the milk left in the bottle. She might vomit out extra milk which she does not need. So keep a note and give her less milk in the bottle next time so that she can finish it.