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Making appropriate food choices for your baby during the first year of life is very important. More growth occurs during the first year than at any other time in your child's life. What a baby eats as an infant strongly affects his/her long-term body weight, health, metabolic programming, immune system, and overall aging later in life.
Many experts recommend breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for the first 6 months of life. It is also recommended that breastfeeding be continued even after you have added solid foods to your baby’s diet until your baby is 12months old. Breast milk is the optimal nutrient mix for infants. It’s full of good stuff like antibodies, antimicrobial factors, enzymes, and anti-inflammatory factors along with fatty acids (which promote optimal brain development).
However, there are some circumstances where exclusive breastfeeding may not be practicable, for example, you might not be able to breastfeed if you have a health problem, or are taking particular medications. In such situations, it is advisable you place your baby on infant formula diet. Infant formula also called infant milk or baby milk is a manufactured food designed and marketed for feeding to babies and infants under 12 months of age, usually prepared for bottle-feeding or cup-feeding from powder (mixed with water) or liquid (with or without additional water). Some good examples include Aptamil First Infant Milk and SMA PRO 1 First Infant Milk which are usually fortified with necessary nutrients like Iron and can serve as good substitutes to breast milk in situations where it is difficult to breastfeed your baby. These are very common among working class Mums who have resumed work after the first 6 months of putting to bed.
Weaning Your Baby from Breast-Milk
Infant formula can also be used when you want to wean your baby gradually from breast milk and introduce new foods to them. However, it is important you check if your baby is ready for solid food. Signs a baby may be ready to start solid foods include sitting up with minimal support, demonstrating good head control, reaching for food off other family members' plates, or refusing a bottle or breast by turning away. Most people in the medical community agree the best time to start your baby on solid foods is around 6 months old.
Other things to consider before starting your baby on new foods. These include: