When it comes to feeding your baby, everybody seems to have an opinion, from your mother-in-law to your partner to perfect strangers who peek and coo at your baby. Mixed in with the valuable information are lots of myths and misconceptions. Here are what experts in infant nutrition consider the most important facts for new parents to keep in mind.
Providing good nutrition really does make a difference in your baby’s development.
Specific nutrients fuel the proper growth of everything from muscles and bones to brainpower, vision, blood circulation, immune function, and more. And because your baby grows so rapidly in the first year of life, his nutrient needs per pound of body weight are proportionally higher than at any other time in life.
Newborns need fat to fuel their rapid growth and brain development.
DHA is a type of Omega-3 fat. From birth to your baby’s first birthday, his brain will have more than doubled in size. He needs a good supply of fats to support that growth. Your baby’s brain contains Omega-3 fat and most of that fat is DHA, an important building block of his rapidly developing brain.
Your baby gets DHA from the foods you eat when you’re breastfeeding. But the amount of DHA your baby gets depends on how much is in your diet. To increase the amount of DHA your baby gets from your diet, try adding more fatty fish—such as salmon or Atlantic mackerel. You might also want to talk to your doctor about a DHA supplement.
If you’re using formula, choose DHA-enriched nutrition. DHA-enriched infant formulas are an easy way to give your baby DHA. In fact, 9 out of 10 doctors who would feed infant formula to their own children would use a DHA-enriched formula. It is a practical way to support your baby’s brain development during his first year.
Learn more at WhyDHA.ca
Your baby’s doctor may recommend a Vitamin D supplement for your baby.
There is no question that breast milk provides the best nutrition for your baby.
However, the vitamin D content of breast milk may not be high enough to meet your baby’s needs. That’s why the Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, Health Canada and the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada recommend that all breastfed, healthy term infants in Canada receive a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.
Learn more at Enfamil.ca/d-vi-sol.
Yes, it’s exhausting for you, but newborns need to feed often.
A newborn’s stomach is small and can only take in so much at one feeding. Plus, the first weeks are a period of incredible growth, requiring a lot of energy. As a result, breast-fed newborns typically nurse every two to three hours, and formula feeders typically eat every three to four hours. As your baby gets bigger, he will eat more. At a typical feeding, a 2-month-old takes 4 to 5 ounces of breast milk or formula, and a 4-month-old takes 5 to 6 ounces, for a daily total of about 25 to 30 ounces by 4 months. These amounts vary from baby to baby.
You can use clues to make sure your baby is getting enough breast milk or formula.
During the first month, about six or more wet diapers and three to four bowel movements a day are good signs that your baby is getting enough nourishment. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re worried about your baby not getting enough nutrition. Your baby’s doctor will routinely monitor his weight and growth, which are good measures of whether he’s getting enough to eat. Along with you, a doctor can also track cognitive, motor, communication, and social milestones to make sure your baby developing well.
Take care of yourself along with your baby.
If you are breast-feeding, you are still eating for two, and the smaller of you won’t be shy about stealing the bigger one’s nutrients. Eat healthy, and get plenty of iron, calcium, and DHA. If you choose formula for your baby, it’s still important that you have a healthy diet so you can stay at your best—with plenty of energy to nurture your baby in her amazing development.
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