Feeding babies is something that worries parents a lot, but it also causes a lot of controversy due to the countless opinions that are generated around it, where some specialists think that complementary feeding should be started at four months and others think that It must be from 6 months. We clear all your doubts and tell you what the feeding for babies 4 to 6 months.
My opinion and recommendation is the same as the WHO (World Health Organization) and UNICEF's that suggest exclusive breastfeeding up to six months (no water). From six months onwards, they continue along with complementary feeding, with breastfeeding their main food until 12 months. It can be continued up to 2 years or more, if the mother so decides.
Breast milk is considered the ideal food exclusively up to 6 months because it is produced by the mother herself and contains all the necessary nutrients for the proper growth and development of her child. It also provides innumerable benefits for both the child and the mother, and even the family, due to savings from an economic point of view.
Another important point is that breast milk is modified according to the baby's needs, which is why it is known as pre-colostrum (before birth), colostrum (from birth to the fourth or fifth day), intermediate or transition milk ( from the fifth to the fifteenth day) and the mature milk (from the 15 days onwards).
If you have opted for exclusive breastfeeding, you may not know very well how this should be. Actually the best way to feed your baby is on demand. What does this mean? That there should be no schedule, time, quantity, or place to breastfeed, that is, the baby breastfeeds when, how much, how and where he wants, since he is the only one who knows his nutritional needs.
Schedules or time should not be imposed. He asks for the breast, offers it to him, takes his food and releases it when he is satisfied. It can be fed frequently, since breast milk is digested quickly, in about 10 to 90 minutes, because the casein (beta-casein) it contains is easily digested and the clots it forms are soft, compared to cow's milk.
Our body is very wise and will produce the amount it needsalthough production never ends as long as the baby is sucking.
But the baby can receive another food before six months. You can be offered artificial formula, which is a product made from cow's milk with ingredients and nutrients that are the closest to human milk, but it will never replace breast milk, since its benefits are not comparable with it.
It can be used as the only food, in case the mother so decides or that for health reasons she cannot breastfeed; It can also be offered in conjunction with breastfeeding and this is what we call mixed breastfeeding. In this case, the ideal and healthiest thing for the baby is to offer breast milk first and then if necessary, offer the artificial formula.
The WHO (World Health Organization) in a report from 2001 strongly advocated breastfeeding over artificial formulas. and recommended only to use them in case of unusual circumstances.
Another question that many parents have is whether they should give the baby water so that it does not become dehydrated. It is not necessary because breast milk contains 88% water in its composition (it is the highest content), which covers the baby's water needs during the first six months of life. Ingesting water or other beverages in these first six months can put the baby at risk of gastrointestinal infections, such as gastroenteritis, colitis or other diseases.
Also water is a liquid that does not contain nutrients and the baby's gastric capacity is small, so he would feel satiated and would not be interested in breastfeeding or the bottle, which would space out feedings and lead to weight loss and poor nutrition.
The introduction of new foods to the diet of an infant before six months of age leads to a series of problems and pathologies in the child due to the following causes:
- The baby's digestive system is still immature to process and digest other foods other than breast milk and / or artificial milk, so there is a higher incidence of enteral pathologies: gastroenteritis, colitis, etc.
- The renal system is also immature, so the kidneys can be overloaded by the filtration of proteins or sodium and can lead to their collapse and later.
- Risks of food allergies and autoimmune pathologies.
- Greater risk of choking and drowning due to the presence of the extrusion reflex (the tongue automatically expels food from the mouth). They only know how to swallow milk by the swallowing reflex.
- And the lack of support of the trunk and head also increases the risk of choking.
To finish and, by way of conclusion, so that you have no doubts, we should highlight three important ideas in the feeding of children up to six months of age:
- Babies from 0 to 6 months should only receive exclusive breast milk, artificial formula or mixed feeding (breast milk and artificial formula) as food.
- Do not offer porridges, soups, juices, cereals or water.
- Do not offer tea or herbal infusions (they can cause poisoning and even death of the baby).
- Increased risk of obesity, poor nutrition and possible diabetes problems.
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