Friday, February 06, 2009

Health Tips for February 6

Health Tip: Wean Your Child From Breast-Feeding

When you feel the time is right to wean your baby from breast milk, the Nemours Foundation offers these suggestions to help make the process easier:

  • Substitute a bottle or cup at nursing time. Slightly older children can have a healthy snack or a cup as a substitute.
  • At the typical times that you'd nurse, schedule a special and fun activity instead.
  • Don't wear the same nursing clothes, and change rooms for the substitute activity.
  • Schedule the weaning for a time when your baby isn't dealing with other major changes, such as starting day care or teething.
  • Don't discourage your child if he or she begins a substitute habit -- such as sucking the thumb or carrying a stuffed animal. It's just your child's way of dealing with the change.

Health Tip: Feeding Your Baby

It's important for new parents to understand what and how often your baby needs to eat, and how that schedule should change as your baby matures.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers these guidelines to help plan your baby's feeding:

  • Babies who breast-feed typically need to be fed once every one to three hours.
  • Babies on a diet of formula need to be fed every two to four hours, as formula takes longer to digest.
  • You should never give a baby younger than 1 cow's milk, since it is difficult for an infant to digest.
  • Don't attempt to give baby any solid food until at least 4 months of age, preferably 6 months of age.
  • Begin introducing solid foods between 6 months and 12 months of age, starting with pureed or mashed foods, and graduating to more solid foods.
  • Introduce new foods one at a time, and monitor closely for signs of allergic reaction. New foods should be introduced only when an infant is hungry.

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