It is exiting yet nerve wrecking when your precious little one finally arrive in your arms. You can read all the parenting guide book to get yourself prepared as much as you can but the real deal awaits you when you bring your baby home. That’s when the true test of parenthood begins.
Here’s a few frequently asked question by my patients’ parent as to what to expect regarding their newborn/infant first year of nutrition problem/needs.
1. How do I know my baby is getting enough ?
Well, the first few days your baby’s stomach really can hold 5-15 ml of breast milk or formula. Slowly it will stretch out and increasing the volume they can tolerate. One way to know is adequate wet diaper and soiled diaper. Breastfeeding babies should have at least 2-3 soiled (yellow seedy poop) and 8-10 wet diapers daily. Another sign of baby is getting enough is good weight gain, if your baby is gaining 1.5-2.0 pounds per month, that’s a good sign he/she is receiving enough from breast feeding or formula. If you have a premature babies, his/her nutrition requirement will be higher than a normal healthy term baby and are expecting to grow a minimum of 2.2-2.5 pounds per month.
If you are still worried, go to the doctor’s office in between well baby visit for weight check. There’s also birth center that does weight check for infant as well.
If you have time, read nutrition for infant 0-6 months article I’ve written earlier.
Every parent should familiarize themselves with an age appropriate growth chart. This can help you keep track of how their growth is overtime. You can go to infant chart website to monitor growth for infants and children ages 0 to 2 years and 2-20 years of age in the U.S. The website also included preterm baby’s growth chart, and a Chinese babies growth chart as well (Historically, Asian babies tend to be smaller in size).
2. My baby has bloody diarrhea ! What do I do ?
This could means several things, intestinal irritation, intolerance of breast milk/formula, and/or allergies. Please call your child’s pediatrician office right away. In the meantime while waiting for your doctor’s call back, continue to offer breast milk to prevent dehydration. Pedialyte also is appropriate at this time. You can try switching to a hypoallergenic formula (Nutramigen(R), Alimentum (R), Pregestimil (R), Gerber(R) Extensive HA) and consult a doctor for next step.
3. My baby is constipated, HELP !
Most breastfed infant seldom get constipated before solids food are introduced. But, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. When babies goes 3 days without a bowel movement, you can start some prune juice (15 ml juice mix with 15 ml water) and give it to your baby twice daily. You can also do warm bath and gentle belly massage to stimulate the bowel movement. If constipation doesn’t resolve in 1-2 days, call the doctor !
4. When should I stop feeding baby during the night?
Breast milk is easily digested therefore your baby will get hungry much faster compared to formula fed babies. It is best to continue feeding your baby on demand until adequate solids intake is achieved, usually between 8-10 months of age when sleeping through the night is possible. However, breastfed babies might still wake up in the middle of the night craving for comfort nursing, it will be your decision, whether you wanted to continue offer a bottle or breast. One thing to remember is that they are able to consume enough solids food during the day to meet their energy needs and doesn’t need the 1-2 feedings at night as it was before.
5. Can I drink coffee or alcohol when I’m breastfeeding ?
Moderate amount of coffee (1-2 cups) is usually acceptable while you are breastfeeding. If you are expecting to go to a social events and would like to have more than a few sips of wine/beer. Feed your baby before hand or pump and completely empty both breast before drinking alcohol. Wait for 3 hours after before the next feeding after alcohol consumption. Only one serving is recommended (5 ounce of wine, 12 oz beer, 1.5 oz of spirits).
6. When should I introduce solids ?
Technically by 6 months of age or 6 months of corrected age if you have a premature babies. Babies have to be able to sit up without neck support, showing signs of interest in food, open mouth wide when seeing a spoon.
7. What is an ideal first food ?
There’s none. You can choose infant cereal (rice, oatmeal, barley), puree vegetables (avocado, peas, carrots, green beans, sweet potato, squash), puree fruits (peaches, pears, prunes, banana, applesauce),puree meats/beans. It is your choice and what your family prefers. Just remember to introduce one food at a time, wait for 2-3 days before the next new food is being introduced. The key is to continue introduce different variety and flavors and will be more adventurous in trying new foods later on.
8. Homemade purees vs Commercially prepared
All of us know what home made food is the best. But there’s a large majority of parents that didn’t have the time or luxury to obtain fresh/ organic produce to make home made foods for their little one. Just be careful that fresh produce and some roots vegetables such as spinach, green beans, squash, beets and carrots may contains large amount of nitrates, which can leads to anemia. So, it is best to buy commercially prepared ones for those food items as food manufacturer does test of nitrates in baby’s food.
9. Is eggs, nuts, dairy, soy, fish safe to introduce during first year?
The latest research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2013 have indicated early introduction to allergenic foods are actually beneficial to prevent food allergies later on. Unless your family has a history of food allergies, then it is unnecessary to avoid introducing eggs and/or peanut butter containing foods to infant starting at 6 months of age given appropriate texture is provided. It is still not safe to provide large chunks, hard to chew food during the early introduction of solids food.