Baby nutrition

Children’s Health

  7 Minutes

Birth to 4 months

The most natural nutrition for a newborn baby is its own mother’s milk, especially for the first six months. This is a well-known and accepted fact. Science shows that breastfed babies have fewer infections and hospitalisations than formula-fed infants. During breastfeeding, antibodies and other germ-fighting factors pass from a mother to her baby and strengthen the immune system. This helps lower a baby’s chances of getting many infections. Breastfeeding also may protect babies against allergies and asthma. Breastfed babies should be demand-fed with an interval of 1-3 hours between feeds and 8 – 12 feeds every 24hrs. They can pass several stools in a day, or they may pass a stool occasionally. This is normal. If you use disposable nappies, you want to have at least six heavy wet nappies a day, and if towel nappies are used, it’s 12-14 nappies a day. Then you know your baby is receiving enough milk in a day. If you are unsure, always consult your homeopathic doctor, paediatrician, clinic sister or midwife.

Tip: When breastfeeding, allow baby to drink for a maximum of three minutes then take the baby off the breast and burp him/her. Once the wind is out, present baby with the breast again. Let baby drink for three minutes and off again, burp and feed. Do this for the entire feed. This minimises any air that is naturally swallowed whilst feeding that could lead to tummy cramps or baby accidently vomiting all the milk up again when being winded, because now no wind is trapped in the tummy that can push the milk back up and out. This is especially effective in the first few months. Also let baby empty a breast first before moving the child to the other breast. This minimises mastitis too. For mom to make enough milk for their baby, a healthy diet needs to be followed and drinking extra water is most important. You can’t make milk without being well nourished and having enough water in the body. As an extra support, we recommend using Natura’s Alfalfa Tonic together with Bio-Strath.

What to do if you cannot breastfeed?

What to do if you cannot breastfeed?

There are many milk formulas on the market. Choose a formula which is easily digested by your baby. You will know that your baby is satisfied by the milk formula if the stools are regular, there is very little burping, bloating, no vomiting, and your baby has no mucous. You will know that the formula is adequate if your child is developing well and reaching all their milestones.

In the first 4 months milk feeds are sufficient with the occasional drink of boiled cooled water on very hot days.

Baby’s appetites differ. Allow for this by giving a little more or less milk at a feed. Generally speaking, it should not take longer than 20 minutes from beginning to the end of a feeding session.

4 Months to 6 months

At 4 months, a little stewed apples and pears or fresh ripe papaya can be given in between the milk feeds. Try to prepare the food you give your baby fresh, as frozen and reheated foods can cause a lot of digestive disturbances. Shop bought baby foods should only be used when necessary or when travelling.

Continue for approximately 4 weeks with a little fruit as a meal, once per day.

After 4-6 weeks of having one fruit meal a day, you can now start with one vegetable meal per day as well.

Do not give the fruit meal and the vegetable meal at the same time. Fruit digests much quicker and when consumed with other food can cause fermentation and bloating, leading to colic and cramps.

Babies with a big appetite can become impatient being fed from a spoon and react by screaming, which can turn mealtimes into nightmares. For these babies, allow them to suck and drink enough milk to satisfy their hunger a little and then start the spoon-feeding. By doing this, bad tantrums around mealtimes can be avoided.

The best vegetables for babies are: Butternut, potato, carrot, pumpkin, beetroot, sweet potato and gem squash. These are all root vegetables and within the pumpkin family. Avoid green, leafy vegetables including the cabbage family until the baby has some teeth. Cook the root vegetables and pumpkin well, mix with a little A.Vogel Herbamare seasoning and add a little unsalted butter if required. Brown rice can be very well cooked (45 minutes to an hour) and added to the mashed vegetables if your baby is very hungry.

Important: – When feeding solids, the baby needs to sit in a highchair upright to receive the meal to prevent choking. Never feed solid food when they are lying down, or when they are inattentive.

Your baby is now 6 months old and is having milk, one fruit meal per day and one vegetable meal per day. You can choose if you want to give the fruit or the vegetables in the morning or in the afternoon.

6 Months to 9 months

Most babies are ready to start their first grain at age 6 to 7 months.

The best grains to introduce your baby to are:

  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Millet
  • Mielie meal
  • Maltabella

Cook these grains until very soft and flavour with a little barley malt, sea salt, and unsalted butter. Do not cook the grains until they are thick and stodgy. Add enough water to allow the resulting porridge to be soft and creamy. You may add some formula milk to the porridge or breastmilk to cool the porridge and get the consistency just right for baby.

Avoid using baby cereals as they have been processed. Rather teach your child to enjoy natural, wholegrain porridges.

Your child is now 9 months old and is having milk, one fruit meal per day, one vegetable meal and one grain meal per day. Cooled boiled water can be given when desired.

Avoid using baby cereals as they have been processed

9 Months to 1 year

Most babies have a few teeth at 9 months of age. Nature signals the changing digestive powers by showing that your child can now chew! This allows them to digest proteins as well as other vegetables, fruits and grains with greater ease.

You can now add other fruits to your baby’s diet. Try stewed prunes, stewed peaches, fresh kiwi and very ripe banana and avocado pear. Always give fruit as a separate meal and one fruit at a time. Avoid giving your baby fruit juices – fruit is best eaten as a whole fruit, not as a drink. The concentrated fruit sugar in fruit juices can easily cause digestive disorders and tooth decay in babies. Commercial juices are flash heated to preserve the contents and thereby giving the product shelf life, which in turn causes the fruit to become quite acidic for the body.

You can now start adding green beans, peas or broccoli, and other vegetables to your baby’s meals. You could also chop a little free-range chicken or lamb into the vegetable stew. Start adding a little A.Vogel Herbamare Bouillon extract to enhance the flavour of the meal while adding valuable nutrients for good health. Season the vegetable/meat stew with a little unsalted butter.

If you wish to raise your child a vegetarian, you can add soya proteins to the vegetable meal. You can also choose to use well-cooked lentils and/or dried beans as well. Tofu is also easily digested and can be beneficial to your baby’s diet.

At this age, your baby will enjoy eating by themselves. You can give soft steamed carrots cut into chunky bites, or a piece of soft fruit. Choking is always a danger when they learn how to feed themselves. Do not give nuts or hard fruit, or a piece of meat which can easily cause them to choke.

Your baby is now 1 year old and is having milk, fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, butter and cooled boiled water.

Choking is always a danger when they learn how to feed themselves

A Few Do’s and Don’ts:

Do not make mealtimes a warzone. Food should be given at a set time, in a set place without emotional involvement. Your child must eat and enjoy the food. All parents become worried if a child has a small appetite. It is also true that children learn incredibly fast that food can be a manipulative tool to get control over someone or to get attention. Allow someone else to feed your child should they have a greater ability to get your child to eat. It’s not forever.

Do not feed your child titbits of biscuits and sweets and endless juices, and then wonder why they are not hungry at mealtimes. Too much eating is done on the run, with our children also following in this bad habit. Meals should be fed at set times, in a set place. This will overcome many problems encountered in the habits of little ones.

Avoid food becoming a pacifier or a reward to good behaviour. Food can be a treat, but never a reward.

Your child will flourish on plain foods which are freshly cooked or mashed and eaten in an atmosphere of peace and calm. Shouting or force should never be used to feed a child.

Stop thinking that you are depriving your child by not feeding them refined wheat products, sugar and other bad foods. You can offer your child no greater gift than good health and good habits set by a good example in the home. You are their greatest example. Be the example you wish your child to be.

Do not be too quick to feed your baby wheat, egg, and dairy products. It is a good idea to start these foods at 1-2 years of age. Wheat and dairy intolerances have been linked to stunted growth, mucous discharges, behaviour problems, asthma, eczema, and diarrhoea.

Most children will need some help with their digestion or appetite in their first year. Consult a homoeopathic doctor to help you address these common problems.

Bio-Strath should be given from birth onwards as an all-round tonic to your growing child. From birth, you can dip a dummy into the elixir for your baby, up to 3 times a day. Regular use of this product can ward off many calamities and illnesses. Read the article on the first 1,000 days of life, that is from the day of conception to the age of two, and how important good nutrition and iron specifically is for your child.

A.Vogel Urticalcin is essential in a growing child’s life. Calcium is the mineral of abundance to facilitate healthy blood, bones, and teeth. One tablet crushed and given twice a day is more than enough.

Remember, nothing is cast in stone. If your baby is a great drinker and a poor eater, accept it. If your baby is a small drinker and better eater, that could be his or her way. Your responsibility is to ensure the best food at every meal, big or small. Above all, enjoy the time you have with your baby. This experience for your little one is never to be repeated! And always rely on expert eyes to give you peace of mind of how your child is developing.

  Listen to the podcasts here | Baby Nutrition Series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3