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A Complete Baby Feeding Guide

Baby care tips

Baby care tips

Most first time mothers struggle with how to best feed their babies, though they may know that breast milk supply adequate nutrition for the first six months they are not very sure how and when to introduce solid foods.

If you are breastfeeding your baby on demand and then breast milk should be adequate for at least six months. For a working mother who may not have the time to breast feed the baby during the day there are facilities these days which will help the mother to express the milk before going to work. The expressed milk must be kept in the fridge.

Breast feed your baby according to his or her needs reluctant or forced breast feeding is neither good for you or your baby. You might find that combining bottle feeding and breast feeding may work well for both the mother and the baby especially those mothers who have to go back to work before the baby turns six months.

Breast Feeding

  • Breast feeding is rewarding and nurturing to both mother and the baby.
  • It gives emotional bond between mother and baby.
  • Breast milk is very nutritious it comes with a natural balance which beats all formulas!
  • It protects the baby against all diseases to which you are immune.
  • Since breast milk has nutrients in correct proportions the baby will not grow fat as opposed to using the formulas.
  • Breast milk does not require any preparation, no warming bottles and it is always there.
  • The mother can express the milk and store it in the fridge if she has to go some where
  • The more you breast the more the milk produced
  • The first year the best and main food for the baby should be milk, breast and bottle formulas. Milk is easily digested.

Weaning your baby

Four to six months

Most babies by the fourth month are not getting enough just from milk. During this period they are ready to begin those first few mini- mouthfuls of mashed or pureed foods. Their nutritional requirement is also increasing and will soon progress to a mixed diet of carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins.

Your baby is ready for weaning when he seems

  • hungry you have increased the milk feed,
  • crying after a milk feed
  • wants feeding regularly
  • shows a real interest on what you are eating
  • picks up food and puts it in his mouth

During the early stages of weaning, solids are given in addition to normal feeds of breast or formula milk. As mixed feeding continues and as the baby gets used to eating solids, your baby will naturally cut down on the number of milk feeds, but milk should remain the important part of the child’s diet.

Weaning can be time consuming and the mother may get discouraged or frustrated in the beginning. During the first few days do not worry how much your baby actually takes in it is important for them to get used to the new tastes and textures before they actually enjoy it.

Start weaning gradually by introducing new foods at a time. Some children will take to it with ease and some will reject anything that does not come from the breast or the bottle. Your baby will still be getting enough nutrients from the milk until he is 6-7 months so do not worry!


If solid foods are introduced before 3 months the baby may be prone to allergies; diarrhea, rashes and tummy upsets. Be guided as well by any family history of allergies, eczema or asthma. Many studies have suggested that those babies fed on breast or formula milk for longer are less likely to develop allergies.

Baby’s first food (solids)

  • first foods are intended to introduce new taste rather than supplementation
  • It is still important at this stage to choose nutritious foods and that are easy to digest
  • Boil the food plain, do not add oils, fat, taste enhancers or salt
  • Pass the food through a sieve or puree it with a blender or a masher
  • The baby should be able to suck the food from the spoon until he is accustomed to different consistencies

Best foods at this time include

  • French beans, sugar snaps, green beans
  • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots
  • Pumpkin, butter nut, cucumber, zucchini
  • Spinach, pumpkin leaves, sukuma
  • Bananas, apples, pears
  • Apples, pears, mango

Cereals can be introduced at five months avoid wheat products during this period

  • Millet, sorghum, bulrush, amaranth, whole maize flour

The baby will still be getting plenty of fluids from the milk but solid foods may make him thirsty and it is good to introduce plain boiled water, no sugar or glucose added.

Foods to be avoided among infants

  • eggs, cow’s milk, meats
  • strawberries, tomatoes and citrus
  • sugary foods or drinks
  • nuts and seeds
  • Honey
  • Foods containing gluten eg wheat, oats, rye and barley
  • Fatty foods

Six to eight months old

At this age the baby will want to assert his independence in feeding himself. He will be trying to get food from your plate. His nutritional requirements is increasing he will need less milk and more solids. His weight gain will start to slow down a bit at this stage start to increase his solid meals to 3 in a day and start to wean him from using the bottle and introduce a cup or a beaker he will be able to sip drinks from a cup.

Breast feeding should continue and make sure that the food you are giving to the baby is balanced. It should contain carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, fats and vitamins.

At six months cow’s milk could be introduced and if the baby develops any allergies you may want to try goats, camels or soya milk.  Commercial weaning foods are available these days from the supermarkets but one should be very careful not to use this option on a daily basis if you must use them for your baby restrict it to emergencies or when you are travelling and you have no other option. These kinds of foods have been processed and in some cases preservatives is added lowering their nutritional value.

Start to introduce a beaker or a cup the baby can sip the milk or juice.

Breast feeding should be continued it is good for the baby and the mother too even if the milk is not a lot it is good for bonding purpose.

The food you give your baby at this stage should be balanced it should contain;

  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • proteins
  • fats like avocado
  • carbohydrates

The baby at this stage needs variety of good wholesome food of different tastes, textures and consistency. Make sure to use interesting colorful and bright utensils.

It is good to prepare fresh food for the baby every day and if you must prepare a lot in advance make sure you store it in air tight container in the fridge or freezer. Do not give your child food which more than 12 hours old unless it was kept in the fridge.

Shopping and preparing your baby’s food

  • Choose fresh foods that can be mashed or minced
  • Peel fruits and vegetables carefully get rid of any pips or strings
  • Trim off the fat off the chicken, fish or meat
  • Mince meat, fish, chicken or boiled eggs
  • Use fruit to sweeten the cereals

Eight to nine months

Babies are able to chew more and can handle lumpier food. The food can now be mashed using a fork to a lumpier and chunkier consistency. The food should now be chopped instead of mincing before cooking. Babies at this age would like to adventure into your plate, allow them so long as it has no spices and too much fat.

Foods to include;

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Rice
  • Pasta lean minced meat
  • Bread
  • Carrots apples avocado
  • Oats
  • Amaranth, millet, sorghum uji

Ten to twelve months

As the baby nears his first birthday, he will be able to eat from the family meal. If you choose to feed him from the family meal make sure that the food is chopped into manageable sizes. All meats can be introduced to his meal just make sure to trim all the fat off. It is important to introduce foods that he can pick up by himself this way the baby will learn to be independent sooner. Allow your baby to experiment by playing with his food but make sure that he eats enough.

Preparing baby’s food

You will require;

A blender or a mash or a sieve and a wooden spoon or a fork


  • Do not add salt or sugar to food
  • Do not add fat rather use milk to thin
  • It is best to steam the vegetables or cook lightly, add the vegetables when the other food is cooked and steam it for 3-5 minutes.
  • D not pre-cut vegetables or fruits and leave it in water for long before cooking.
  • Do not use stock cube or any other food taste enhancers, they are very high in salt, fats and preservative content.
  • Make fresh food every day but you must make in large quantities keep it in air tight containers in the freezer
  • Do not warm baby’s food in the microwave or directly on the stove. Use a warmer or put the container in hot water
  • Make sure each meal is balanced.
  • Give your baby drinking water in between meals.

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