Steps of Baby Feeding, 1-2-3
There are not many moments more rewarding than the first time you feed your baby. From the first feeding until they are throwing food on the floor in protest, your baby will go through several stages at mealtime.
No stage is predictable; no child is the same. Every parent has to take cues from their child and their physician to determine the best feeding practices. There are a few certainties. One of them is your child will go through several stages of eating in the first year.
Your first experience feeding your baby will likely be at the hospital. You will likely have help from trained professionals to advise and guide you about the best methods and techniques.
Every mom will have their own experience with breastfeeding. Some will nurse with ease for years. Others will have a harder time. Luckily there are free resources to help guide you along the way. We think one of the best resources is Texas WIC.
Experts at Texas WIC encourage mothers to breastfeed as long as possible. That’s because it’s both healthy for the baby and the mother. Texas WIC has created breastmilkcounts.com website that has everything you need to know about breastfeeding. There is even a hotline for WIC clients to call for breastfeeding support, 855-550-6667. To see if you are eligible to enroll, apply online or visit an Austin-area WIC clinic today.
Even though breastfeeding is highly encouraged, not all moms are able to feed this way. Your little one still has to get nutrients to grow. Since babies are not allowed to try cow’s milk before age 1, formula is how your baby will get all the nutrition they need.
There are many baby formulas on the market, including speciality prescription formulas for babies that have allergies or digestive issues. Talk to your child’s doctor about which one is best. You may need to try a few to find the right one. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s mixing instructions. They are not all the same. Mixing them properly is very important for the safety of your baby. Texas WIC offers these guidelines for mixing formulas.
Texas WIC clients can pick up their baby formula at any Lone Star Family Market, a grocery store chain that offers primarily WIC foods. They carry a large selection of baby formula and even prescription baby formulas. You can find a list of products online. You can visit a location near you, or schedule a time for pickup. Staff is also very knowledgeable about the WIC program and can help answer your questions.
This is where it really starts to get fun. Once your baby is ready (your baby’s doctor can confirm when your little one can start sampling), they will start exploring new tastes and textures. It’s just as much fun for parents to discover what their little ones like and don’t like.
Aren’t sure if your baby is ready to move to the next stage? Texas WIC provides an outline online to help you recognize important baby milestones and signs your tot might be ready.
Around 6-months old (confirm your child is ready with their doctor or a Texas WIC nutritionist), your baby may be able start trying purees. As they get older (around 9 months, but confirm with your doctor), they might be able to try foods that are soft and easily mashed. Scrambled eggs, soft fruits like bananas and avocados, steamed veggies or even homemade hummus.
Once your baby starts trying foods other than breastmilk and formula, you will need to be on the lookout for possible reactions from food allergies. Some of the common allergies are soy, fish, shellfish, eggs, dairy, wheat or nuts (peanut butter for example since babies should not eat whole nuts because they may choke). Texas WIC offers great guidelines on signs your baby has a food allergy.
It’s important to always watch your child while they eat in case they choke. Be prepared in the event they need help.
Guiding your baby through the various stages of eating will be a joy to watch. Enjoy the process!
The WIC program is free for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, and their children up to 5 years old. It’s designed for mothers to help their kids get a healthy start. WIC participants are able to take home free nutritional food, enroll in free nutritional classes and visit WIC-approved clinics. To find out if you qualify visit an Austin-area clinic near you or apply online.