Feeding for premature babies
A Guide to Premature Baby Feeding and Preemie Nutrition
A Guide to Premature Baby Feeding and Preemie Nutrition
When it comes to premature baby feeding, you may have questions. Whether you're breastfeeding or formula feeding, learn more about preemie baby nutrition and your baby's feeding schedule.
Premature baby feeding
- Premature babies need to eat at least every three hours. Tiny babies have tiny tummies. This means they’ll have to eat a lot of small meals for them to gain weight.
- Your baby will eat at their own pace. While they may be eating every three hours, the premature baby feeding process is often slow. You'll soon recognize their pattern of swallowing and breathing. Babies who eat slowly seem to take more milk at each feeding and may be satisfied and sleep longer between feedings.
- Their mouths are often extra-sensitive. If your baby has spent their first few days with tubes and respirators in their mouth, they may assume that anything that goes into their mouth is painful, which could include a breast or a bottle.
- Premature babies are slow to feed. Feeding them too fast by mouth may result in a feeding aversion or spitting up. They are also likely to have more digestive issues than a full-term baby, since their digestive system may not be as mature as a full-term baby's.
Try these premature baby feeding tips
- Each baby is unique. Follow the advice of your baby's doctor.
- Introduce your baby to a nipple. Even if they are still feeding by tube, this will help them adjust to bottle-feeding when they’re ready. You may need to try different nipples at first.
- Stick to breast milk or one type of formula and nipple to help them adjust.
- Keep a record of your baby's feedings.
- Get growth charts, specially designed for premature babies, from your baby's doctor to help monitor their progress.
- Keep your baby on a fairly regular schedule of awake and nap time, to help them eat better.
- Make sure your baby is fully awake before feeding.
- Don't force your baby to eat. If they’re not sucking as fast, sealing their lips or turning away, they may be full.
- Feed them on demand, not a schedule. Studies have shown that premature babies grew at a faster pace when fed on demand.
- When your baby is developmentally ready, slowly introduce solid foods while they are still on formula.
- Enlist the help and support of family and friends, to give yourself a break.
Most premature babies have low birth weight.
If a baby is too premature to breastfeed, moms are encouraged to pump their milk, as breast milk is considered to be best for the baby. Sometimes, doctors will recommend using a breast milk fortifier, to help give your baby the extra protein, vitamins, calcium and other nutrients they need at this early stage.
If you can't pump or breastfeed, or choose not to, ask your baby’s doctor about the specially designed formulas available for premature or low birth weight babies.
Premature babies may have more digestive issues than full-term babies.
Chances are, your baby’s feeding skills haven't fully developed yet. This means they’ll likely be slow to feed, or they may feed too fast and spit up or develop a feeding aversion. But there are some things you can try to help:
- Introduce your baby to a pacifier. This can help get them used to the feeling of bottle-feeding for when they’re ready to switch over from the tube.
- Record their feedings, so you can keep track of spit ups and how much they’re keeping down.
- Monitor your preemie’s progress with growth charts from the doctor.
- Try to keep them on a sleep schedule.
- Make sure they are fully awake before feeding
- Be aware of indicators, so you know when your little one is full or tired.
- Slowly introduce solids when they are developmentally ready.
Babies who are born premature often undergo developmental testing and programs.
If your baby weighs less than 3.5 lbs. at birth, they will most likely be referred for formal developmental testing around their 1st and 2nd birthdays. If your baby is born prematurely, your doctor may recommend an infant stimulation program. This usually involves working with a physical therapist or specialized healthcare professional to learn gentle exercises, positioning and other ways to interact with your premature baby and help them with physical development. Early intervention programs can help with social and functional skills and provide support for the family.
Preterm babies have a harder time maintaining the proper water balance in their bodies. These babies can become dehydrated or over-hydrated. This is especially true for very premature infants. Keep the following preemie nutrition facts in mind as you navigate feeding your baby:
- Premature babies may experience more water loss through the skin or respiratory tract than babies born at full term.
- The kidneys in premature babies have not grown enough to control water levels in the body.
- The NICU team keeps track of how much premature babies urinate (by weighing their diapers) to make sure that their fluid intake and urine output are balanced.
- Human milk from the baby's own mother is the best for babies born early and at very low birth weight.
- Human milk can help babies avoid infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) as well as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
- Many NICUs will give donor milk from a milk bank to high-risk babies who are not able to get adequate amounts of milk from their own mother.
- Special preemie formulas can also be used. These formulas have more added calcium and protein to meet the special growth needs of premature babies.
- Older premature babies (34 to 36 weeks gestation) may be switched to regular formula or a transitional formula.
- Babies who are given breast milk may need a supplement called human milk fortifier mixed into their feedings. This gives them extra protein, calories, iron, calcium, and vitamins. Babies fed formula may need to take supplements of certain nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and D, and folic acid.
- Some infants will need to continue taking nutritional supplements after they leave the hospital. For breastfeeding infants, this may mean a bottle or two of fortified breast milk per day as well as iron and vitamin D supplements. Some babies will need more supplementation than others. This may include babies who are not able to consume adequate amounts of milk through breastfeeding to get the calories they need to grow well.
- After each feeding, babies should seem satisfied. They should have 8 to 10 feedings and at least 6 to 8 wet diapers each day. Watery or bloody stools or regular vomiting could indicate an issue and you should discuss them with your doctor.
Preemie Weight Gain
Weight gain is monitored closely for all babies. Research suggests developmental delays could be associated with premature babies who experience slow growth.
- In the NICU, babies are weighed every day.
- It is normal for babies to lose weight in the first few days of life. Most of this loss is water weight.
- Most premature infants should start gaining weight within a few days of birth.
- The desired weight gain depends on the baby's size and gestational age. Sicker babies may need to be given more calories to grow at the desired rate.
- It might be as little as 5 grams a day for a tiny baby at 24 weeks, or 20 to 30 grams a day for a larger baby at 33 or more weeks.
- In general, a baby should gain about a quarter of an ounce each day for every pound (about 1/2 kilogram) they weigh. (This is equal to 15 grams per kilogram per day. It is the average rate at which a fetus grows during the third trimester).
If you are experiencing difficulty affording specialty premature formulas for your baby, financial assistance is available.
Enfamil has developed a program called Helping Hand for Special Kids, to help families who need specialty formulas for their premature baby but have difficulty affording them. Depending on your needs, the Helping Hand program provides either long-term assistance or a free, one-time shipment of products. To us, all babies deserve the very best start in life. Ask your doctor if you qualify for this program.
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Tips for Feeding Premature Babies – Children’s Health
When babies are born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), they may have special feeding and nutritional needs. Preemies often need extra support to grow and continue developing, and parents may have questions about breastfeeding, bottles or feeding schedules.
Kikelomo Babata, M.D., a neonatologist at Children's Health℠ and Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern, answers these questions and shares advice for feeding your premature baby.
What are common feeding problems in premature infants?
Premature babies may face different feeding problems depending on their age and development. "Post-conceptual age is more important than chronological age for a baby's development," explains Dr. Babata. "A 4-week-old infant born at 32 weeks may not be as developmentally ready to feed as a 2-week-old infant born at 35 weeks. And every baby is different."
Some premature babies have difficulty breastfeeding or bottle-feeding for the first few weeks of their lives. This is because infants, both full-term and premature, continue developing their ability to suck, swallow and breathe after birth. This is a skill they need to feed, so they can coordinate how to suck, swallow then breathe through their nose. Additionally, premature babies may be sleepy and get tired during their feeds.
Premature infants might also have underdeveloped lungs. They might need to be on oxygen, which can make it difficult for them to eat.
Other common feeding problems in premature babies can include:
- Apnea (episodes where they stop breathing)
- Episodes of bradycardia (slow heartbeat that can cause oxygen levels to drop)
- Immature feeding pattern (sucking, swallowing and breathing incorrectly or out of order)
- Oral aversion (not taking a bottle or breast)
- Risk of aspiration (breathing in milk or formula)
If your baby experiences these feeding problems, they may need to be fed through a feeding tube. This tube is placed through the nose and down into the esophagus. If your baby has a feeding tube, they'll stay in the hospital until it is removed.
Once your baby goes home, your pediatrician can offer tips on feeding your baby and the importance of good nutrition. If needed, they can refer you to speech therapist for more support.
Can I breastfeed my premature baby?
Yes, you can breastfeed a premature baby. Your breastfeeding experience may depend on your baby's development and nutritional needs.
Breastmilk offers many benefits for premature babies, such as:
- Boosting digestion
- Helping baby’s immune system fight infection
- Promoting eye and brain development
- Providing bonding opportunities
"Breastmilk is linked to a lower risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, an illness that can be devastating for preterm infants," says Dr. Babata. Necrotizing enterocolitis is inflammation that can seriously damage or destroy intestinal tissue in babies. It can increase their risk of death or neurodevelopmental problems.
Breastfed infants also have a lower risk of ear infections, respiratory infections like respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and bronchiolitis, rashes and gastroenteritis. Breastfeeding can have long-lasting benefits as well – lowering your child's risk for chronic illnesses in the future.
Advice for breastfeeding a premature baby
It's important to know that breastfeeding a premature infant might look different than breastfeeding a full-term infant. Breastfeeding may take more coordination for a preemie than bottle feeding, and depending on how premature your baby is, they may have difficulty latching. You may need to use bottles for a few weeks if your baby is having difficulty nursing. You can still choose to pump and provide breastmilk in a bottle. See tips for increasing your milk supply while pumping and how to safely store your breast milk.
If your premature baby can breastfeed, they still might need bottles of supplemental formula. Often, premature babies cannot exclusively breastfeed because they have higher caloric needs to support growth. Special high-calorie formula or human milk fortifiers can help your child grow while still getting the benefits of breastmilk.
If your premature baby is on a feeding tube, talk to your care team to learn what you can do and whether you should pump your breastmilk.
What type of bottle and formula is best for my premature infant?
Whether you give breastmilk or formula in a bottle, you should use a slow flow bottle nipple designed for premature infants. These bottle nipples help prevent your baby from getting more liquid than they can handle at once.
Most premature babies will use a special formula designed for preterm babies. Your pediatrician or neonatologist can recommend the right formula for your baby's needs. Depending on your baby's diet, they can also advise if any other nutritional supplements are needed, such as vitamin D or iron.
How much should I feed my premature baby and how often?
How much your baby needs to eat will change as they grow. Premature babies need 150 to 160 milliliters per kilogram of body weight each day. Your lactation consultant or pediatrician can help you determine how much this is for your baby.
No matter how much they eat per feeding, preemies need to eat at least every 3 to 4 hours.
When can my premature baby eat solids?
A premature baby can start eating solid foods when their adjusted or conceptual age is 4 to 6 months. A conceptual or adjusted age means that instead of counting your baby’s age from their date of birth, it's calculated from their due date. For instance, if your baby is born 10 weeks before their due date, their age at 10 weeks past their due date is 10 weeks (even though they were born 20 weeks ago).
Around the adjusted age of 4 to 6 months, premature babies should be able to support their head and have lost their tongue-thrust reflex. This reflex causes them to spit out anything put in their mouth that's not milk or formula. This is a good time to introduce solids.
Taking care of a baby is a challenging job. While these special feeding needs can add extra stress to those early days of your child's life, parents should remember that patience is key.
"Most babies will eventually learn to feed orally," says Dr. Babata. "Just take it one step at a time and be sure to notice and enjoy progress as it occurs."
With the only nationally ranked Level IV NICU in North Texas, Children's Health provides expert multidisciplinary care for a wide variety of complex neonatal conditions. Learn more about our top-ranking Neonatology program.
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Complementary foods for premature babies by months
How to introduce complementary foods if the baby was born prematurely, is formula-fed or is predisposed to food allergies
If the baby was born prematurely, is formula-fed, or is predisposed to food allergies
According to modern recommendations, complementary foods for healthy children begin to be introduced into the diet no earlier than four and no later than six months of age. The timing and scheme for the introduction of certain products and complementary foods for each child is individual and depends on his characteristics and needs. nine0003
But for some groups of children there are rules. For example, this applies to children suffering from food allergies, as well as children born prematurely.
Introduction of complementary foods to children on artificial and mixed feeding
Modern adapted milk formulas contain in their composition all the necessary vitamins and minerals for the baby.
And if previously healthy children on artificial and mixed feeding were introduced complementary foods at an earlier date than when breastfeeding, explaining this by the fact that the baby does not receive enough nutrients, now there is no such need. nine0003
Therefore, at present, a unified scheme for the introduction of complementary foods for healthy children has been adopted, and it does not matter whether they receive breast milk or adapted infant milk formulas. We talked about this scheme in detail in our material “When should complementary foods be introduced?”.
Feeding premature babies
It is recommended to start introducing the first complementary foods to premature babies from 4-6 months of age. Up to four months, the digestive system and metabolic processes of such babies are still very immature and cannot cope with new foods. It is also unacceptable to introduce complementary foods later (after six months), because the supply of nutrients (minerals and individual vitamins) in children born prematurely is sharply limited. nine0003
In this case, an exception is made for babies with very low and extremely low birth weights, who receive special mixtures for small and premature babies, intended for use after discharge from the hospital.
These mixtures contain all the nutrients needed for premature babies, which allows the introduction of complementary foods from six months.
The introduction of complementary foods should be done slowly and gradually. Until your baby is 7-8 months old, breastfeed or give formula after each feed. nine0003
For small children who received drug therapy, including antibiotics, in the first weeks and months of life, various disorders of the motility of the gastrointestinal tract and dysbacteriosis are characteristic. The sequence of introducing complementary foods to such babies has its own characteristics.
The expansion of the diet begins with porridge or vegetable puree, to which vegetable oil is added. At the age of 6 months, meat puree is introduced. With a balanced diet and an adequate growth rate, cottage cheese is prescribed to children at a later date. In the nutrition of children born with VLBW and ELBW, it is introduced when a specialized mixture with a high protein content is canceled, the quality of which is much higher. The first cereal should be gluten-free and dairy-free, like all other children. You need to breed porridge with the milk mixture that the baby receives. nine0003
It is important for parents of premature babies to give preference to commercially produced complementary foods, because they are prepared using environmentally friendly raw materials, they have a guaranteed composition and an appropriate degree of grinding, and are enriched with vitamins and minerals.
The material was prepared on the basis of the “National program for optimizing the feeding of children in the first year of life in the Russian Federation”, Moscow: Union of Pediatricians of Russia, 2019
The material is for informational purposes and cannot replace the advice of a specialist.
Special rules for the introduction of complementary foods
Article | Complementary foods: start on time
The introduction of complementary foods is an important life stage for both the child and the mother. Ekaterina Kostennikova, a breastfeeding consultant, and Olga Novichkova, a child analytical psychotherapist, talk about how to properly introduce a baby to new foods and whether there is a difference in the introduction of complementary foods in premature babies. nine0057
The right time
With the start of complementary foods, the baby expands his experience of interacting with the outside world - he gets acquainted with new tastes, smells, sensations. The introduction of complementary foods contributes to the process of separation of the child, if it is correlated with this important developmental stage in time.
WHO recommends that children who are exclusively breastfed should begin complementary feeding no earlier than six months of age. From about this age, the child's needs for nutrients and energy can no longer be 100% satisfied with breast milk, and the introduction of other sources of nutrition becomes a necessity. nine0003
With any type of feeding, WHO recommends introducing complementary foods no earlier than 4 months of age. Until this age, the child's neuromuscular coordination is not sufficiently developed, which allows the formation of a food bolus and swallowing it, therefore, the gag reflex is triggered, as well as the reflex of pushing "foreign" objects out of the mouth with the tongue.
It was because of these reflexes that in the Soviet years the recommendation to start complementary foods with fruit juices was widespread. However, over time, it became clear that this approach has unreasonably high risks for the health of the child: fruit acids are too aggressive a product for the child's immature digestive system and therefore can harm the gastrointestinal tract. Other risks of starting complementary foods too early also include a high likelihood of food allergies. nine0003
With regard to premature babies, that is, babies born before the 37th week of gestational age, they need more careful attention. If the baby was born only 1-3 weeks ahead of schedule, then, most likely, the difference with children born on time will already level out by six months and prematurity will not affect the start of complementary feeding in any way.
At the same time, babies born before 34–35 weeks of gestation require an individual approach. The main thing is not to create an excessive load on the immature gastrointestinal tract of a child who is not yet ready to receive adult food. The mother of a premature baby should be guided by the developmental standards established by pediatricians and the general signs of the child's readiness for complementary foods:
- food interest;
- ability to hold the head and be in a semi-sitting position with support;
- extinction of the ejection reflex of the tongue.
Complementary feeding guidelines for premature babies
Babies born prematurely, especially those with VLBW (very low birth weight) and ELBW (extremely low birth weight), often lag behind in development. For a more accurate assessment of development, one should rely not so much on the weight itself, but rather compare it with the height of the child and, by linking these two indicators, judge physical development. nine0003
Particular difficulties arise in children with severe damage to the central nervous system, bronchopulmonary dysplasia and other serious diseases. In such situations, correctly introduced complementary foods significantly help the child's body to return to normal.
However, according to WHO recommendations (hereinafter information is provided from the Guidelines for the WHO European Region with a special focus on the republics of the former Soviet Union "Feeding and nutrition of infants and young children"), small children grow and develop normally if they are exclusively on breastfeeding! At the same time, it is important for them not to introduce complementary foods too early (before 6 months), as this slows down physical development. nine0003
Complementary foods should not be introduced before the age of four months - until this time, neither the digestive system nor the metabolic processes have yet “ripened” to the full extent.
Exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months provides health benefits for children. Complementary feeding before 6 months is justified in case of obvious lack of weight during breastfeeding. Its later appointment (after 6 full months of passport age, which is equal to 26 weeks) is also not recommended due to the lack of a supply of micronutrients in the body and frequent lag in physical development. nine0003
In general, the principles of introducing complementary foods to preterm infants are the same as for full-term infants. Products are introduced slowly and gradually. Preference should be given to freshly prepared food with little use of water (for example, stewing instead of boiling or steaming), as well as industrial baby food products, since they are prepared using environmentally friendly raw materials, they have a guaranteed composition and an age-appropriate degree of grinding, enriched vitamins and minerals. nine0003
For premature babies, attention should be paid to the presence of proteins in their diet, which are necessary for accelerated growth. The following amino acids are important: cysteine, taurine, tyrosine. As for the lack of iodine (if detected), then premature babies need it in an increased amount. Also, the need for iron should be attributed to the characteristics of premature and underweight children: they need a good food source of iron earlier than full-term ones.
In small children, the motility and microflora of the gastrointestinal tract are often impaired, so the order of introduction of products is determined individually. nine0003
Throughout the introduction of complementary foods, it is essential to increase the nutritional value of the diet by adding food to it, rather than replacing formula or breast milk. This product remains the main source of nutrients for the child of the first year of life, and possibly longer.
Stages of introduction of complementary foods
Complementary foods can be divided into 4 stages, in which the relationship between the development of the physiology of the child and the need for trace elements is presented.
When introducing complementary foods, the first task for the child will be to learn how to eat from a spoon. The suggested small amount of food at the tip of a teaspoon will allow the child to learn to remove food with their lips and move it around in their mouth for swallowing. As the first products, mashed one-component products are suitable: cereals (except wheat), boiled at home and mashed rice, mashed potatoes, soft, thick porridge from cereals or vegetables. Complementary foods should be given 1-2 times a day after breastfeeding or formula. nine0003
After getting used to spoon feeding, children are ready for new foods, and the indicator is the ability to sit without support and transfer objects from one hand to another. It is possible to introduce well-cooked and mashed meat into the diet (especially the liver, which is well suited in terms of consistency), vegetables, fruits, legumes, grain products. New tastes should be introduced along with previously familiar dishes. Food can be given lumpy, coarser in structure - mixed with mashed potatoes. Frequency - 2-3 times a day. nine0003
It is marked by the development of more precise motor skills, the appearance of teeth. It is important for parents to encourage motor skills by allowing them to take food with their fingers (eating with their hands). Dairy products can be included in the diet (liquids - in a cup), after 9 months, when breastfeeding is completed, cow's milk is acceptable. Features of food are as follows: softened, mashed into large particles. The diet can include fruits and vegetables, legumes and some fish, meat, liver, eggs, cheese, kefir. You can spread a little butter on the bread. Meal frequency - 2-3 main meals, with light snacks in between (yogurt, kefir, apples). nine0003
Focuses on developing independent eating skills. Products mashed or chopped, cubes of fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread. The restriction should be introduced on fatty foods and salt. In general, by the age of one year, children can eat food from the family table, which means the end of complementary foods and the transition to regular food with slight adjustments for age (fatty meat, mushrooms, sweet cakes, etc.).
Cereal products are rich in carbohydrates, micronutrients (but also rich in phytates, which negatively affect the absorption of micronutrients), cysteine. Potatoes are rich in vitamin C and are a source of thiamine. Vegetables and fruits are important as sources of non-nutritional substances (antioxidants) and dietary fiber, vitamins C, A, group B. Dark green vegetables are rich in folate, potassium, and magnesium. Lean meats and fish are good sources of zinc, while liver is an excellent source of protein and essential micronutrients such as taurine and tyrosine. The liver is exceptionally rich in iron and is well absorbed. nine0003
Eggs are widely accepted as a versatile food with high biological value (they contain cysteine, taurine and tyrosine, which are important for premature babies), but it is not advisable to introduce proteins into the diet before 6 months - they are associated with allergic reactions.
Dairy products should not be given in large quantities until 9 months, and cow's milk should be given directly between 9 and 12 months. Fermented milk products - yogurt and kefir - are rich in calcium, proteins, phosphorus and riboflavin, cheese is rich in calcium, sodium, vitamin A, and contains the amino acid cyrosine. nine0003
Fruit juices are safe and healthy in small amounts, but only juices without artificial sweeteners or simple carbohydrates. Honey, tea and herbal teas should not be given to infants due to the negative effect on the absorption of important vitamins and trace elements.
Infant formula is used when micronutrient fortification is required. Together with them, homemade food should be given for a greater variety of taste sensations and textures.
How to increase the energy density of complementary foods
1. Add less water in favor of a thicker product (viscosity should be appropriate for the child's ability).
2. Replace most (or all) of the water with breast milk or infant formula.
3. Add milk powder, vegetable oil, fat to thick porridge no more than 1 teaspoon per 100 g of product.
4. Introduce fruits and vegetables, liver, meat, fish, kefir, eggs into the diet.
More than just food
For children, trying new tastes and textures opens up a new world of sensations that they have never experienced before. This expands the mental space of the child and contributes to its development. The insular lobe of the cerebral cortex is responsible for taste recognition, among the functions of which are the perception of body signals, emotions, empathy. Comparing the age recommended by WHO for the start of complementary feeding with the development of the psyche, mutual patterns are visible. nine0003
From about six months of life, the baby got used to the image of his mother, adapted to the world around him and began to "let" the world around him into his consciousness. The increase in external stimuli in accordance with the possibilities of their processing by the child's body helps to increase the idea of the world around and oneself more and more, thereby developing the little person.
A way of knowing yourself and the world around you
What is new food for a child? Something unknown, but helping to know your feelings through taste. Food, which is not directly related to mom, is thus a kind of bridge to independence. Now hunger begins to be satisfied not only with mother's milk, but also with the help of something else that can also nourish. Thus, the mother is still close and needed, but symbolically her vital significance is reduced. This moment is the very beginning of the relationship's transformation from dependent intimacy to trust and true love. nine0003
The child can eat new different foods on his own - with his hands, with a spoon, holding a bag of mashed potatoes. In addition to the further development of fine motor skills, this helps to form independence, the right to choose what and how to eat, smearing complementary foods as preparation for the next stage of child development. All these new sensations are large in scope, but the child is already able to assimilate this experience and use it for good.
Complementary foods symbolically turns the child to self-knowledge, contributing to the development of individuality. nine0003
Communication with mother
When introducing complementary foods, mothers need to remember that until the age of one, complementary foods are an additional, but not the main source of nutrition for the child. Breast milk or its substitutes are still the main ones. This is due to several factors.
1. The nutritional value of breast milk is not comparable to foods that are usually introduced as first complementary foods (for example, mashed squash has only 15 kcal per 100 g, while breast milk has calorie content of 70–80 kcal). nine0003
At the same time, the capacity of the stomach in infants is still small - about 30 ml per 1 kg of body weight, so the child is not yet able to consume large amounts of food. And if at the same time its nutritional value is low, the child's needs for energy and nutrients will not be satisfied.
2. The need of a six-, seven-, eight-, and even twelve-month-old (one-year-old) child in close contact with the mother is no less than that of a one-month-old baby. The gradual introduction of new food along with the presence of the mother will calm the child from the excitement of the new experience. For both the child and the mother, a gradual transition from dependent intimacy to not so dependent freedom and the right to choose is important. nine0003
When a mother finds a way to give closeness to her baby beyond breastfeeding, it supports the baby in the transition to separation, as the vital need for food no longer comes so directly from the mother.
It should also be noted that suckling (mother's breast, her substitute, but in mother's arms, with mother's smell, loving look) satisfies the most important need for basic security. The transition to biting from a purely sucking reflex has its origins in other senses, thereby developing the psyche. nine0003
Better not be late!
Delaying the start of complementary foods can also have adverse health effects on the baby.