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For how long should breast milk be given?
Breastmilk is the perfect food for your baby and provides them with all the nutrition they need for healthy growth and development for the first 6 months.
What benefits does breast milk contain?
- Helps with physical and emotional development and is a means for mother and baby to get to know each other and build a loving relationship
- Reduces the occurence and severity of infections such as diarrhoea, ear infections, respiratory infections
- Reduces the risk of food allergies (for families with a history of food allergies), eczema, asthma, reflux, some bowel diseases, some childhood cancers, overweight, obesity, type 2 diabetes later in life
Do babies experience weight loss?
Babies may lose up to 10 per cent of their birth weight in the first few days, but should get back to what they weighed at birth within 2 weeks.
Newborn to 6 week babies may enjoy (for play and learning)...
- Being talked, sung and read to. Babies they learn by hearing your voice - talk to them about what you are doing eg ‘Mummy’s going to change your nappy now’
- Going out in the front pack or pram
- Looking at faces
- Watching colourful mobiles and strong colour contrasts like black and white
- Rattles and musical toys
- Lying kicking on the floor with nappy off - placing toys on both sides of your baby encourages them to turn to both sides
- Tummy time
When should solid food start to be introduced?
- Solid food should not be given before baby is 4 months old as they are not physically or developmentally ready for it.
- The ideal time to introduce solid food is at around 6 months when your baby is showing signs of being ready for and needing extra food.
Between 3 & 4 Months babies can start to:
- Reach out for toys
- Bring their hands together
- Hold their hands open
- Watch their hands
- Hold on to toys for short periods and take them to their mouth
- Lift their head up higher for a few moments when lying on their tummy on the floor
- Make different sounds — cooing and laughing
- Recognise familiar faces
- Become more social.
Babies being introduced to solid foods
- Your baby will probably be ready for solid foods at around 6 months.
- Between 7 and 8 months, once your baby is eating a good variety of first foods, increase the variety and texture of the food you offer.
- By 8 or 9 months you can start to offer solids before your baby’s breast or formula milk.
- Teething occurs when the teeth growing in the jaw begin to come through the gums. Teething usually starts around 6 months but may start a little earlier or after the first birthday.
- If your baby is unsettled with teething you can try:
- a teething ring to chew on, especially one you can cool in the fridge
- a teething gel from the chemist - follow the instructions carefully on how to use it
- cold things to suck which are clean and firm, for example chilled fruit. To prevent baby chewing off bits of fruit and choking, wrap the fruit in muslin cloth first.
- Between 4 months and 1 year, your baby will try making many different sounds.
- At 4 or 5 months they may be starting to laugh and squeal. You will notice their sounds change from cooing to babbling.
- At 1 year they may be saying 2 or 3 words and repeating simple sounds. Your baby will use a variety of tuneful sounds that resemble speech patterns. You may notice them starting to take turns waiting for you to speak, then babbling back. They will understand lots of words. Children understand what you say to them long before they can talk themselves.
- They will also let you know what they want through gestures (eg pointing and reaching out their arms to be picked up).
Toys (4-8 months)
- They can reach, grasp and chew on as they learn about size, shape, taste and texture by putting things in their mouth
- Make noises (eg rattles, squeaky toys)
- Hang above them.
Toys (8-12 Months):
- Bang together
- Put inside one another (eg blocks in and out of plastic containers, pots and pans)
- Move or pull along
- Chase after (eg a rolling ball)
- Watch (eg playing with bubbles).
Movement, at 6 months old a baby:
- Roll over
- Explore everything around them and reach out to touch objects nearby
- Sit with support for short periods
- Try to sit up by lifting their head when lying on their back
- Reach, grasp and chew on toys or hands
- May lie on their stomach and push up with their arms, starting to lift their chest off the ground.Time on the floor helps kicking, moving and holding their head up.
- Start to pass toys from hand to hand and use both hands together to play. Chewing on toys and hands is an important stage of learning. To help prevent choking, give them safe toys to suck and chew on.
Movement, at 9 months old a baby:
- May sit unsupported, using hands to explore everything within reach.
- Drop toys to watch them fall - they often enjoy dropping food from their highchair or toys from the cot
- Bang things together
- Clap hands
- Look for hidden objects
- Play peek-a-boo
- Start to copy people
- Hold a feeding cup.
Movement, at 1 year old a baby:
- May move around in their own special way - by 1 year many babies are crawling, some bottom-shuffle, some walk, some pull themselves along and others are quite content to sit and play
- Pull themselves to stand, stand while holding on to something and walk around the furniture or their cot. When baby first learns to pull to stand, they may cry for help or drop back down, but will soon learn to get back up
- Wave bye-bye
- Play peek-a-boo
- Look for hidden toys
- Put toys in and out of containers
- Be very curious, wanting to look at and touch everything and can now get themselves into many dangerous areas
- Pick up small objects with their thumb and first finger so to keep baby safe, check for and remove small objects that can be picked up and choked on.