Baby gear has changed since I was a new mom. (We didn’t have all-terrain strollers, for example.) But when it comes to nutrition, new parents can be assured that some basic recommendations don’t change.
Just this year the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reaffirmed its stance that “breastfeeding is a natural and beneficial source of nutrition and provides the healthiest start for infants.”
And the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recently confirmed that “exclusive breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition and health protection for the first 6 months of life and breastfeeding with complementary foods from 6 months until at least 12 months of age is the ideal feeding pattern for infants.”
“Exclusive” breastfeeding means little Frances can receive all her nutritional needs from breastfeeding for her first six months of life with the exception of vitamin D. (Nutrition experts recommend all breastfed infants receive 400 IU of vitamin D within a few days of life and throughout childhood.) Around 6 months of age, she will be ready for additional foods to “complement” her nursing schedule.
Why is mom’s milk so special? Babies get the benefit of milk that is uniquely tailored to meet their nutritional needs. It is always ready at just the right temperature when they are hungry. And it stays safe and sterile in convenient containers moms can take anywhere.
Nursing helps promote the proper alignment of infants’ jaws and teeth as they grow, say child development experts.
As infants grow and develop, the composition of the mothers’ milk will change to meet their needs perfectly. And breast milk contains substances that help protect them from ear infections, tummy upsets and other childhood maladies. Research also shows that breastfed babies are less likely to be overweight or to have high blood pressure when they grow up.
— By Barbara Quinn, The Monterey County Herald