Knowing the "right" thing to feed your baby is a little bit like knowing what is the "best" diet: low-fat, low-cal, low-carb, high-protein... breast milk, formula, baby food, fresh food... At the end of the day, though, both things boil down to common sense. As with feeding yourself, when feeding your baby, all-natural is best. Here are some tips on making sure your baby has everything they need.
Breast Milk or Formula?
Most doctors agree that, when physically possible, breast milk is best for babies. The American Association of Pediatricians recommends that babies be breast-fed for at least the first six months and up to one year if possible. In the case of mothers who can't breast-feed, formula is fine, but it should be used for just as long. If babies are not exposed to milk for long enough as children, some doctors believe that they may develop lactose intolerance. You should therefore continue feeding babies and young children milk, even after they have been weaned off of the breast.
Childhood allergies can be scary. While some kids only have minor reactions to new foods, like itchy hives, others can go into full-blown anaphylaxis; food allergies can be deadly for kids.
In order to avoid allergy problems, pediatricians recommend avoiding high-allergy foods for at least the first 12 months, after which these foods can be introduced. As with all new foods, however, you should wait a few days between introducing different items, to make sure that nothing is causing an intolerance.
Organic or Not Organic?
Feeding your baby the best of the best is key; organic fruits and vegetables are obviously best. Be careful, however, with things like organic honey, yogurt or cheese, which may cause reactions in children whose immune systems haven't fully developed yet. The introduction of new foods, even organic ones, is something you should talk about with your pediatrician to be sure that you're not endangering your baby's health.
Start introducing certain new foods at six months. You can also make your own organic baby foods; here are recipes for five of our favorites that your baby is sure to love!