The best tips for feeding a baby include advice on how to hold the baby during feeding, what to feed him, and what to do after the baby is fed. What foods a baby can eat depends on his age and development. Newborns cannot eat solid foods yet, because they do not have a fully developed digestive system. Some foods are dangerous for babies, such as honey, while others may cause an allergic reaction. Babies can choke on certain foods, so a parent or caregiver should avoid feeding foods that are choking hazards too soon.
During the few first months of a baby's life, she should eat only liquid foods, such as breast milk or infant formula. When feeding a baby, the parent or caregiver should hold the baby in his arms. Feeding time is also bonding time at this early stage, and cuddling is an important part of the feeding process.
Burping is an important step after feeding a baby. Usually, babies who drink formula need to be burped more than breastfed babies. The baby may swallow air along with his food. If the air is not pushed out of him, he can spit up or be generally cranky. To burp a baby, the parent or caregiver should hold the baby against her shoulder and pat him gently on the back.
As the baby grows, she will begin to be able to eat solid foods. Typically, a person can begin feeding a baby solid foods around four months of age. At this stage, the solid food should be extremely soft, such as pureed vegetables and fruits or cereal soaked in formula or breast milk. A very small amount of solid food should be offered to the baby at first. The amount can be gradually increased day after day.
A few foods are not safe for babies less than one year of age. Giving a baby honey before he turns one can lead to botulism. Other unsafe foods include cow's milk, shellfish, and eggs. A baby can choke on foods such as nuts and seeds, so those should be avoided as well. Foods that can cause choking in babies and toddlers also include grapes, large chunks of vegetables, and popcorn.
Certain foods may cause an allergic reaction in a baby and should be introduced slowly. Some babies are allergic to dairy, legumes, or fish products. When introducing a new food, a person should wait a few days after feeding a baby before giving her the same food again to rule out any allergies.