When bringing baby home for the first time, parents want to make sure they are bringing child home to the healthiest environment possible. This extends beyond the easy things like not smoking around the baby and making sure there is no lead in your walls’ paint.
Why breastfeeding is so important
Of course, breastfeeding is the preferred method of feeding a baby. There is nothing like mother’s milk to nourish a child and give him or her all of the important nutrients needed. Breastfeeding also helps your child by boosting his immune system and provides essential hormones your baby needs for growth. Breastmilk is easier for your child to digest and provides you with an opportunity to bond with your child.
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Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from some common diseases in children, including:
· ear infections
· lung diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis and wheezing
· bacterial and viral infections
As an added bonus, breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from other diseases later in life, like cancer, diabetes and obesity, to name a few.
Moving past breastmilk
At about six months of age, babies are ready to move beyond breastmilk and on to solid foods. Physicians generally recommend starting babies on cereal, but not before the baby is ready. A physician will be the best gauge of when to transition, but a few guidelines from healthychildren.org might help. A baby is generally ready to begin solid foods when he can sit in a high chair and hold his head up, open his mouth when he sees the spoon coming, use his tongue to pass the food from his mouth to his throat and he has doubled his birth weight.
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There are no hard and fast rules on what to feed a baby for the first time. Some begin with single grain cereals like rice, oat or barley. Others begin with vegetables. There is no evidence to suggest a benefit of one over another, but the baby’s physician may have a preference.
Transitioning a baby to whole milk doesn’t normally occur until he reaches one year of age. Formula can be used until that time if supplemental milk is required.
Providing a healthy home environment
The food provided to a baby is only part of creating a healthy environment. As babies turn into toddlers and are able to reach new heights, they are able to get into more things they shouldn’t. It’s important to make sure cleaning and other chemicals are kept behind locked doors, bookshelves and other heavy pieces of furniture are anchored to the walls and sharp edges are covered with padding to prevent head injury. Toddlers are quick and it’s often difficult to reach them before trouble strikes.
Outside of the usual cabinet locks, putting safeguards on door knobs, oven and refrigerator doors will go a long way to keep baby safe.
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In addition to a baby’s physical safety, it’s important to look out for his emotional safety. Parents should be on the same page when it comes to issues like discipline and child care. Parents should be able to communicate willing to compromise.
Overall, the final thought would be that a healthy living for a happy, healthy baby begins with the environment he is provided from the moment he comes home from the hospital. Parents should be mindful of everything that is involved ahead of time.