Dear parents, eating habits in the first months of life can affect a child's body type throughout their whole life. New research shows that children who are overweight when they are young are at a higher risk of suffering from obesity in their adult life, including all associated morbidity that comes with it.
This is your chance as parents to affect your child's future, by providing them with healthy eating habits, combining physical activity and emphasizing healthy sleeping patterns. What is seemingly easy now becomes a lot harder later in life.
So what can you do?
Good Nutrition - If you decided to breastfeed, it is recommended to give your baby breast milk without additives for the first six months of life, and if possible continue breastfeeding at least until one year of age. Breastfeeding lowers the risk of obesity at an older age, lowers the risk for infections in the upper respiratory tract, digestive system and ears, and prevents chronic illness such as asthma, diabetes and celiac. It has been proven that breastfeeding even lowers the risk for Leukemia and SIDS. Breastfeeding is also beneficial for the mother by lowering the risk of breast and ovary cancer. In addition, breastfeeding is a money saver, available for your baby almost anywhere you are and creates a
special bond between you and your baby.
How can you know if they're breastfeeding enough? A one month old baby breastfeeds about 6-8 times a day. Although it is not possible to tell exactly how much the baby had, you can tell that he had enough if during breastfeeding there are sucking and swallowing movements, his skin has a normal color, he is growing and seems awake and calm. The diaper should be wet about 6 times a day. If you are breastfeeding, make sure to have a healthy diverse diet as you had during your pregnancy. It is also recommended to consult with your doctor before taking any medication to make sure it will not harm your baby.
If you chose not to breastfeed, there is a huge variety of breast milk substitutes. The most common food compounds are based on cow's milk as well as others which are used in specific medical situations. There isn't a major difference between the different substitutes which are based on cow's milk. It is recommended to choose one and stick with it. It is also important not to give your baby any other food, water or cornflour at this stage. Cornflour is only recommended under certain circumstances and only after consulting with a doctor. The high caloric intake of the cornflour isn't suitable for most children and can cause constipation and a tendency for obesity in the future. To prevent overfeeding, make sure to hold the bottle during eating in a way that you can notice when your baby has had enough and doesn't want any more. Never lay your baby down to sleep with a bottle of milk.
Remember that crying doesn't necessarily mean he's hungry.
Last update - May 2017
Written by - Ms. Tamar Sudry, BA MED
Dr. Yair Sadaka Md, Ph.D., Specialist in pediatrics, child neurology and child development
The Israeli Ministry of health
The American Academy of Pediatrics