Article Index

Breastfeeding and feeding

To Assess and Celebrate

Was it easy to observe the baby’s growth in the weight/age curve?

Is there any doubt that you would like to share with the others?

Is there any message, prayer or biblical quotation that celebrates this occasion?

To See

The baby from six to eight months

1. How do the families in your community use to feed the babies of this age?

2. In your opinion, what should a baby of this age eat?

3. What are the most common diseases in this age? What do the families do when the babies get sick?

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Until six months, the mother’s milk is everything the baby needs to be nourished. After this age it is necessary to breastfeed and also to give the baby other baby food. Little by little the baby learns to try new tastes, temperatures and ways of preparation; tender, hard, thin or thick. This contributes to his/her development.

To give the baby new food will require attention, care and patience of the mother or whom looks after the baby. In the beginning the babies need more pasty and tender food, for they cannot chew yet.

The baby food has to be given in bigger amounts each time. It is important to check that the baby accepts it, eating with no haste, till he/she is full.

A great part of babies may refuse the food. It does not mean that he/she did not like it; he/she is refusing something he/she does not know. Another time, he/she may accept this same food that he/she refused before. It is necessary to offer him/her again but without forcing the baby to eat.

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The first food to be offered is fruit and baby food.

Fruit is important because it is a source of vitamins, they can be served mashed or scraped with a spoon. Always prefer the regional fruit and of the season; they are fresher and cheaper. Offering fruit is better than juices.

It is important to wash the fruit very well before giving it to the baby.

The baby food can be made of:

• Cereals, like rice, corn and wheat;

• Legumes, like beans, peas, chickpea and lentil;

• Meat or eggs: cattle meat, chicken, giblets and egg yoke;

• Roots, like manioc, potato, yam and sweet potato;

• Kitchen herbs, like kale, gherkin, arum, carrot and pumpkin;

• Seasonings like onion, parsley, green onion, garlic and a little salt. Apart from giving more taste to the food the seasonings are important sources of vitamins.

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Every new food, fruit or baby food should be given one by one and little by little. At first small quantities should be offered, one or two tea spoons per day. Increase the amount a little every day observing if the baby accepts it.

To get tender, the baby food should be well cooked. Use little water so that the food does not lose the vitamins and other nutrients like iron and calcium. Before serving it to the baby, the mother should knead the food well with a fork; never use the blender. Do not knead all the food mixed together for the child needs to know the taste of each food. In doing so the food becomes pasty, firm and colourful, stimulating the chew and the senses of the baby.

Start offering baby food at lunch time. The baby food served for dinner should only be offered when the baby is accepting well the food offered for lunch. Fruit can be offered as a snack, in the morning a well as in the afternoon.

The baby should be breastfed at least twice a day. The interval between the meals is different for each baby, but as an average it is from two to three hours.

The mother’s milk should be continued, at least, till the first two years old, even after the introduction of new food.