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When to Start Solid Food to Babies

It is always confusing to know when to give baby solid food. When a mom notices her baby is hungrier than usual, the mom usually asks the pediatrician, “When can my baby begin eating solid foods?” Baby will know, just pay attention to the signs. Mom just has to watch and listen.When you begin feeding your baby solid foods you want to progress in a way that sets baby up for healthy eating habits. You are not only putting food into your baby’s tummy, you are introducing lifelong attitudes about nutrition. Consider for a moment that during the first year or two you will spend more time feeding your baby than in any other interaction. You both might as well enjoy it.

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WAIT 6 REASONS:-
Gone are the days when pressured mothers stuffed globs of cereal into the tight mouths of reluctant six-week-olds. Nowadays parents feed their baby on the timetable that is developmentally and nutritionally correct — as determined by their baby. Don’t be in a rush to start solids. Here are some good reasons for waiting.

1. Baby’s intestines need to mature. The intestines are the body’s filtering system, screening out potentially harmful substances and letting in healthy nutrients. In the early months, this filtering system is immature. Between four and seven months a baby’s intestinal lining goes through a developmental growth spurt called closure, meaning the intestinal lining becomes more selective about what to let through. To prevent potentially-allergenic foods from entering the bloodstream, the maturing intestines secrete IgA , a protein immunoglobulin that acts like a protective paint, coating the intestines and preventing the passage of harmful allergens. In the early months, infant IgA production is low (although there is lots of IgA in human milk), and it is easier for potentially-allergenic food molecules to enter the baby’s system. Once food molecules are in the blood, the immune system may produce antibodies to that food, creating a food allergy . By six to seven months of age the intestines are more mature and able to filter out more of the offending allergens. This is why it’s particularly important to delay solids if there is a family history of food allergy, and especially to delay the introduction of foods to which other family members are allergic.

2. Young babies have a tongue-thrust reflex . In the first four months the tongue thrust reflex protects the infant against choking. When any unusual substance is placed on the tongue, it automatically protrudes outward rather than back. Between four and six months this reflex gradually diminishes, giving the glob of cereal a fighting chance of making it from the tongue to the tummy. Not only is the mouth-end of baby’s digestive tract not ready for early solids, neither is the lower end.

3. Baby’s swallowing mechanism is immature.
Another reason not to rush solids is that the tongue and the swallowing mechanisms may not yet be ready to work together. Give a spoonful of food to an infant less than four months, and she will move it around randomly in her mouth, pushing some of it back into the pharynx where it is swallowed, some of it into the large spaces between the cheeks and gums, and some forward between the lips and out onto her chin. Between four and six months of age, most infants develop the ability to move the food from the front of the mouth to the back instead of letting it wallow around in the mouth and get spit out. Prior to four months of age, a baby’s swallowing mechanism is designed to work with sucking, but not with chewing.

4. Baby needs to be able to sit up. In the early months, babies associate feeding with cuddling. Feeding is an intimate interaction, and babies often associate the feeding ritual with falling asleep in arms or at the breast. The change from a soft, warm breast to a cold, hard spoon may not be welcomed with an open mouth. Feeding solid foods is a less intimate and more mechanical way of delivering food. It requires baby to sit up in a highchair – a skill which most babies develop between five and seven months. Holding a breastfed baby in the usual breastfeeding position may not be the best way to start introducing solids, as your baby expects to be breastfed and clicks into a “what’s wrong with this picture?” mode of food rejection.

5. Young infants are not equipped to chew. Teeth seldom appear until six or seven months, giving further evidence that the young infant is designed to suck rather than to chew. In the pre-teething stage, between four and six months, babies tend to drool, and the drool that you are always wiping off baby’s face is rich in enzymes, which will help digest the solid foods that are soon to come.

6. Older babies like to imitate caregivers
. Around six months of age, babies like to imitate what they see. They see you spear a veggie and enjoy chewing it. They want to grab a fork and do likewise.

Like all children there are growth spurts, babies too! There are times when they are hungrier but this isn’t the sign they need solid food. Just pay attention and is if this is a consistent behavior and more than a growth spurt. If you decide it is more than just a “hungry day” it may be baby is ready for solids. If this is the case, please remember they need breast milk and formula still!

Baby’s nutrients mostly come from breast milk or formula. It is their main source of nutrients and they still require it through out the first year of their life. Theoretically, babies can begin solid foods between four and six months of age. This is not a hard and fast rule however, so if baby hasn’t begun to exhibited signs of being ready, don’t push. Each baby is different. Here are just a few of the signs that might signal baby is ready to begin solid foods, again don’t pressure or push your child.

*Adequate Neck Control
The first thing a baby has to have is neck control. If they look like a bobble head doll, they are not ready for solid food.your baby will be able to sit upright and keep the head in position for a long time.   Your baby will sit safely when you have the proper support.

If a baby has a wobbly head they are not able to swallow anything thicker than milk and to eat solid food they must be able to swallow food thicker than milk. If a baby eats solids too soon without the proper control needed they could choke.

*Reflux and Chewing
All babies’ naturally push things out of their mouth; it is natural for babies when feeding with a bottle or nipple to push things out of their mouth. It’s just the way for baby’s to prevent themselves from choking. When the reflux kicks in they begin to stop pushing nipple or bottle from their mouths.

The “extrusion reflex” cease: Your baby will no longer use his tongue out of his mouth milk or formula.

Shall be seen chewing movements. The tongue and mouth of babies is developed while your digestive system, like their teeth.

Your baby has a good appetite.
Before a baby can actually eat they need to learn to chew and this takes place when they can push the back of their mouth where it heads south to the stomach courtesy of that swallowing reflux. It’s just a matter of time. The chewing motion is a good sign that baby is ready to eat solid food. You can’t make it happen; it comes when your baby is developmentally ready.

*Weight Gain:Weight gain your baby will be significantly noticeable.
When the weight of your baby has doubled, they could be ready for foods. A rule of thumb many doctors give mothers. This alone is not a sure sign, but when it is combined with other indicators, the solid food stage is close at hand. Pay close attention and ask your pediatrician.

* Curious about the food they eat as adults.

*Individuality
Each baby is different
. If your baby is close to six months of age and not eating solids, be patient. Breast milk and formula is adequate and there is not hurry or rush. Eating more breast milk or formula will not harm your baby. When it is time for solid foods your baby will let you know. Continue to watch for the signals and pay attention to your baby’s cues.

Starting your baby on solid foods is the beginning of lifelong eating habits that contribute to your baby’s overall health. Here are general guidelines that can help you start your baby out on the right track to a healthy life. Starting baby solid foods and feeding schedule too early can cause your baby to develop food allergies.
But this is also not very true in all cases but one must start very slowly after 3to 4 months minimum one’s baby otherwise fit for it.

Resources:
http://organicbabyproducts101.com/starting-baby-food/
http://hubpages.com/hub/When-to-start-Solid-foods-for-baby-and-Baby-Feeding-Schedule
http://www.nordoniapreschoolparents.com/guide-to-the-baby-feeding-starting-solid-foods.htm

http://www.askdrsears.com/html/3/T032000.asp

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Hunger for Air

“I can’t breathe,” said the woman, panic stricken and one hand clutched at her chest. Her forehead was lined with sweat and fear of death etched on her face. Breathing, after all, is essential for life.

CLICK & SEE

We take breathing or respiration for granted. It is an involuntary, autonomous and automatic reflex that is present from birth to death. We can consciously take deep or shallow breaths, but we cannot stop breathing at will. In short, you cannot commit suicide by voluntarily ceasing to breathe.

Breathing difficulty is a perception. Some people may have fairly severe lung restriction, but be able to continue their normal activities. Others may feel breathless with the slightest unaccustomed exertion. This is more likely to occur if the person is unfit, obese and unaccustomed to exercise. A sudden “panic attack” owing to an external factor can be “breath stopping”. High altitudes and high temperature can also cause similar problems.

Breathing difficulty can occur suddenly because of a foreign body like a peanut which has got lodged in the food pipe. This then becomes a medical emergency. Immediately stand behind the person, make a fist with both hands and exert a sudden forceful upward thrust in the stomach area below the chest bone (sternum). This is called a “Heimlich maneuver” and it has saved many lives.

Mucous secretions — watery in case of viral infections and allergy, and thick and viscous in case of secondary bacterial infection — can clog the nasal passages and bronchi. Some of these secretions can drip backwards into the throat, causing a post nasal drip with a sense of suffocation.

The nasal passages can be cleared with nose drops. It is important to use saline nasal drops. This is commercially manufactured by many companies. It needs to be used every two hours. Nasal drops containing chemicals may provide faster relief. But as the effect wears off, they may cause “rebound congestion” with worse blockage. Long-term frequent usage of chemical nose drops may cause habituation, wherein the body stops responding to the medication. If the nasal block is due to an allergy, prescribed locally acting steroid nasal sprays are very effective.

The bronchi can narrow in response to exposure to ingested allergens like peanuts and food colour, or inhaled ones like cigarette or wood smoke, room fresheners and mosquito repellents. This is called reactive airways disease or asthma.

Smokers may have damaged their lungs structure permanently, causing a disease called COAD (chronic obstructive airways disease). This sets in around 20-30 years after the first puff. It attacks people in their 40s and 50s. They become breathless with exertion and sometimes even at rest. Some require continuous artificial oxygen supply.

Initially — that is, before damage sets in — airway constriction is reversible. Inhalers or rotahalers deliver relief producing bronchodilating medication directly to the bronchi. The respite is immediate and sustained if the medication is “puffed” as prescribed. Direct delivery systems make medication more effective and are less likely to cause side effects.

The rate of breathing increases during pregnancy because of the oxygen demand of the baby. Moreover, pregnancy causes the uterus to enlarge which pushes the abdominal contents upwards. This may cause a feeling of inadequacy while breathing. This is self-limited and disappears with delivery.

Congenital heart disease, heart failure and myocarditis (disease of the heart muscles) can cause difficulty in breathing and a feeling of air hunger. This is because a failing heart provides inefficient circulation of blood and insufficient oxygenation to the tissues of the body. The blood carrying capacity of the body itself may be compromised because of anaemia. Specific medication for the diseases will help with the problem.

Breathlessness needs to be evaluated if:

The difficulty occurred suddenly for no apparent reason

• It was accompanied by chest discomfort, pain or pressure

• It comes with a slight exertion or at rest

• There is an inability to lie down flat and sleep

• It is accompanied by fever

• There is pressure, fullness or a squeezing pain in the chest.

Good breathing techniques require the co-ordinated use of intercostals (groups of muscles that run between the ribs, and help form and move the chest wall), diaphragm and stomach muscles. As the breath goes in, the intercostals and stomach expand and the latter moves outwards. And as we breathe out, the chest contracts, the diaphragm moves up and the stomach moves in. Breathing is a natural response and occurs normally and naturally in children. As age advances, we tend to lose the ability to breathe efficiently.

Long hours at work seated in a sloppy posture, obesity or an inactive life without the mandatory one hour of aerobic activity (running, swimming, jogging or cycling) results in inefficient and inadequate breathing, even in a normal individual.

Place a hand on your abdomen, stand in front of a mirror and breathe in and out to check if your breathing is correct. Consciously correct deficiencies and practise breathing exercises (yoga pranayam) for a healthier tomorrow.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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