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How should I feed my baby after joining work?

Q: I have a 4 and a half months old daughter. I am planning to return to work next month. I have started giving her solid food twice a day. I would like to continue breastfeeding even after I go back to work. I have started giving formula food since 2 days, but only once a day. I have following questions: 1. How much of formula food should we give her when I am away? 2. How I should prepare myself for not breast-feeding during daytime? 3. How can I keep some amount of breast milk even if I am not able to feed my baby during the day? 4. Is there any meal plan for the child which we can follow? 5. When can I start her on fruits and vegetables?

A:The basic ingredient in most commercial baby milk preparations is cow's milk which has been modified to make it as similar to mother's milk as possible. Select a formula that is closest to human milk in composition, i.e. in the type and proportion of proteins, fats, sugars, sodium, etc. Choose a formula that dissolves easily in boiled water without leaving any granules. Special formulas are available for babies with milk allergies or metabolic disorders. Do not use any formula without the approval of your baby's physician. Do not use home-made formula because formula made from fresh milk sugar and water will not be as good as human milk. It will not nourish your baby and may impose a severe strain on the babys immature kidneys. Avoid condensed milk preparations and those that contain excessive sugar and have poor nutritional value. Skimmed milk powders are not advisable because of their low energy content. Put the necessary amount of boiled water in the bottle. Add the required amount of milk powder to the water. Use the measures indicated on the box. Remember to level the spoonfuls with a knife. It is important that you stick to instructions and do not give more than the amount of milk powder than is recommended. If you do, the feed may become too rich for the baby. Your baby will begin to feel thirsty and become restless. Expressed breast milk can be stored for at least 8 hours at room temperature without going bad. Store the breast milk in a sterilized plastic container in the refrigerator. If you do not intend to use the expressed milk in the next 48 hours, chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and then put it in the freezer. Breast milk can stay fresh in the freezer for a week or two. You should not keep milk expressed at different times in the same container. When storing the milk, label each container with the date on which the milk was expressed. Use the oldest milk first. Breast milk does not need to be boiled. It is already sterile. When you are ready to feed the baby, you should heat the expressed milk in a bottle (not heat it directly). Some doctors advise against heating the breast milk in the microwave oven. You should also not keep reheating the same milk. The purpose of weaning is to not only introduce the baby to regular food, but also to develop a wide range of tastes in the baby. Therefore, instead of sticking to the same diet everyday, it is good to vary the diet with different foods. However, do not introduce different foods at the same time. In fact, introduce only one new food each week and try it for a few days. The reason is that you will know if the child is tolerating that food well, or if it does not suit him. Mashed fruits are a good first weaning food. They are easy to digest and palatable to the baby. - Mashed bananas: Bananas should be mashed, and then given plain or mixed with malai (cream) or milk. Start with quarter banana, and increase it every week until the baby accepts it. - Boiled and mashed apples: You can also offer apples instead of bananas to your baby. Take an apple and cut it into pieces, taking care to remove the centre core. Boil it and then mash it either with a spoon or in a mixer. Start with half an apple and increase it to the limit accepted by the child. It has been observed that apples causes constipation in many babies. In this case, try other fruits like papaya. - Other seasonal fruits: Other seasonal fruits like pears (to be prepared like apples), chikoo (simply mashed), papaya (simply mashed), mango (simply mashed) can also be given. It has been observed that papaya helps soften stools if the baby is constipated. - Mashed and well-cooked vegetables: Vegetables can be added to the baby's diet a week or so after introducing fruits. Vegetables should first be boiled, then mashed in a blender, and then strained. (It is important to strain the vegetables until the baby is about 7 months old. After the baby is 7 months, straining is not required because vegetable fibre is very nutritious and contains certain useful substances). Begin with a couple of spoons and then gradually increase the quantity every succeeding week to the limit accepted by the baby. Dark green leafy vegetables, carrots and pumpkin are very healthy. There is no need to add salt to the vegetables, since there is enough sodium in the vegetables. The baby's body is not ready to handle too much salt in the first few months of life. Ghee, butter or cooking oil can also be added for flavour as well as for calories. Vegetables like spinach are high in iron. In order to improve the absorption of iron into the baby's system, you need to give vitamin C. Vegetables like tomato and cauliflower contain vitamin C and therefore can be a good complement to spinach.


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