Childcare and Baby's Diet
No matter what type of childcare you choose for your baby, making sure that your baby is fed the diet you prefer is always an issue. As infants, babies are usually breastfed, bottle fed or some combination of both but these feedings are usually on a defined scheduled.
As babies grow, solid foods are often introduced at around four to six months of age. This means that you must oversee a balanced diet for your baby as well as watch out for allergies and determine what foods your baby likes and dislikes. The childcare you choose for your baby must be able to help with these things.
Childcare Options For BabiesThe type of childcare that you choose for your baby will likely depend upon a number of factors including budget, location, size, hours of availability and much more.
Common childcare options for babies include nurseries, which will generally accept a child who is aged six weeks or older; childminders, who can only look after three children under the age of five at one time; nannies, who usually look after a child in his or her own home and may have specific training and qualifications; au pairs, who are usually foreign young women and have no specific childcare training, and mother’s helpers, who are usually members of the local community who will help out with a baby for a few hours per week while a parent is close by.
Baby’s Liquid DietIn the first few months of life babies are fed an exclusively liquid diet. This liquid may be breast milk, formula or some combination of both. Childcare options that routinely accept young babies should be well versed in preparing and feeding babies bottles that contain expressed breast milk or formula, or even a combination of such bottles throughout the day.
Childcare facilities should not preach at parents about their choice of diet for their baby, such as by insisting that “breast is best” or telling parents that the only happy baby is a healthy baby who breastfeeds. Instead, carers should respect the choices of the parents and attempt to transition to the baby to feeding with them as quickly and seamlessly as possible. When a baby is being cared for privately it is often easier for him or her to remain on the feeding schedule that the parent has established while babies in larger childcare facilities may learn to “re-set” to the schedule best suited for the facility.
Babies and Solid FoodsAt around four to six months of age many babies are introduced to solid foods. When parents decide to introduce such foods into their baby’s diet they must alert their childcare providers to this. Similarly, if parents are going to continue with a liquid diet until a set point in time then sharing this information will also be helpful.
When childcare providers know that the introduction of solid foods is occurring they can help watch out for any unknown food allergies, observe if a baby seems to enjoy a particular food or not and help ensure that baby gets a balanced diet during this time.
If it is found that a baby has a food allergy, this must be communicated to childcare providers immediately so that special care can be taken with the preparation and serving of that baby’s food. If parents prefer to send in special food for their baby, particularly if this is not the norm at a childcare facility, then speaking to someone about why and how the parent would like to do this will help keep everyone on friendly terms and on the same page about the baby’s diet.
A healthy baby eats a balanced diet and whether this balance comes from breast milk, formula, solid foods or some combination thereof parents should advise their childcare providers early about their preferences for their babies’ diets. Together, parents and childcare providers can help babies feed most efficiently, not to mention enjoyably.