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Babies Babies For Parents Health & Nutrition

Is it Okay to Feed Solids to Babies Below 6 Months Old?  

At four months old, your baby is starting to become more active and even show some signs of wanting to wean, expressing interest in adult food or being able to sit up with support. However, waiting a little longer might be a good thing before rushing to feed your baby with solids.

 

Currently, it is recommended that babies be fed either breast milk or formula milk exclusively for at least the first six months of life, and solid food is added as a complement to milk up to at least one-year-old. This opinion is supported by many established organisations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

 

After a baby reaches six months of age, the amount of iron in breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula is insufficient for his daily requirements. As such, solid food can be introduced to complement the main diet of breast milk or formula milk.

Newborns should be fed on an exclusive diet of either breast milk or formula milk.

Reasons Why Solid Food should be Introduced at Six Months Old

1. Baby’s digestive system will be more mature

Babies below six months old have immature digestive systems and do not have the proper gut bacteria to process solid food smoothly. Feeding anything but breastmilk or infant formula milk before six months old permanently alters this gut microbiota, causing potential problems like allergies or diarrhoea.

 

Enzymes to aid in digestion are not produced until three to four months old. Enzymes that break down complicated fats, carbohydrates and starches are not be produced until six to nine months old, resulting in fussiness from the baby when their tummy feels uncomfortable as a result of indigestion.

 

It is also the reason why breastfeeding until six months is recommended, as it allows beneficial antibodies to coat the baby’s digestive tract and provide immunity to diseases.

 

2. Baby is likelier to be physically ready

When babies less than six months old are fed solid food, it can be dangerous as their oral muscles are not fully developed. They still possess the extrusion (tongue-thrust) reflex which helps to protect them from food and choking. This means that they tend to push out food the moment it is placed into their mouths.

 

At six months old, they should be able to sit upright without support, and will likely have lost the extrusion reflex.

 

If you are doing traditional weaning, start with vegetable or fruit puree mixed with some formula milk or breast milk.

3. Lesser risk of obesity, diabetes, respiratory and ear infections
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life has been shown to protect against childhood obesity and diabetes, among other diseases. A baby’s risk of becoming overweight decreases with each passing month that he is exclusively breastfed.

 

4. Deprives them of their primary nutrition source

Feeding solids to very young babies fill up their stomach quickly, leaving lesser space for breastmilk or infant formula which has been fortified with the types of nutrients that young babies require. Feeding solid food at too young an age means they will not be able to take in enough nutrients that are only present in milk, resulting in potential nutritional deficiencies.

 

Formula milk in Singapore meets the nutritional requirements set by local health authorities. Einmilk is a made-in-Singapore brand of formula with a range of milk powder that caters to babies, toddlers and young children so they obtain essential nutrients in their diet.

 

There is no harm in delaying the introduction of solid food until your baby turns six months old to maintain an optimal infant gut flora which supports the immune system. After all, they have the rest of their life to enjoy solid food, so there’s really no need to rush into it.

 

There are exceptions where babies start on solids before six months old, and parents usually do so under the recommendation of their child’s doctor or nutritionist. Should your baby have any medical condition, always seek advice from a medical expert about starting solids before the baby turns six months old.

 

Check this guide to see if your 6-month-old baby is ready for solids!

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Babies Babies For Parents Health & Nutrition

Did You Know that Babies Can Have Free Immunisation in Singapore?

Parents in Singapore are provided with a checklist of vaccinations for their child. At birth, newborns receive their first few shots to protect them.

 

Vaccines are made from the same viruses that cause disease. However, the viruses are in an altered state which encourage the immune system to produce antibodies to the particular disease while not causing the actual illness.

 

With the creation of these antibodies, the body can fight back if they ever come into contact with the disease in future. This, combined with exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months, helps to boost your baby’s immune system.

 

Vaccination in Singapore – are they compulsory?

 

In Singapore, parents need to note that the Diphtheria and measles vaccinations are compulsory by law.

 

Immunisation records are tracked by the National Immunisation Registry and are required for submission when children enter childcare, preschool and primary school. The Registry also monitors and ensures that every child gets vaccinated at the appropriate timing. If your child receives vaccinations at the polyclinic, the records will be automatically updated. If taken elsewhere, the records have to be updated by the paediatrician.

If your child is a Singapore Citizen, compulsory vaccinations at polyclinics are free of charge!

The compulsory vaccinations listed in the National Childhood Immunisation Programme are fully subsidised for Singapore Citizens if taken at a polyclinic.

 

Vaccinations – are they completely free, or do we have to pay for some of them?

 

At the polyclinic, if there are any developmental check-ups required on the day of the vaccination, it will also be fully subsidised. Parents usually just pay under a dollar for the paracetamol, which can be fed should a fever develop after the injections.

 

If you choose to vaccinate your child at the paediatrician or General Practitioner (GP), it will not be fully subsidised.

 

Many paediatricians offer a package deal for vaccinations and developmental checkups if your baby is not eligible for the subsidies under the National Childhood Immunisation Programme. The package is usually Medisave-deductible.

 

Among the fully subsidised vaccinations, there is a 5-in-1 injection that combines vaccines against Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus (DPT), Polio and Haemophilus Influenza type B (Hib) into 1 injection. The Hepatitis B vaccine is administered as a separate injection and provides lifelong immunity, whereas other vaccines may require a booster shot later in life.

 

There is a 6-in-1 injection that includes Hepatitis B but is not subsidised for citizens. However, this can be considered to spare your baby from an additional jab.

Recommended vaccinations that are

fully-subsidised (for Singapore citizens)

Recommended vaccinations that are

non-subsidised

Tuberculosis* Pneumococcal
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis,

Haemophilus Influenzae Type b, Poliomyelitis

 

 

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
Hepatitis B  

 

Source:https://www.nhgp.com.sg/Our_Services/General_Medical_Services/Child_Health_Services/

 

In the list, only the Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended yet it is non-subsidised. There are a total of three injections and each costs $150 if they are taken at a polyclinic.

 

The pneumoccocal disease is a bacterial infection that often starts with a high fever and can lead to life threatening illnesses such as pneumonia and meningitis. It is the leading cause of infectious disease amongst children worldwide.

 

Although it is non-subsidised, it can be paid through Medisave or via the child’s Child Development Account(CDA), reducing the strain on your wallet. Children who are Singapore citizens receive $3,000 – $4,000 in Medisave grants from the government to defray their healthcare expenses.

Certain vaccinations, such as the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine may cause fever in children.

Common side-effects after immunisation

 

Vaccines are generally safe to take, and severe reactions are extremely rare.

 

Some babies may develop a sore armour feel lethargic after the vaccines. It is common for babies to develop a fever about a week after the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination.

 

After vaccination, the baby’s diet should remain the same. Some babies may adjust their milk intake, so parents will need to ensure that a balanced diet is offered either through breast milk, formula milk and/or solids. Breastfeeding mums may notice that their babies may wish to nurse more frequently or prefer comfort latching after the injections.

 

Knowing that there is free immunisation for our children is good news for parents. Besides the benefits of protecting them against potentially life-threatening diseases, every cent of saving counts when it comes to raising children.

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For Parents Health & Nutrition Pregnant Pregnant

Tips on Managing Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy

Singapore has one of the highest rates of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) in the world, affecting one in five births.

 

The condition is characterised by abnormal or elevated glucose readings which occur during pregnancy and is usually discovered through an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) taken between Week 24 and Week 28 of the pregnancy.

 

Mothers with the condition have an increased risk of high blood pressure, pre-term labour and stillbirth. They are also at risk of developing diabetes after delivery. Furthermore, children born from GDM pregnancies are likelier to be obese as children and develop Type 2 Diabetes subsequently in life.

 

Therefore, early detection and proper management of the condition is imperative to keep it under control and minimise the risks to mother and child.

 

Gestational diabetes is a possible pregnancy complication, usually detected between 26 to 28 weeks of gestation via an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT).

 

#1 – Ensuring a healthy diet
If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, a healthy diet is necessary. Instead of three main meals, have smaller but more frequent meals. As essential nutrients for pregnant mums are vital for the healthy growth and development of your baby, you can consult a nutritionist to customise a meal plan according to your health condition and needs.

 

Pregnant mums will likely need to monitor the amount of carbohydrates consumed per day, as over-consumption may cause a spike in blood sugar. Consuming more foods with a low glycemic load helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. If you do not take meat, there are vegetarian meal ideas as well. Also, do keep in mind the foods to avoid during pregnancy.

 

#2 – Keep a food log
As you will need to track your blood sugar levels daily, keeping a food log documents the types of food which correlate to blood sugar levels. You’ll be able to find out what type of food causes spikes in blood sugar and avoid consuming them.

 

#3 – Cut down on sweet drinks
Sweet drinks are a fast way to spike your sugar level, which is why you should cut them off until you’re cleared of gestational diabetes. Sweet drinks extend to sweetened tea, fruit juices and any drinks with added sugar. It is safest to stick to water, which helps pregnant mums to stay hydrated. On average, you need about 2.3 litres of fluid per day.

 

#4 – Exercise!
Exercising plays a part in regulating the body’s insulin output and in turn, blood sugar levels. There are many simple exercises that can be done in the comfort of your home, or simply sign up for prenatal exercise classes to keep active with fellow pregnant mums.

 

#5 – Find a support group
Gestational diabetes can be tricky. Finding a support group with other pregnant women suffering from the same condition can help – you can share meal plans, meet up for lunch and you’ll know that you are not the only one suffering from the condition. Most pregnant women have safe pregnancies and deliver healthy, term babies.

 

#6 – Ensure that your condition is monitored closely
Having gestational diabetes means that your baby may be at an increased risk of excessive birth weight, which may result in complicated labour or C-section. This happens when excess glucose in your bloodstream crosses the placenta and triggers your baby’s pancreas to create more insulin. This results in a largerbaby, and may pose potential pregnancy risks and complications during delivery.

 

Thus, it is important that you attend all scheduled gynaecological appointments to keep a close track on your baby’s predicted birth weight and make appropriate adjustments.

 

Gestational diabetes typically disappears after childbirth but may persist in some mothers, who may need to follow up with regular check-ups.

Gestational diabetes can be successfully managed with proper guidance from healthcare professionals and a supportive network.

 

Mummies who were diagnosed with withgestational diabetes, do share some tips on how you coped with the condition in the comments below!