Questions & answers
One baby, endless questions
Being a mom is hard. Especially being a new one. Does
the baby breathe at night? Is he eating too much? Should I clean his nose,
reheat his food, wash his toys?
Don’t worry. We have got you covered. We asked the Slovene paediatrician Denis Baš, MD, to
answer some of the most frequently asked questions about new born babies and
Denis Baš, MD, is a specialist pediatrician who works with school and pre-school children in the children's day clinic at Kamnik Medical Centre. He performs ultrasound of baby hips, gives lectures for moms-to-be and is a big supporter of the rational use of antibiotics for children.
Spend less time researching and more time enjoying the happy moments motherhood brings.
How do I prepare baby milk if the babysometimes cannot be breastfed?
Breast milk is the
preferred food for newborns for several reasons. Despite a vast amount of research,its composition is still not fully explained. Manufacturersare trying to make substitute milk composition closer to breast milk, but
breastfeeding and breast milk remain gold standards for human newborns and
infants. There are various circumstances in which mothers cannot breastfeed (babies born prematurely, breast abnormalities, return to to
work etc). In these cases we recommendexpressing the milk by hand, or
by means of manual or electric pumps. Once it has been expressed, breast milk must be stored.
Babies can be breastfed easily. When I try to
squeeze my milk, only a small amount comes out. What am I doing wrong?
If you have already
tried to squeeze milk but it is not enough, it does not mean that you do not
have enough milk. The feeling during squeezing and manual expression are different from the feeling when your baby is
suckling, so for squeezing milk you need exercise. For
more relaxed and better efficiency you can try a variety of methods, such as expressing by hand, using a hand pump and electrical / double pump. To stimulate the formation of milk before squeezing, you can place hot pads on your breast while listeningto relaxing music and gently massaging the breasts.
How do I store the expressed milk properly?
To ensure your baby’s food is safe, store expressed milk properly until use, even when you cannot breastfeed. Before expressing,wash your hands and clean all the equipmentthat you use for this task in order to avoid bacterial contamination. Store the
extracted milk in small pots (60-120 ml), big enough for single meals. On the container,
write the date and time the milk was
expressed, so that you knowwhen it needs to be used by.Expressed milk is safein a closed container for up to 6 hours at room temperature, in a refrigerator (4°C)
for 3-5 days and in a
freezer (-18°C) for up
to 3 months. Once frozen milk is defrosted, it can be stored in the
refrigerator for 24 hours, but never refrozen.
How do I prepare stored expressed milk before using it?
Stored expressedmilk must be heated properly before the baby drinks it. The best milk temperature
for feeding the baby is 37°C. Check its heat by dropping
a bit of milk on your wrist, where you usually measure your heart rate. Expressedmilk should not be heated at a temperature above 40°C, as nutrients
are destroyed this way.
The best way to reheat the milk is to place the bottle under hot running water,
or place it for some time in a pot containing hot water. You
can also use a special heating device, which is intended for warming bottles.
Once the bottle is heated, shake it gently. This will equalise the
temperature of the content and, at the same time, mix the fat that is separated
from the remaining liquid in stored milk.
Can breast milk be warmed up in a microwave?
Reheating breast milk in
a microwave is not recommended because microwaves can destroy some of its
beneficial properties and nutrients. It should also not be over heated or cooked. The easiest way to control
the milk temperature is by steam - heating the milk or by immersing it in hot water, continuously checking its temperature on yourwrist.
How long do I have to heat the bottle of milk when placed in hot water?
When the bottle of milk
is placed in hot water, it is usually necessary to wait about 15 minutes for the contents
to be warmed up to the
appropriate temperature for the baby’s
feed. Milk temperature must be checked regularly on the wrist. During heating, the bottle must be shaken
repeatedly to ensure its contents are heated evenly and that the fat is mixed
with the remaining liquid.
My child puts everything he can reach in his mouth. Do I have to stop him from doing this?
Parents are often
worried because their small children put anything they lay their hands on into their mouths. In child development,
using the mouth is an important
stage in gainingexperience and exploring the world. With his/hermouth, a child discovers new stimuli in discovering shapes, textures or tastes.
There is nothing wrong with this. Of course, it must be
ensured that the objects are large enough, not sharp and made of safe
materials. Parents also worry that the child will become infected in this way.
In any case, it is advisable that objects handled daily by the child are occasionally thoroughly
cleaned and disinfected. One of the procedures for this
in a natural way is the use of heating. Specially designed steam sterilisers can be used to disinfect.
How should I clean children's toys?
Children are in
daily contact with their favourite toys. Other children also play
with them and often the toys end up on the ground or in someone’s mouth.
They accompany children when they are eating or sleeping. They are particularly
priceless when the child is ill. Therefore, it is important that toys are often
Rubber toys are constant companions of the child's first steps in learning
about the world. These toys are also often useful in relieving pain during the growthof the first tooth. Because these toys are often in contact with the child's
mouth, it is important that they are cleaned regularly and properly. Wash them
under hot water using washing up liquid and disinfect them
occasionally in a steriliser.
You can wash plush and fabric toys in the washing machine. Use a hand washing
program and do not use too much detergent. Use a disinfectant intended for
washing children's clothes.
If toys cannot be washed with water, clean themfrom time to time with a
disinfectant spray that doesn't need to be rinsed. Before using it, check
whether the product may come into contact with small children.
When can I begin to introduce my child to solid food?
The best time to
introduce complementary (mixed) food to a baby who is still being breastfed is
when the child is older than 4 months. Before this age, the introduction of
mixed food must be absolutely discouraged, because the baby's digestive organs have not yet developed sufficiently. Research hasshown that it does not make any sense to wait too long and that it is necessary
to begin introducing solid food before the age of6 months. Breast milk does not provide any more optimal coverage of the baby's increased
demand for macro and micro nutrients (iron, zinc).
How should I go about introducing
children to solid food?
beginning, when introducing solid food, parents should
be particularly patient and persistent. During this time, mixed solid food represents a
new experience; exploring is not the main source of food. It is important that the child
gets used to different tastes, densities and textures of food. Traditionally,
in our environment, we begin to introduce vegetable-meat-potato porridge first.
Fruit and cereal grains are introduced some
because children prefer sweet taste and might refuse vegetables. Food must be introduced
at an interval of one week. Thisway, children usuallyget used to new flavours easily. At the same time it is possible to notice ifchildren have problems with specific foods.
beginning they will eat less than one teaspoon of food, some of them just two
to three, while others will eat more. It is all right. Food should be at room
temperature or a little warmer.
From 10 months of age upwards (if he already has teeth) a
child can be offered solid foods in addition to liquid and pureed foods. Meat,
fish, vegetables and fruit do not need to be mashed or pureed anymore but just
cut into small pieces.
What kind of porridges or purees should be introduced as solid foods first?
At the beginning, low allergenic food should be introduced: vegetables (courgettes, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, wild cabbage),
rice, corn flakes, meat (poultry, veal, colt, rabbit meat). Then we can proceed with fruit (apple, banana, pear).
For the first baby food we can prepare a rice porridge
that, due to its mild neutral taste, can be mixed with breast milk. When
children get used to the feeding spoon, after a week, it is possible to
continue with a mashed carrots or courgetteporridge, prepared as a separate vegetable puree or added in to rice and breast
milk. At weekly intervals, new foods can be gradually introduced. It is better
to introduce cereals containing gluten (wheat, oats), when the child is
predominantly breastfed or fed with extracted breast milk, therefore between 4
and 6 months. This way, the possibility ofthe child developing coeliac disease (intolerance to
gluten) is reduced.
What if the child doesn't like vegetable-based
perseverance must be our primary consideration in the implementation of
nutrition. Studies say that we have to offer a child a new flavor 7 to 11 times
and that we should not give up if the child sprinkles porridge on us and on
himself. When you offer your child the first spoonful of food, yet you do not
know exactly what he thinks about the new taste. During the first attempt, most
children initially tighten their lips and do not care about the importance of
that particular food taste. Therefore proceed only when the child opens his/her
mouth again. Be aware that at the time of the introduction of food nutrients the
child still receives the essential part of them from his/her mum's milk or formula
milk. Many parents give up after three attempts of food refusal, but perseverance will pay off.
How do I prepare my baby's first solid food?
The best thing to do is
to use fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits but frozen vegetables may be also
used. Vegetables are usually cooked in water or steamed. When cooking, do not
use salt or spices. When the food is cooked, mix it until is soft or mash it
into a thick porridge. Child development and growth need high quality fats,
therefore it is recommended to add vegetable oil (canola, olive, corn ) to
and meat-based foods. A teaspoon of oil must be added to the
porridge prepared for one meal portion (150-200 ml).
How do I prepare foods that my baby will love to eat?
the baby to solid food, the first and mostimportant thing is to choose the ingredientswisely to start
with. For the first meals, choose flavors that are not too strong or too
unusual. For vegetables select, for example, carrots, potatoes
or courgettes, and for fruit an apple or a banana. Citrus
fruits are probably too sour to start with. Itis also not
advisable to prepare food with cow's milk until the baby is at least six months
Food porridges can be prepared in a kitchen blender or with a fork. The
consistency must be dense and compact, but not liquid. Harder fruits and
vegetables must be steamed first. Avoid adding sugar or salt and stronger taste
spices. If you want to sweeten the porridgeslightly, add a
teaspoon of apple or pear pulp. Add vegetable oil to give flavor to vegetable
What is the best food for babies?
In addition to
food taste, we must ensure that the baby's food contains all the necessary
nutrients. Here are some general guidelines for
- Bread: after 10 months old
- Cow's milk: a standalone drink after 1 year old, small quantities even previously (preparation of cereal porridge, mashed potatoes)
- Gluten (wheat, wheat meal, rye, barley, oats, oat flakes, spelt, pasta): after 4 months together with breastfeeding
- Eggs (yolk and white): after 6 months old
- Sugar, salt: after 1 year old
- Honey: after 1 year old
- Fish: possible after 6 months old, as fresh as possible, young fish (e.g. mackerel, herring, sardines, salmon)
- Seafood: after 1 year old
A child’s nutrition must be balanced and must include a lot of vegetables, fruits and cereals. Red meat is the most important source of iron for our body. Here are some foods that contain a lot of certain vitamins or minerals:
- Vitamin A: carrots, kale, spinach
- Vitamin D: fish oil, oily sea fish, egg whites (we recommend replacing it with preparations of 400I vitamin D per day)
- Vitamin E: rapeseed, sunflower and corn oil, wheat sprouts, hazelnuts
- Vitamin K: green vegetables
- Vitamin B1: legumes, some fish, potatoes, oat flakes
- Vitamin B2: milk, milk products, eggs
- Vitamin C: fresh fruit (citrus fruits, gooseberries, blackcurrants), vegetables (peppers, broccoli, fennel, cabbage, spinach, tomato)
How can I check if my child is breathing during the
The child's body slows
down its functions at night, therefore it is sometimes very difficult to see if
the child is breathing. There is a trick you can use, to be sure that everything is all right: dampen your
index finger and place it just before the sleeping baby's nose. You will feel his/her
breath like a slight breeze.
I have noticed that my child often coughs during
the night. What can I do to make him/her
Coughing is a common companion of children. It is
generally associated with respiratory viral infections, and, therefore, is very
frequent in autumn and winter.
First, we must ensure that the child can breathe through his/her nose and not
through his/her mouth, because this will dry out the mucous membranes of the
throat further, causing the cough to worsen. We must ensure that
our child consumes enough fluids and that the placeswhere he/she sleeps are well ventilated. A relative
humidity of between 40-60% is recommended in living spaces.
Due to the heating, the air in our rooms is often too dry, causing the cough
symptoms to get worse while skin and mucous membranes become drier. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain an
adequate level of humidity. The trick that has been used since immemorial times,
is to place wet towels or even containers with water on the
radiator. Now, however, special devices are available - humidifiers - that
promptly supply humidity and provide favorable conditions in the room.
How should I clean my baby's stuffy nose?
A frequent nuisance for
small children is a stuffy and runny nose. The nose must be relieved from
congestion to make the child happy, breathe better and eat. If the child has a
stuffy nose or can't breathe through it properly,
it is recommended to clean it with a saline solution or with a hypertonic saline solution. It is important that
the solution is dripped or lightly sprayed into the nose and NOT injected with
high pressure. If we inject the solution into the nose with heavy pressure,
we'll push all the dirt into the tube that connects the ear to the nose area,
which will increase the risk of ear infection. When a child does not know how
to blow out the contents from his/her nose, these can be gently sucked out and the
dried secretions, visible at the end of the nasal openings, can be removed by
applying a gauze pad. To prevent a stuffy nose with dried nasal mucus, it is
important to have the right degree of humidity in the room where the child is.
Winter is at the door. How can I keep my baby healthy?
and winter, we stay indoors longer. With favourable temperatures for viruses spreading,
we are more under attack from pathogens of various
infections. These viral infections can be especially hard for babies and young
children who do not yet have a fortified immune system. In order to protect our
little ones as much as possible against infections, we should keep in mind a
few simple principles.
Anyway, it is wise to avoid areas with a large flow of people (shopping centres,
playgrounds etc), especially in periods when there is a high
probability that there are quite ill or contagious people in the crowd. Most
viruses are transmitted through the air and many are spread by
the touch of our hands. Therefore, it is important to wash hands, stay in the open
air and avoid sick children. For newborns and babies, visits by
children who are in collective institutes must be avoided.
Strengthen your immune system by eating a balanced diet, with plenty of fruits,
vegetables and, if necessary, nutritional supplements (vitamin D). Physical
activity as well as a sufficient amount of sleep strengthen our immune system
Can a dummy harm my child?
Like every medal, using a
dummy also has two sides. Above all, there is no evidence that children who
suck dummies breastfeed for less time or less successfully. But it is known
that children who used a dummy after 1 year old have more
irregularities in forming their bite. However, the choice whether the child should
have a dummy or not is up to the parents. If the child
doesn't feel the need to have a dummy or doesn't want one, it
should not be pushed into his/her mouth. The best thing to do is to not overdo it and offer the dummy to the child when he really
needs it. After 1 year old, using a dummy is not recommended because of its impact
on the development of the teeth. It is also important that the child takes the dummy
out of his/her mouth when going to sleep. Dummies must be washed repeatedly and disinfected periodically, in order to remove all (in)visible impurities accumulated