From your baby's first smile, to its first spoonful, there is plenty to look forward to in those initial six months of parenthood.
Within a few weeks of the birth, you should notice a change in how your baby interacts, as they will begin to take more notice of your voice, face and touch. Your baby will be able to hear perfectly, and will turn his or her head in recognition of familiar sounds. Movement is limited at this stage, and the head and neck will need constant support. Your baby will only need breast milk and formula for the first few months of its life. This will allow the digestive system to fully develop in order to cope with solid foods, including those made into purees and cereals mixed with milk. Breast milk gives your baby extra protection against infection and provides numerous health benefits for both of you.
At the three-month mark, your baby will be smiling, imitating your facial expressions and actively enjoy playtime. This is the time to talk to your baby, as he or she will babble and mimic the noises you make. Talk about your day, describe certain objects and read books together. Your baby should be able to hold his head upright by himself, open and close his hands, and try to reach hanging objects. At around six months, your baby should be ready for solid food. Some signs of this include: chewing fists, being able to swallow food, and ability to stay in a sitting position and holding their head up by themselves. As your baby's organs, immune system and other vital body systems are at an important development stage, your choice of which solids to provide is very important. Melanie Hargraves, nutritionist and dietican for HiPP, believes organic is best: 'With so much important growth occurring, it's good to know that by feeding organic you are feeding pure, natural and healthy foods with no harmful chemical pesticide residues or other unwanted extras.' Good solid foods to begin with are soft fruit and vegetables such as potato, parsnip, peach, carrot, banana, apple and pear. You can also mix your normal breast milk or formula with baby cereal and rice.