The purpose of this lesson is to introduce us to what pregnant and breastfeeding women should eat and how to feed a baby.
Food for pregnant women
- Show visual 23-a, “Good nutrition is important for mother and baby”.
A pregnant woman should make sure to eat foods that will help her and her baby stay healthy. She should make sure to eat foods from each of the five categories every day. These five categories are (1) bread and cereals, (2) vegetables, (3) fruits, (4) dairy products and (5) meat, poultry, fish and nuts. Pregnant women should be sure to drink enough water to avoid dehydration. Women who choose their food carefully usually have stronger, healthier babies than those who don’t eat properly.Ask the sisters to name several foods from each category and then plan a meal for a pregnant woman. Make sure they include a variety of foods from each of the five categories.
Why is it important for pregnant women to eat well?
“If the mother does not eat well and does not consume enough food that the baby needs, the baby will not develop as it should.
“Infant mortality rates, which are the number of babies who die in their first year, are high in many developing countries. These high rates are caused by problems with hygiene, the spread of infections and malnutrition. However, even in developed countries… When pregnant women eat well, the infant mortality rate declines. If the mother is malnourished during her pregnancy, especially if she is very young, there is a greater chance that her baby will be small and weigh little at birth. The chances of dying soon after birth are much higher for a low birth weight baby. The diet of the mother-to-be has a huge influence on the health of her baby.Relief Society Manual for 1973–1974, Home Economics Lesson 9).
Generally, breast milk is best for the infant
Our Heavenly Father designed the woman’s body to give milk. This milk is produced especially to feed the baby. It is better than milk of animal origin. The first liquid that comes out of the mother’s breasts when the baby is born is also important. It contains substances that protect the baby against diseases during the very first months.Sometimes, for health reasons, a mother cannot breastfeed her child. One can then use cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or specially formulated milk. But the mother must be very careful about the freshness of the milk. She should breastfeed her baby if she can. The mother’s diet influences the quantity of her milk. If she eats well and drinks enough water she can usually have enough milk to feed her baby.
- Why do some mothers not breastfeed their child? Why is the fluid before milk production good for the baby? Besides diet and disease prevention,
What are the other benefits of breastfeeding?
If the mother cannot breastfeed her child, she will give him another type of milk. Most of the time this is done by bottle (later he will drink from a cup). The use of the bottle requires the following precautions:
Make sure the bottle is clean. If it falls on the floor, or if flies land on the teat and leave germs there, the baby risks becoming ill. Wash bottles in hot, soapy water and rinse well.
Use clean water. When milk is mixed with water that is not safe to drink, the child can pick up germs from the water and get sick. If there is a risk that the water is not safe to drink, always boil it for twenty minutes, and let it cool before feeding the baby.
If the milk is spoiled, throw it away and get fresh milk.
Read condensed or powdered milk labels and use the right amount of water. Children get sick if their milk is not diluted enough or if it is too diluted. Do not add too much water to save milk.Dr. James O. Mason tells a story that shows the importance of giving a child milk that is not too watered down.
“Young parents had Dr. Mason come to their house to examine their baby. When the mother undid her six-week-old daughter’s diapers, the doctor was surprised at how thin the child was. He could even see the shape of his bones. The parents told him that the mother had not been able to breastfeed him because she had been very ill during her pregnancy. When the baby was born, they bought a can of powdered milk, but they couldn’t afford another when it was finished. The doctor asked them what they were feeding the baby now. They showed him a bottle filled with a liquid that was almost transparent. It was water mixed with a few drops of condensed milk that came from a tiny box. Dr. Mason gave money to the branch president so they could buy milk. He also showed them how it is prepared. Despite the doctor’s efforts, the child died. Much later, this family learned that a local dispensary had given them milk for their baby” (“For the Health of the Saints”,Speeches of the Year, 1974, pp. 153–154).
• Optional demonstration: demonstrate how to clean and prepare a bottle of milk.
Bottle-feeding requires more care, but babies who are bottle-fed can be healthy. It is always better to breastfeed the baby, even if he also needs a bottle from time to time.
Other Baby Foods
As infants grow, they do not stay healthy if they are only given milk. They also need other foods. It is difficult to know how long breast milk will meet the baby’s needs. As a result, he should start eating other foods around the age of six months.