When your little one was within you, you could easily pass on the necessary nutrition for his or her growth. But now, post delivery, your baby’s nutritional requirements become unique. Unlike adults or even older children, they need special care.
It is of utmost importance that during the initial months, nutrition food for baby is required. Any deficiency in the beginning phase can be harmful for his future growth.
Breast Milk As A Source Of Baby Nutrition:
During the initial 6 months, your baby’s nutritional requirement will be met through only one source and that is your own breast milk. It is actually the most nutritious and the safest for your baby when he is still to build up his immune system.
Breast milk has the following advantages for your baby:
- Your milk can help your baby in developing immune as well as digestion system. Thus your darling is protected from many diseases.
- It is also believed that the initial milk or the first milk called colostrum, is a rich source of vitamin A, which makes your baby strong and saves from any infection.
- Breast milk also has the right amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates as required by your baby and necessary for his or her growth.
- Thus you cannot deny that breast milk is the most important food for your baby. Ideally you should continue to breast feed partially even after the first six months. Breast milk is suggested for babies up to 2 years of age.
- A baby who is breastfed has several advantages over a baby who is fed with other forms of milk.
[ Read : Advantages Of Breastfeeding ]
For Mothers Who Cannot Breast Feed:
Of course breast feeding is the best form of nutrition for babies, but there can be reasons that may prevent you from doing so. You need to do the following in that case:
- Due to any reason, if you are unable to provide your breast milk to your baby then you should first seek your doctor’s help for the same.
- It is very essential to find a replacement for your breast milk.
- At the same time, it is not advisable to give the milk of cow or goat to your little one as this milk might not include all the necessary nutrients required by your child. Also, these are very difficult for babies to digest.
- You can give infant formula milk to your baby after asking the doctor, but remember that nothing can completely replace the goodness of breast milk. When you give formula milk, it is necessary to follow hygiene and sanitation to prepare the milk.
[ Read : Best Formula Milk For Infants ]
Nutritional Requirement For Babies After Initial 6 Months:
After 6 months your baby, along with your breast milk, needs to have other nutritional food also. Now, he nor she needs more energy as well as elements necessary to spur growth and development.
Remember, when you start providing complimentary food along with breast milk, make sure that the food is soft and easy to chew for your toddler. You should see to it that they are either mashed or pounded in order to be easily digestible. Also, you should introduce such food gradually in their diet.
Following are the most important baby nutrition foods you must provide to your baby:
Iron helps in brain development of your baby and also helps in improving his memory.
- Normally when your baby gets delivered, he has enough iron reserve within him to last for 4-5 months. But after that, he should be provided food which can meet the body requirements for iron, i.e. 11 mg per day.
- Moreover, it is also essential for the production of hemoglobin in the body.
- Iron is present in fortified cereals, potato, eggs, soya beans and spinach.
Zinc is also one more important mineral for your new born baby.
- Mostly zinc and iron are found together in fortified cereals. Your baby needs to have 3 gm of zinc daily.
- It helps in the production of white blood cells which fight against any infection.
- It is also a necessary element for growth of body cells and also its repair.
- You can find zinc from cheese, whole milk, yoghurt, lentils and cereals.
Your baby needs at least 500 mg of calcium every day.
- More often the requirements are met through breast milk as well as the formula milk.
- Calcium helps in strengthening of teeth and bones.
- It also makes sure that bones become strong enough to avoid any fracture when your baby starts running and playing.
- Foods like cheese, orange juice, oatmeal and yoghurt have lots of calcium in them.
[ Read : Baby Food Chart ]
4. Various Vitamins:
Following are the essential vitamins needed by your growing child:
- Vitamin A: It is crucial for healthy skin and sharp vision. This vitamin is present in carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli.
- Vitamin B: It is vital for improving metabolism and better immune systems. You can find vitamin B from green leafy vegetables, beans, bananas, etc.
- Vitamin C: It is important for skin and helps in preventing the deficiency disease called scurvy. Tomatoes, strawberries and other citrus fruits are full of vitamin C.
- Vitamin D: It is vital for bone strengthening and lack of it can cause rickets. Though vitamin D is not easily available you can find it from cow’s milk and egg yolk. If unable to consume the above food, supplements can be taken.
- Vitamin E: It has anti-oxidant quality and is necessary for development of nervous system. It can be derived from vegetable oil and cereals.
- Vitamin K: It is necessary to prevent clotting of the blood. In order to consume vitamin k , your baby should have leafy vegetables, fibrous fruits and soya.
5. Omega 3:
The benefits of omega 3 for adults are very well known, but it works for your younger ones too.
- They are not only essential for vision and brain development, but are also necessary for developing cognitive skills in babies.
- You can consume omega 3 and pass on its benefits while breast feeding baby.
- Salmon and avocado are rich source of omega 3.
Now that you know of the essential food items that will provide nutrition for a baby, do not let your baby be deprived of the same, because a small ignorance can make a big difference.
[ Read : Top 10 Baby Weaning Foods ]
We hope this will help you in understanding your baby’s requirement. Do share with us if you have more information about this.
References : 1
- 6 Best Healthy And Nutritional Snacks For Preschoolers
- 6 Simple Ways To Increase Breast Milk Supply
- How To Store And Use Breast Milk For Your Baby