First-time mothers face difficulties in navigating between traditional opinions and other options regarding baby care. Moreover, it is a widely shared the opinion that feeding infants the most nutrient-dense foods are a must.
“Chronic illness in children and childhood obesity is a big problem nowadays and it derives from the food we introduce our babies to from day one on” argues Doctor Michelle Levit.
The first nutrition a baby receives if from the mother’s milk. Vegetables and fruits are next on your kid’s diet list because they promote the ongoing development and help your baby to get used to the flavor of healthy food. Your pregnancy diet is also important.
The child will receive the nutrients that you consume during this period which is the reason why growth-promoting and brain-boosting foods are essential. After giving birth, your decisions will have the biggest impact on your child’s relationship with food in the following years. Consequently, educating yourself about baby nutrition and including a healthy diet will help your baby’s development.
Basics of baby nutrition
Good nutrition is vital for the baby’s proper growth and maturing. Positive feeding methods and attitudes along with appropriate types of food contribute to babies developing an optimistic attitude towards food and themselves. Throughout the first year of your child’s life a suitable amount of needed nutrients must be introduced.
Among these nutrients are zinc, iron, vitamins D, A, B6 and B12 protein, probiotics, polyunsaturated acids, folate, and choline. All these nutrients are naturally present in breast milk and should be found in the food you give the baby after the breastfeeding phase.
Breast milk vs formula
Studies suggest that breast milk is one of the best sources of nutrition for all babies. Breast milk is rich with bioactive agents that ensure the correct function of the digestive tract and the immune system. It also encourages brain productions and proper growth.
Breast milk helps protect infants from obesity and type 2 diabetes even later on through the years, suggest a study published Molecular and Cellular Biology. This is because components as proteins filled with amino acids, hormones, cytokines, polyunsaturated, and oligosaccharides fatty acids are found in breast milk.
Newborns strictly will be breastfed for the first 6 months and breastfed in parallel with starting food the following six months advise organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the World Health Organization. However only eighty-three percent initiated breastfeeding and forty-seven percent breastfed exclusively during the first three months.
For those who are experiencing trouble producing enough milk or are not able to breast-feed at all, there can be found an industrially produced substitute called infant formula. Its purpose is to have almost the same nutritious composition as breastmilk, it does not.
Compared to breastmilk, infant formula has a higher protein and casein content. Casein has a different formula than whey and it is mostly harder to digest. Additionally, infant formula lacks adequate healthy fat which is not the case with breastmilk because cholesterol can be found in it. Another difference between the two is the presence of probiotics. Researchers proved that babies who are breastfed had a more balanced proportion of probiotics than those fed with infant formula.
Baby nutrition charts
From birth to 6 months
Solely breastmilk of formula
6 to 9 months
Start with one feeding per day, then increase to two
Vegetables, meats and protein food and fruits
9 to 12 months
Start mixing foods and serve three times a day but resume with infant formula or breastmilk. Diary may also be added to the menu. Remember everything must be mashed or cut into small pieces.
12 to 15 months
All fruits, vegetables, dairy, proteins, and meat can be consumed, and also if the baby shows a hunger in between meals you can add snacks. When you think the baby is ready introduce a spoon or a fork.
10 Best foods to begin with
- Egg yolk
- Sweet potatoes
- Bone broth
- Organ meats and balanced red meats
- Wild salmon
This list is suggested by Dr. Levitt because they are rich with nutrients your child needs and will therefore better the basis of your child’s health. It is best to serve one food at a time for two to three days before moving to the next.
It is important to remember that each baby is in fact different and if you suspect any allergies or have any type of question you should consult your pediatrician.