Infant nutrition is geared to meet the specific nutritional needs of infants and help them develop a healthy beginning in life. Babies grow rapidly, and, therefore, have different dietary needs from other age categories.
The first year of life is critical because it’s when the infant’s immune system is developing. It’s also the period in which most health problems are likely to occur, especially in vulnerable infants, such as premature delivery and low birth weight. One of the critical components of infant nutrition is sufficient protein, which provides an essential amino acid that helps with growth and development, and is found in meats, fish, eggs, and certain dairy products.
If you’re a new parent and want to learn more about what your baby should eat, read more below.
5 Best Foods For Babies
During the first year of a child, it’s critical to only give them foods high in vitamins and minerals to enhance their development. Here are five foods you should give your infant:
- Breast Milk Or Infant Formula
Breast milk or mother’s milk remains the primary source of nutrition for infants, containing nutrients, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and various vitamins and minerals. Other essential nutrients found in breastmilk include vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K.
Some mothers can’t produce breastmilk, so they’re prescribed to give infant formulas, like S-26 Original Alula Formula, to their babies. Infant formula is an alternative for breastmilk, and most infant formulas today are designed to mimic the vitamins and nutrients present in breastmilk, especially the protein and fat content. Most infant formulas begin with a blend of cow’s milk, soy, or goat’s milk as protein, liquid, semi-solid, or soy or whey concentrate.
Among all fruits, avocado is one of the healthiest fruits on the planet. Avocado is packed with essential nutrients—vitamins A & D, potassium, iron, fibre, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, etc. This is an excellent option for infants because avocadoes are easy to mash and prepare. You can give it to them pureed or mashed.
Like avocadoes, there are many ways you can prepare bananas. You can puree or mash them, and combine them with other fruits. Bananas are an excellent source of essential proteins, fibre, vitamins A and B-complex, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Bananas are also a good source of fibre.
- Pureed Meat
Infants need protein to promote muscle and brain development. Meat, like chicken or beef, is an excellent source of protein. Meat also contains essential minerals and vitamins, like iron, zinc, vitamin B6, and niacin. If you want to give meat to your baby, make sure you puree to avoid choking.
- Whole Milk Yogurt
Yoghurt contains beneficial bacteria that often act as a probiotic to maintain a healthy balance of microorganisms in the digestive system. Whole milk yogurt also contains calcium, which is essential for your baby’s developing muscle and bones.
4 Foods Babies Can’t Eat
There are also certain foods you should avoid during the first year of your baby. Here are some of those:
- Foods With Salt
Salt isn’t good for babies’ kidneys. As much as possible, when you prepare food for your babies, you avoid putting salt in it. Aside from that, you should also avoid giving them foods with high salt content, like crackers, chips, fast food, sausages, and bacon.
During their first year of life, it’s not recommended to give children honey. Honey may contain spores of the bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which is harmful to babies sensitive tummy. These spores are harmless to adults but can cause botulism, a rare fatal disease that can cause constipation, loss of appetite, and weakness.
- Whole Nuts
Foods that are a potential choking hazard shouldn’t be given to children under five years old. If you want to provide nuts or peanuts to your babies, make sure that you crush or ground them first. However, you should also consult with your dietician or paediatrician if there’s a family history of allergies before introducing nuts to your baby’s diet.
- Food And Drinks With Sugar
Anything with artificial sugar is a big no for your babies. Foods like chocolates or sweet snacks should be avoided. This is because some research suggests that an unhealthy diet starts when a person eats solid foods. When you introduce sweet foods to your baby, they’ll grow to like them, and it can drown their appetite for healthier food choices.
A mother and father’s role during the first 12 months of life includes ensuring that their baby is eating the right foods to help them grow strong and healthy. Infant nutrition is essential because it’s the stage in which the baby’s body will absorb essential nutrients from their food.
Whether it’s breast milk or infant formula, milk is important because it contains all the essential vitamins and minerals babies need in order for them to grow. As they grow older, you can incorporate a wide range of healthy fruits, vegetables, and meat to ensure adequate nutrition to aid in their development. You should avoid foods with salt, sugar, honey, and those that pose a potential choking hazard.
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