Kids have nutritional needs even before they are born. A mother’s nutrition is important even while her baby is still in her womb. A healthy, varied and nutrient rich diet that consists largely of whole, natural foods can ensure that the baby’s nutritional requirements are met even before birth. So, what are the specific things to keep in mind regarding nutrition of children below the age of 1 year? Let’s have a look.
For Children up to 6 Months of Age
Most experts agree that mother’s milk (or formula in the alternative) is the most nutritionally complete and ideal food for a baby and that most babies need only that for the first six months of age. Vitamin D supplement is often prescribed in addition to breastfeeding because this is one nutrient that may not be adequately supplied by mother’s milk.
Babies born prematurely or with any disabilities could have special nutritional needs. Babies with medical conditions or deficiencies or developmental disabilities may need not only medication but also appropriate nutritional supplementation. A clinical assessment will determine these special needs.
Some babies may be ready for solids as early as 4 months, showing an interest in other foods and the ability to manage and swallow them. However some babies may show no interest in other food until past 6 months.
For Children up to 1 Year of Age
The proportion of breast milk of formula can start to decrease gradually from after 6 months of age as a child is introduced to solids of different tastes and textures. Protein and complex carbs are required for babies of this age.
Eggs, fruit and vegetable purees, clear soups, baby cereals, softened rice and legumes and other dairy products can gradually be introduced. If a child doesn’t seem to like the taste of a new food, or if it seems to disagree with baby, leave it off for a while and then introduce it at a later time.
When you first introduce solids to a baby, make sure that you introduce healthy, nutritious foods. Research has shown that the tastes and food habits that a baby develops early in life will probably form lifelong habits. So rather than packaged fruit juice, use pureed or pulped whole fruit and let your baby gradually develop a liking for these.
Make the effort to give your baby a wide variety of fruit and vegetables and other whole, natural, unprocessed food from early on in life. This will create a taste for them so that your baby already has healthy eating habits when he or she is reaches an age when they are more likely to be fussy about food.