Until your baby is born, he gets all his nutrients from the food you eat, through the placenta. But once you hold your little one in your arms, you realize that a baby has very specific nutritional needs, and that they change as and when your baby grows. You have to feed your baby with attention to his changing nutritional and growth requirements.
For the first six months, the baby is exclusively breastfed, so his needs will be met by the milk your body produces specifically for the baby’s growing needs. But once the baby is 6 months old, you need to introduce other foods to your baby alongside breastfeeding.
After the age of 6 months, your baby’s energy and nutrient needs exceed what breast milk can provide, and it is necessary to start complementary feeding to fulfil the increased nutritional demands of your baby. The introduction of these foods should be done with care because improper choices of food can create deficiencies in Zinc, protein, iron and Vitamins B and D due to the baby’s increased demand for these resources.
It is therefore important to introduce complementary foods rich in these nutrients to your baby.
Zinc and Iron
These minerals are important in infant brain development. Zinc and iron are usually found together in fortified cereals. Iron can also be obtained from spinach, jaggery, beetroot and potato. When your baby is over a year old, you can get Zinc and Iron from other sources like yoghurt, eggs and soybeans.
At the age of less than 1 year, feeding your baby too much protein can be dangerous, so it is important to give them protein primarily from breast milk, complementing it with plant-based protein from cereals like rice, ragi and vegetables. Small amounts of meat can be introduced to your baby by the age of 1 year.
Vitamins B and D
Vitamins are important for the baby’s immunity and growth and can be obtained from fruits, and vegetables. Vitamin B can be obtained from bananas, beans and leafy vegetables. Vitamin D is usually obtained from sunlight, as well as cow’s milk and eggs after the age of 1 year.
After those first six months, your baby needs extra nutrients to help them meet their growing developmental needs. These needs can’t be met by breastfeeding alone. Hence, it becomes necessary to provide nutrient and energy dense fortified cereals to meet this demand.
Disclaimer: All the information provided in the blog is for reference purposes only. Please do not consider this as a medical advice. Start Healthy Stay Healthy programme is for educational purposes only, in partnership with doctors. Always consult a doctor if you have any questions related to your own health or the health of your child.