Your baby will grow every day and with each passing day, you will adore your baby even more. While you will be able to see the physical growth, you may not be able to notice the mental growth.
Taking care of both mental and physical growth in the initial few years of your baby’s life is extremely essential. This is why it is important to give your baby the best and the most suitable nutrition during the initial years.
On an average, a baby’s brain (cerebrum) size develops to 72% adult’s brain in first 1 year. Though the growth of the brain relatively slows down after this period, it is still developing rapidly.
Nutrition during the initial years impacts the health of the baby for both short term and long term period. A study suggests that babies who are breastfed have a better immune system, have reduced risk of obesity, and have a better cognitive function2. This means that you should be extra careful during this phase because what you feed your baby today, will have an impact on his/her tomorrow.
Breast milk contains an ideal balance of nutrients that caters to the specific requirements of your baby. Not just physical growth but mental growth as well. It contains DHA and ARA, the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids or LCPUFAs which are known to support the mental development of a baby along with visual acuity.
These two nutrients cannot be ignored because they also help to improve IQ scores which improve problem-solving abilities in infants. In case, babies are not breastfed, their diets should provide these fatty acids in sufficient amounts to meet developmental needs. Hence you need to make sure your baby is getting enough right nutrients for their right growth and development. While fish, fish oil, beef and egg yolks are good non-veg sources of the nutrients, nuts, canola oil and flaxseeds are good vegetarian sources.
Apart from DHA ARA; Iron, Iodine and Choline are other key nutrients that aid cognitive development of a baby. While Iron helps cognitive growth, Iodine aids concentration levels whereas Choline is essential for memory.
Breastmilk plays a crucial role in your baby’s development and is the best choice. Make sure your baby gets the right nutrients in the right quantity. In case you are not able to breastfeed, make sure you consult your doctors to know about the best and the most suitable nutritional choice for your baby.
Disclaimer- All the information provided 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.