Breastfeeding should be the only source of nutrition in the first six months of the baby’s life. When you introduce your baby to solids after 6 months, you should continue breastfeeding them for the most part. Now, when selecting solid foods, you should ensure that you feed them the right amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients so that they continue to grow and develop in a healthy manner.
What Are Macronutrients and Micronutrients?
Macronutrients are nutrients that are required in abundance. They act as the major source of energy. They include fats (oils, meat, etc), proteins (pulses, meat, etc) and carbohydrates (grains, cereals, etc).
Micronutrients are needed in lesser quantity but are very important. They are vital for the growth and development of the skin, bones and muscles. They include vitamins and minerals which can easily be found in all kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains, cereals, pulses, dairy and meat in small amounts.
How Much Is Too Much?
Consuming too little of any nutrient will lead to various deficiencies and malnutrition. Similarly, having too much of one nutrient group can cause problems. The most common signs and symptoms of having too much macronutrients is weight gain, diarrhea, dehydration and constipation.
There are two kinds of fats - good fats and bad fats. Unsaturated fats are the good fats whereas saturated fats are the bad ones. Too much of saturated fats can lead to an increase in cholesterol levels and calorie intake. This can lead to heart problems and excess weight gain.
Your child needs a minimum amount of proteins to be able to grow properly. Too much of it, however, can lead to kidney problems, diarrhea and dehydration.
It is difficult to avoid carbs as they are present in all foods. Consuming too much of carbs can lead to a rise in blood sugar levels which can then lead to weight gain and diabetes.
Other than macronutrients, it is also important to keep an eye on the micronutrients your child consumes. An excess of any micronutrient like Iron, Calcium or Vitamins, can lead to toxicity in the body.
Parents often think that more nutrients mean better growth. But too much of anything can be bad and hence, while choosing what to feed your child after the 6 month mark, you should choose nutrient-dense foods which are age-appropriate and have the nutrients in the right quantity for the health and optimum growth of the child. Fortified cereals in addition to breastmilk and homemade foods can help in giving optimum nutrition to your baby.
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.