Doctors say that vegetarian diets are incredibly healthy for babies. Babies started on vegetarian diets grow to be slimmer and fitter than non-vegetarian babies. What a parent needs to know is how and when to start this diet.
For the first few months after birth, babies are only fed on breastmilk or formula because they mouths and throats are not equipped to handle other kinds of foods, and this milk provides them with all the necessary nutrients.
At around 4 to 6 months of age is when it is recommended that parents start feeding their babies other types of food. This does not mean that the breast milk/formula feeding must stop, however, along with that other foods can be introduced. The consistency of the food that is fed must be closely monitored. In the beginning, you must ensure that the food that you are feeding your little one is as mashed and pureed as possible. Always begin with semi-solids.
For a vegetarian diet, typically, you could start with pulses, soft plant foods, mashed fruits, and well-cooked and mashed veggies. It is important to ensure that your baby gets an adequate amount of iron and zinc as these are essential nutrients for the body. You can get these through cereals and some veggies but be careful when feeding you baby veggies. Make sure that your baby is able to eat the food at the consistency that you serve it, otherwise change the consistency.
The dietary components that your baby absolutely needs are:
Complex carbs provide the body with energy. These can be obtained from grains, beans, and other vegetables.
This aids in proper digestion to ensure that your baby’s digestive system is functioning effectively. This can be added to the diet through pulses, fruits, bread, millets, corn, and a variety of other foods.
This is essential for normal development, however, it is not required in high amounts. It can be obtained by consuming lentils, nuts and seeds, soya products and tofu, pulses, maize, and dairy products.
it is a key component in making hemoglobin in the blood which is essential for carrying oxygen. You can make sure that your baby gets the right amount of iron by feeding your little one foods such as green leafy vegetables, pulses, breakfast cereals for babies with added iron supplement, and others.
This vitamin helps in making red blood cells, releasing energy from food, and processing folic acid. It can be added to the diet by adding foods such as dairy products (including milk), cereals, lentils, and low-salt yeast extract.
A little bit of fat is good for the process of brain development and to support the rapid rate of growth that is normal for infants. Foods rich in fat include avocado, soybean, cheese and similar milk products, peanut butter, and lots more.
This is essential for healthy bone development and can be procured by consuming milk products, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, rice, and milk, etc.
It’s best, to begin with, cereals (rice, oats, and barley) mixed with milk as these are the easiest for the body to process. Then start with pureed fruits and vegetables. When your baby starts to learn how to eat, you can start with a little bit of bread and dry cereal.
The first and foremost point to note is to be patient and let your babies learn in their own time and to not force anything on your little ones. The best way to get them to start eating the foods that you want them to eat is to let them choose, and when they’re old enough, to let them try to eat on their own.