Nutrition during the early years is a vital component of your little one’s overall development. Along with the right blend of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, infants also need the right quantities of micronutrients to support healthy growth.
Vitamins are an essential part of nutrition during infancy. They are responsible for many functions, which include tissue development and repair, immunity, and proper functioning of the body. During the first six months, you should exclusively breastfeed your baby so that they receive the right amount of vitamins for their growth and health.
Vitamin A is important for your baby’s bone growth and visual development, and it protects your infant from infections. It also helps form strong and healthy hair, nails and skin. During the first six months, breast milk protects the infant from losing Vitamin A or suffering a deficiency of the same.
Breast milk has twice the Vitamin A content of cow’s milk, and the fat content in breast milk helps with better absorption of Vitamin A.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects cells, keeps them healthy and helps the body absorb iron. Breast milk contains enough Vitamin C, which improves immunity and healing of cells, while also aiding in iron absorption, which is essential for the rapid brain development that occurs during infancy. Cow’s milk on the other hand, lacks Vitamin C, and as a result, can inhibit iron absorption.
Vitamin D supports healthy bone growth and prevents deficiency diseases like rickets, which can weaken the bones and teeth. Breast milk is a source of Vitamin D for the infant, as the content depends on maternal diet, which can be regulated. Whole cow’s milk contains very little Vitamin D, insufficient for an infant’s needs.
Breast milk is also a source of B vitamins, which help keep the tissues healthy and regulate your baby’s metabolism. Breast milk is the best sources of vitamins for your little one, as it not only contains them in the right proportions for an infant, but it is also digestible, allowing for absorption of these vitamins by the baby’s body.
While the macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats are important for a baby’s growth, the right amount of vitamins in a digestible and easily absorbed form help maintain health, immunity and proper functioning of your little one’s body.
Breast milk is a nutritional powerhouse for your little one, and it is therefore ideal to exclusively breastfeed until the age of 6 months and continuing to do it until the age of at least 2 years. The growth promoting nutrients in breast milk protects your baby’s health and adequately nourishes him, supporting healthy growth and all-around development.
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.