Does Switching From Breastmilk To Formula Cause Upset Stomach How to Meet the Dietary Needs of Babies – Health, Palate, and Lifestyle

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How to Meet the Dietary Needs of Babies – Health, Palate, and Lifestyle

Many studies show that diet has a huge impact on our overall health and can determine what diseases and illnesses we will develop later in life. The more we understand the importance of our food choices the sooner we can educate and protect our children. Of course there is always a balance between what is good for our body and what is good for our taste and lifestyle. Here is an overview of the most important nutrients for your baby’s development and the foods that meet his needs.

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Babies are born with their own source of iron, but this will run out after six months. Iron is best absorbed from meat, however a vegetarian infant can increase iron absorption by eating foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, berries, spinach, tomatoes). Giving milk separately from food also promotes absorption. Foods rich in iron include pureed apricots, molasses, fortified cereals, pureed lentils, beans and green vegetables.

Calcium

Breast milk or infant formula provides all of your baby’s calcium needs in the beginning. Calcium helps teeth and bones and promotes overall energy. Good sources of the latter include: cow’s milk, fortified soy milk and orange juice, cheese, molasses, dark green vegetables, beans, lentils and tofu.

Protein

Babies need more protein than adults because of their rapid growth. A one-year-old child needs about 15 grams or two cups of protein a day, such as milk, cheese, beans, tofu, fish, chicken and lean meat. Whole foods such as whole grains (bread, pasta, rice) and beans, lentils, avocados, cheese or tofu will provide the balance needed for vegetarian babies.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is usually found in animal products, such as meat and poultry. Other non-meat sources include dairy products and eggs, and fortified foods such as soy milk and cereals.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is made from the action of sunlight on the skin. Most children in warm areas get enough Vitamin D (20-30 minutes a day, 2 to 3 times a week). Food sources of vitamin D include dairy products, eggs and fortified foods. Breast milk or formula will provide vitamin D in the early stages. Some pediatricians recommend vitamin D supplements.

Fiber

Most of your child’s fiber needs will be met with fruits and vegetables and cereal. Be careful as foods that are too high in fiber and grains can fill a child up before their nutritional needs are met and interfere with the absorption of minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium. Too much fiber can cause diarrhea or colic in your baby.

Zinc

Zinc is important for a healthy immune system and growth. Give your child plenty of zinc-rich foods such as wheat germ, lean meats, milk, lentils, beans, peas, corn and soybeans. Zinc, like iron can be a problem for vegetarian babies due to poor absorption.

Fuel

Babies get 40 – 50% of their calories from fat, breast milk or formula. After the first 12 months, your baby will get fat from whole cow’s milk. After two years, the National Cholesterol Education Program’s Medical Panel recommends reducing calories from fat to 30% or less of total food intake. This is the time to switch from whole milk and milk products to low-fat versions. Healthy sources of fat include walnuts, canola oil, avocado, milk, cheese and yogurt.

Antioxidants

These are important early on as they prevent damage to developing DNA. The average American family eats only 50% of the recommended amount. Vegetables and fruits are the best source of antioxidants including: potatoes, carrots, kiwi, broccoli, avocados, and blueberries.

Water

Babies get water from formula and breast milk early on. However when solids are introduced they may need more liquid to help with swallowing. Water is needed for hydration as children become more active.

The nutrients listed above are suitable for all ages. While they contribute to your child’s growth they also keep adults healthy and disease-free. You are an expert when it comes to your family and your child. If you are concerned, trust your instincts and find someone to help you with health and nutrition questions and problems – pediatricians, nutritionists, dieticians, and lactation consultants are the best resources. Usually, steady growth is the best evidence that your child is getting the right amount of food.

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