Make your baby healthy and nutritious

Modified: 26 April 2016

Even though nutrition is important for every one of us, nutritious food is very essential for your darling baby growth, health and brain development, here the nutrition refers to the food your baby eats and drinks. You either as a mom or yet to become mom, will always love to feed your baby with either of breast milk, formula, solid food, or liquid food, etc. You are the one who is highly responsible for your baby illness or any infections, so whether you are breastfeeding, using formula, or doing both, just ensure that your baby is gaining all the vitamins and nutrients he/she needs for growing bigger, stronger and healthier.  Proper baby food cycle not only provides good development during his childhood days, it is the one which helps your child in many ways when he/she grows.

Feeding your baby with healthy and nutritious food reduces the chances of heart attack, improves brain activity, and gives them strength to fight against cold or any illness. Since your baby is not aware of good things to eat, you should guide them with good healthy eating habits for life of proper eating and nutrition, so that they can have longer life with lasting wellness. It is also important to intake proper nutrients when you are pregnant for good child's brain size and birth weight. Your friends, relatives and neighbors may advise you with many ways and confuse you. Do not worry to know about the food chart for your baby from the very first day, we will guide you through the complete phase of food for bringing up a healthier baby.

"The groundwork for all happiness is good health"

Why nutritious food is important

Malnutrition is not only due to lack of food, it is an integration of many factors like insufficient/poor care and feeding practices , insufficient protein, energy and micronutrients, frequent infections or disease, inadequate health services, and poor water and sanitation.

The well-nourished children will be healthier, have strength to fight against infections and disease, show better performance in all their activities right from the birth to adolescence and adulthood and participate in many extra-curricular and co-curricular activities and contribute to their fellow beings.

Benefits of having good nutritious food for baby

  • Prevents some common issues that arise from his 5 or 6 month like eating disorders, sleep apnea, iron-deficiency anemia, etc.
  • Enhances optimal healthier growth both physically and mentally.
  • Protects the child from any cardio problems.
  • Eliminates the cause of delayed puberty, menstrual irregularities, asthma, weaker bones, and weaker academic performance.
  • Increases problem-solving skills, and memory capability.
  • Improves concentration skill, and makes bones and muscles stronger
  • Enhances faster recovery from illness/injury
  • Reduces diabetes and cancer development
  • Maintains proper weight for height
  • Protects long term impairment in health and growth.

From 0 to four months

Breast milk provides the best nutrients for brain development and is the best food for your baby during the first year. It contains ideal balance of nutrients and supplies all the essential antibodies that a baby need to fight against illness. According to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), mother exclusive breastfeeding can delay the return of fertility, and accelerate recovery of pre-pregnancy weight and who breastfeed exclusively and frequently have less than a 2% risk of becoming pregnant in the first 6 months postpartum, provided that they still have amenorrhoea.

From birth to four months, your baby should only be fed with breast milk, iron-rich formula or both. In first month for breast milk it is good to feed 8 to12 times a day, and for formula 6 to 8 times a day. It decreases in his/her 2nd month.

From four to six months

Now your baby is ready to intake some simple solid foods that provides additional nutrients for your baby. Each and every baby differs, so it is not that if your neighbor or friends baby starts in-taking solid food your baby must be fed with solid food, it is good to look for some common signs in your baby before starting solid foods.

Some of the signs are

  • Has better control over his/her head while moving
  • Sits well when supported with some object or anything else
  • Doubled his/her birth weight
  • Constantly gazes at and eagers to grab the food you or the people around him eat.
  • Feels hungry even after 6 – 8 feeds
  • Lost the tongue thrust reflex
  • Makes chewing/swallowing actions

The foods with which your baby is comfort from four to six months are

  • Iron-rich baby cereal mixed with breast milk,
  • Single-grain cereals i.e. rice and oatmeal,
  • Fruits i.e. avocado, boiled apple, and bananas
  • Teething biscuits
  • Vegetables i.e. boiled sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, pumpkin and green beans.

It is important to gradually increase the amount of food, do not feed much food at first time and breast-feed your baby every 2- 4 hours (may be 4 – 5 feedings).

From six to eight months

You can give a combination of fruits and veggies with cereals mentioned in above four to six months chart, from six to eight months. Baby’s diet can include pasta, apricot, barley, plums, peaches, mangoes, prunes, pears, carrots, zucchini, and plain milk yogurt at beginning of seventh month. You must not stop breast feeding until your baby is one year old, so continue breast feed and increase the amount of food you feed him than in his fourth month.

From eight to twelve months

Yes, almost your baby is going to celebrate his/her first year, and hence at the start of eighth month she will be ready to have his/her food in own like he/she will grab the spoon or pick some food from your plate and have in his/her mouth or face. At this span, you can probably increase the amount of food since he/she needs more protein and strength. The foods you can newly add here are some non-vegetarian foods like meat, broccoli, egg yolk, fish flesh and cheese and citrus fruits.

From 1 to 2 years

Breast feed can be continued, and now the intake of solid food increases than milk. You can feed blueberries, dark leafy greens, blackberries, herbs rich in vitamin c and iron, red meat, salmon, brown rice, and all other we have mentioned above. At 1.5yrs you can feed to two meals a day and two to three snacks a day.

Water is one of the most important things for hydration purpose to properly function the excretory system and you should start giving water from 5th month. It also helps your baby develop the new taste for this basic necessity.

Hunger clues

  • In earlier stage your little darling smacks/licks his/her lips
  • Sucks his toys, hands, fingers, clothing, toes, etc.
  • Constantly looks at the chest irrespective of the person holding him
  • Showing his discomfort to play, concentrate in some ways
  • Starts crying in between his play times
  •  And finally your child starts crying until you start feeding and at times your child will hesitate to eat so spend some time to make him comfort and start feeding.

Signs when your baby is stomach full

It is not that your baby eats equal amount of food all the time, it varies depends on his/her interest, hungriness, etc. Do not force him to eat food when is not really willing to eat, and wait for some time and feed him later. Stop feeding him food when you find some of the below signs in your baby.

  • Turns his/her head away from spoon or hand
  • Plays with the toys or objects by his side when not interested in eating
  • Refuses to open his/her mouth
  • Never listens to your voice
  • Moves back from you

Essential nutrients and vitamins to look into while choosing your baby food

  • Adding iron which is most important nutrient for making hemoglobin, to the foods you feed is very healthy for your baby and also for woman who are pregnant. Some of the foods rich in iron are standard cow’s milk, spinach, peas, white beans, lima beans, lamb, liver, apricot, dried grapes, etc. You can combine these with vitamin c rich foods.
  • Protein, B vitamins, and zinc are needed for stronger muscles.
  • Vitamins A, B, C and D, trace minerals, fiber, carbohydrates, magnesium, calcium, and iodine for good immune system, nervous system, vision and other better benefits for your baby.

Basic things to stay healthy

  • Homemade food is generally more nutritious and economical and also it is very much better for your baby than outside foods.
  • Include various fruits and vegetable options that your child loves to eat in his/her daily diet.
  • Stick the fruits and vegetables charts on the wall of his room.
  • Opt for the fresh juice or juices made from original fruit extracts.
  • Organic and natural foods are much better.
  • Ensure that your child drinks plenty of water or milk a day instead of any soft drinks, sports drinks or energy drinks.
  • Reduce the intake of fast foods, and junk foods.
  • Impart him/her in regular physical activity which will be very useful for his future.
  • Moreover all the above, be a role model for him to learn about good healthier habits and healthier life.

Promote healthier lifestyle for your little darling!!!

Review written by Uma Balakrishnan

An Aficionado by passion, Wordsmith by profession, with a rewarding responsibility, I pen-down reviews geared towards all grades of people, creative entrepreneurs, shopaholics, home-makers, new mums and dads, students and many more to build and attain their own dream.