A healthy life – important nutrition tips for your baby
Your Baby undergoes a great deal of development regarding nutrition. They begin with a diet of milk, continue onto half solid, half mushy food, before eating the same meals as the rest of the family.
The basic source of nourishment for babies is milk
During the first months or even the first year of your little one´s life a lot of energy and essential nutrients are required. Unlike us adults, who can easily chomp on a juicy steak, infants and newborns aren’t able to eat solids, as their digestion system is not yet fully developed.
For this reason, we feed them milk during the first months. This is given to our hungry little one through either breast milk or bottled formula.
Between five and seven months or so it becomes trickier. From this time onwards food needs to be prepared. The time of mushed up food and stained bibs has begun. A small consolation though is that it means fewer mealtimes.
From ten to twelve months your child should gradually begin to eat some meals that you also eat. Obviously they need to be in smaller portions, cut into bite-sized pieces or mushed up. From this point onwards milk can also be drunk out of a beaker. Naturally, you can also carry on with breastfeeding- as long as this is what both mother and child want then there is nothing wrong with it. Some mother´s breastfeed until their child is six years old- it´s not hurting anyone. However they really should have stopped breastfeeding by the time they start school, as this could prove problematic for your child when making friends.
Nothing without breastfeeding
If it is possible to do so, the child should be fed exclusively through breastfeeding up until six months old. This is because it contains more important nutrients than formula, which are important for babies in the first few months. Breast milk contains all the essentials like antibodies, which protect our little ones from illnesses, and substances for the prevention of allergies. Nothing is better than encouraging healthy growth. Breast milk is perfectly suited to the baby’s nutritional needs.
The big difference – all children vary when it comes to food
First of all your child needs to get used to the types of food your family eats. After all before now they`ve mainly been fed on mushed up food. At this point what you eat looks completely different to them. Initially they will have to get used to new types of food, as the texture of solid foods will be a new experience for your child. But if you think that your child will simply gobble up everything placed in front of them then you are mistaken. Just like adults, children will also have preferences and dislikes towards certain foods. Also the amount that they eat varies from child to child.
At any rate food should be prepared with joy
The one thing you want to avoid when it comes to eating and mealtimes is stress. Every child should be given enough time to eat, and eating and mealtimes should be a relaxed and fun affair. By doing this you will create the best possible environment for promoting a healthy relationship towards food.
Children have needs
Parents should just accept the fact that there will be foods that a child simply doesn´t like. Observe your child whilst eating and look out for when they are full. Don´t force them to eat everything on their plate. The feeling of being full is a signal your body is telling you that it has had enough. But don´t let yourself get confused when your child says “I´m full” after their first mouthful. Children like to test how much their parents will let them get away with.
Despite this, children shouldn´t be forced to eat food. If you, as well as your child, think that what they have eaten is sufficient, then let that be that. It´s better to have a light snack like an apple or banana and then breastfeed to relieve the slight hunger in between meals. Sometimes little and often is better.
Whenever possible, family meals should be eaten together. Children are copycats. They frequently eat like their elders do. Of course they will also pick up any bad eating habits you may have and these will stay with them throughout their life. Show your children how to behave at the table. Make eating with your children an enjoyable family experience.
Discover the big wide world of food
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Whatever you, as the parent, eat will no doubt have an effect on your baby’s diet. A baby experiences a variety of different tastes before and after birth – beginning with the amniotic fluid and the mother’s milk. During breastfeeding, the baby’s senses, such as taste and smell, are constantly changing. This means that later on the children will find it easier to try new foods because they were breastfed.
The semi-solid and mushy foods phase– also referred to as baby food – is a good time to get children used to a variety of foods. In this particular period, children will have a good appetite and eat almost anything.
A good and balanced diet is the most important thing
Varied is the word of the day. Any type of vegetables, variety of fruits, cereals and grains as well as different meats and fish can make for a more varied diet.
Make sure that you – or your other children – eat the same as your little one. It is guaranteed that your child will be interested in what other people around them are eating. If you eat something that you haven’t given to your child they may refuse what you have put in front of them because they want what you are having instead. You should instead make sure everyone has the same on their plates so you can avoid the first argument.
Eating is something which often uses all your senses. You should make sure that you and your child experience all of the senses whilst eating together. Your little explorer wants to smell the food, touch the food and taste the food, as well as look around and listen. Yes you read right – listen too. When you name a dish it becomes more authentic. “Spaghetti Bolognese” sounds so much more delicious than “pasta with tomato sauce.” Although of course the child may not be able to say “Spaghetti Bolognese” and will probably say “pasta” instead – whatever you call it, it is still a popular meal which guarantees empty plates.
The food may not always be to your child’s taste at first – but it may work out the second time! Some dishes have to be tried a couple of times before they start to enjoy the taste. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again– but without any pressure. Children just sometimes need to get used to foods before they enjoy them.
Important tips on which foods you should avoid at the beginning
There are foods that should not be on the menu for your child during their first year. This includes small and tough foods. This could be for example nuts, small berries, grapes and raisins. Bread or pastries with grains and sunflower seeds and the like do not belong in the diet of anyone 12 months or under. Children could even have problems with very small cut-up solid pieces of fruit and vegetables as they could get stuck in their airway when swallowed.
Foods such as cabbage, onions or pulses could also be problematic for their small bodies. These foods can cause bloating which can be very uncomfortable.
In general, no raw products should be given. For example raw milk, raw sausage or similar products,such as pork/beef sausage, tartar, mince, raw fish and raw dairy products including raw eggs. Your child should not eat any dishes that contains raw foods. This includes sauces and desserts too.
The issue here lies with the pathogens/diseases that raw meat products are often packed with. These products can lead to life-threatening stomach and bowel conditions in small children. Salty and spicy foods can also be a taboo.
Babies can have digestive problems if they eat raw grain. Not only that, but raw grain is also bad for them because it can contain unwanted germs.
Likewise you should avoid giving your child fatty foods. High fat dishes are hard for babies to digest.
You should also avoid giving your child fried meat too early. The danger for children is that salmonella can be found in these foods.
Honey is without a doubt a universal remedy. However, even so it is best avoided in the first 12 months of your child’s life. Honey can contain germs from particular bacteria.
This bacterium settles dormant in children of this age and can become poisonous later on.
Be aware that honey is probably used as a sweetener in most manufactured products. However, all of the germs will have been killed during the production and so it should not be dangerous for your child.
Cold pressed oils that have not been refined should also never be given to your child. Refined oils will look different. This is because during the refinement all of the pollutants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and fungal toxins have been completely removed.
Full fat yoghurt, fromage frais, and other dairy products containing full fat milk should not be given to your child, no matter how beautifully coloured the package is or whether it has their favourite character printed on it. In almost all of these products there is a lot of processed sugar and this can lead to tooth decay.
Here comes the good news
Your child can eat lots of fruits and vegetables as often as they like. They should be eaten every day. Fruit and vegetables contain the most important nutrients for healthy growth.
What kind of experiences have you had with your child and eating?
Let us and other parents know in the comments below!
Your JollyBabyClub Team