Step by step guide to a baby`s diet since birth – Keep your toddler healthy!
Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-love-people-woman-53590/
The first year of a child`s life features a massive increase in weight and length by up to 50%. Considering their weak digestive systems, babies cannot be subjected to eating foods requiring complicated digestion hence the only compensation for their growth is reached by giving them highly nutritious foods.
If you are a new parent, different kinds of contradicting pieces of advice about feeding the infant are provided. This leaves you confused on what foods are the best and at what stage they should be administered. The article below, however, comes in as a relief! We highlight the exact menu a child needs at different stages to help in their maturity.
Newborn to 4-6 months
This age happens to be the baby`s foundation that determines their whole life`s body weight, immune system, and metabolic programming. At this point, the most advisable food for them happens to be either breast milk or baby formula.
According to experts, you are required to give freedom to the young one to determine how often they need the milk. Some may prefer the meal once in every two hours whether day or night while others may go for even longer hours. However much as you are told to allow them to decide their feeding schedule, if this doesn’t happen you are required to lure them to eat in every 3-4 hours. If they insist not to breastfeed, seek a pediatrician’s advice.
If you breastfeed your newborn attentively, their trust and love towards you is built, and they get a set off to an efficient growth. During a good day, the baby can consume on average 16-32 ounces of the breast milk.
Age of 4-6 months
This is called the development readiness stage during which the child is fully inducted into the world and has the potential to communicate. At this point, everything they come across is swiftly directed towards the mouth.
It is at this time you gradually introduce the toddler to solid foods. The golden rule in such a circumstance is only to combine the food with breast milk or formula depending on what they consume. You could, for instance, start off by giving your kid rice cereals and iron-rich nutrients like other fortified cereals blended with milk, formula and at times water. This helps them in maintaining iron for stronger bones as they grow. You can as well include whole grains with the same mixture to help increase the kid’s protein levels.
Vitamin A and C are also highly advisable to help boost their immune. This is mainly obtained from natural fruits. You can squeeze them manually or opt to use a blender to make some squash. In case your kid starts reacting to any of the foods you should quickly seek an expert`s advice or better still stop giving the food to them.
Age of 7-9 months
It is during this stage that babies begin chewing in an up and down movement with the jaws, and their grasping potential also slowly increasing. However, the food you give the kid at this stage happens a step after another. At first, you begin by giving the child strained fruits like bananas. You are only required to clean the fruits thoroughly, then subject them to a little heat to allow them to soften then puree with either a blender or using food hand mill. Little liquid like breast milk or water is also added to make it watery. Eventually the amount of fluid added is reduced depending on your baby`s adaptation on solids.
Alternatively, you can give the kid strained vegetables e.g. squashed potatoes, carrots or peas. Recognizing how hard these foods are, keen softening is done after which you puree them using a masticating juicer then give them to the kid.
Finally, at this stage, you can introduce abundant proteins depending on the baby`s response to the foods in the previous two stages. You are advised to bring on board peanut sized pieces of well-cooked chicken meat, turkey, fish or beans. In the past, doctors advised against the act, but following their richness in iron, it has now become highly recommended.
Age of 8-10 months
At this stage, the child is now almost fully adapted to solid foods. There is hence no need for puree. You are just needed to cook foods like potatoes, bananas or carrots till they are soft then serve. Snacks like teething crackers can as well be given at this age, the only trick is to cut them into reasonable sizes which the kid can swallow without choking.
Age of 10-12 months
At this age, the baby can now eat almost every food the family is eating provided you ensure a perfect mashing to allow for faster digestion. From fish to whole eggs to peanuts averagely each of these is consumable by the toddler. You are however cautioned against whole milk or honey since they can bring forth some dangerous illness.
From the age of 1 year, there isn’t a thing the child cannot consume unless otherwise advised by an expert. The only necessity is to ensure it is a balanced diet.
In the above discussion, we have highlighted a step by step guide to ascertain proper nutrition for a baby. If followed to the letter, your child can grow healthy and strong for the rest of their lives!
Dona is a part-time blogger and a full-time housewife with big love for cooking. She is the founder and editor of donaskitchen.com an avenue for sharing her passion about juicing, plant-based diet and living a healthier lifestyle.