The first year of birth is very crucial for you and your newborn. The nutrition in this period should be as close to perfect as possible as it lays down the foundation of a good tomorrow. The nutrition for infants should include sufficient protein, vitamins and minerals, fats and calories. In the first year, the baby is supposed to be three times their birth weight. So, how do you ensure that?
Taking care of your newborn
Providing adequate nutrition is important to build strong immunity and to stimulate growth. so, you must consult your doctor before starting with your feed. Breastmilk is hailed as the best nutrition for your newborn. So, what all nutrients are needed?
Calcium – for healthy bones and teeth.
Folate – to help the cells divide and multiply.
Fats – to assist brain development, get energy, healthy skin and hair
Iron – for building blood cells and assistance in brain development.
Zinc – cell growth and repair
Proteins and carbs – for energy and growth of the newborn
Vitamins like A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, D, C, E are also essential for overall growth and development of the newborn. So, what all can you give to ensure your baby is getting enough nutrition?
Breastmilk is the best food!
For the first 6 months, there is nothing better than feeding your baby mother’s milk. Breast milk is full of enzymes, antibodies, fatty acids, antimicrobial factors that promote overall well-being and growth of the child.
The major nutrition for the first six months comes from breast milk only. It helps the infants fight off any diseases like respiratory or gastrointestinal infections and develops an appetite for healthier food in the future. Why? Oxytocin and prolactin are released during breastfeeding and that helps the mother in losing weight and also develop a bond with the baby.
Cereals and other starch: While in the first three months, cereals are a strict NO, you can give your infant ¼-1/2 cup mixed cereal in 4-6 month of age. The serving will be increased post 6 months, as advised by your medical specialist.
Fruits and juices – After 4 months, you can slowly start with soft fruit purees and juices. It will depend on how well your infant responds to new fruits and food. Introduce them slowly and see how well the child is able to digest it before you introduce something new again.
Water – Usually breastmilk gives the water in the first 6 months. You can start feeding small sips of water after 6 months.
Even if breast milk gives the necessary nutrients, the infant needs extra supplements to do fine. These include iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and fluoride. The dosage of these will depend on the body weight and condition of the baby and is best decided by your doctor. So, you should consult your doctor regarding the extra supplements. Do not miss out on these medicines as they are vital for proper growth and development.
Keep up at it
What we mean by this is, at times it may be too difficult to feed your child and you must not give up. A lot of infants do not like to eat and may create a lot of fuss and mess when you try to feed them. You can try out different methods to make the feed more interesting for them – starting from using different toys to telling stories. Do everything, but don’t just stop! Nothing should come in between your infant and their proper nutrition.
Still, if you find it taxing and troublesome to cope with new motherhood, do not hesitate to reach out for help. We are always listening and would be glad to assist you!