We all know how important it is to eat healthily and maintain a balanced diet, but when it comes to children this point is even more vital. For a stable, healthy development from birth through all stages of early childhood, it’s critical to follow a strict yet varied nutrition program. Thus, infant to toddler nutrition, when done properly, provides the vitamins and minerals essential for proper growth and development.
Providing the Best Care
After taking care of yourself throughout your pregnancy, you’ll want to continue that same approach once your little bundle of joy is born. This high standard of care gives them the best possible start in life.
You can find out the best ways of looking after your little one using Nutricia guidelines for a well-balanced infant diet to help ensure healthy development. Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why your baby’s nutritional program is crucial to early development and growth.
Feeding Your Newborn
There are many debates about whether breastmilk or formula milk is the “correct” nutrition for a baby. But, in the end, whatever you decide to use, either one contains the necessary nutrients and vitamins for a growing baby.
Breastfeeding can aid in an infant’s development by providing the antibodies that protect them from illnesses during infancy and later in life. It is vital to understand what your baby needs in terms of sustenance to adequately develop in the first few months.
Breastfeeding your baby with the very first milk your breasts produce or what’s known as the colostrum is highly advised, even if you don’t intend on continuing to breastfeed after that. Most doctors will advise a mother, if possible, to breastfeed for at least the first six months of a child’s life.
After that, it’s still optimal for development to breastfeed until a child reaches two years old. However, people have different opinions as to whether that is the best thing for infant to toddler nutrition and development, as well as for the mother. The other option formula has benefits too.
Infant to Toddler Nutrition after 6 Months
Up to half a year into an infant’s life, they will get all the necessary nutrients for their growth from their mother’s milk or formula. From around 6 months old, parents can begin to introduce, on a gradual basis, solid foods into their boy or girl’s diet.
It’s important to be aware that before giving your baby solid food, you should ensure that he/she is able to sit up and has good control of their head and neck.
Some of the first types of foods to introduce into an infant’s healthy, balanced diet heading towards toddlerhood are:
- Iron-fortified cereals
- Puréed meats later on
Foods to Avoid Feeding Baby
In the first year of their life, there are certain foods to avoid or only give in very small doses. The reason is these items are simply not beneficial to a child’s growth.
One edible example is honey. This omission on purpose may come as a surprise to some people simply because of the curative characteristics of honey. But this food contains certain bacteria that can cause a rare illness caused Botulism in babies. So do your best not to include honey in an infant to toddler nutrition program.
Other foods to avoid giving babies that might not be ones you’d expect to be harmful include:
- Fruit juice
- Cow’s milk
For fruit juices, the reason to avoid giving them to your little one is the large quantities of sugar that they contain. As for cow’s milk, opt instead for breastmilk or formula because babies do not have the capacity to fully digest it.
Furthermore, cow’s milk doesn’t provide the nutrients that a baby needs at this time. Other foods to steer clear of include anything that could cause choking in young infants, such as nuts, hard sweets, and popcorn.
Enhance Your Child’s Life at the Table
Make sure to take interest in what your baby eats, especially for moms who cannot be at home to take care of their little ones. It’s vital for best infant to toddler nutrition that your youngster stick to breastmilk, formula milk, or a combination of the two. For formula, look for ones that are specifically designed to mimic the properties of breastmilk.
Later in their first year, your son or daughter can easily process cereals, fruits, vegetables, and proteins within their digestive system. At this point, they’re starting to get familiar with different tastes and textures. It’s exciting to learn a baby’s food preferences and see how they change over time.
Do you have any feeding tips for when the baby transitions to solid foods? What are some snack ideas for toddlers?