Did you know that your baby’s nutritional needs need to be taken proper care of in his growing years, so that he/she becomes healthy and strong. The first two years of his life are the most crucial ones when he/she is in a constant need of nutrient-dense food. For the initial 6 months, mother’s milk a.k.a breast milk are a sufficient source of these essential nutrients. However, after that you need to monitor their diet properly and make sure that they consume high nutritional value in smaller portions.
Fast development and growth in the first 2 years of life
It may surprise you to know that your baby grows the most in the first 2 years of life, even more than the number of decades to come. Starting in the first year, his/her height increases by 50% and the weight almost triples. What’s more amazing is that their brain has finished a majority of the development as well by the second year ends. Another part of your baby that strengthens by the end of this time period is his/her immune system.
Looking at such a fast pace, it is easy to see how the food your baby consumes is directly adding to their growth every day for these two years. The two types of nutrients that facilitate this growth are macronutrients- for the development that we can see- and micronutrients- for the inner development of brain & immunity. Micronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Macronutrients are things like vitamins and minerals. Despite their different functions, both of them are equally important factors in this stage of your baby’s life. Be sure to feed them all these food groups in correct quantities.
Babies have high nutritional requirements
While you can’t measure specific amounts of nutrients every day and for every meal that you feed your baby, it is still good to know the breakdown of what the requirements are. To get an idea of it, the complementary foods should fulfil the need for 98% Iron, 72% Zinc, 43% Vitamin C, and 29% Vitamin A for a baby older than 6 months. Here is a list of food items for your baby that are rich in these nutrients:
- Iron – meat, poultry, brown rice, beans, egg yolk, vegetables, cranberry and pomegranate juice etc.
- Zinc – red meat, mushrooms, nuts, beans, whole grain cereal and breast milk etc.
- Vitamin C – Guava, oranges, red bell peppers, kiwi, papaya, tomatoes, grapefruit and other brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.
- Vitamin A – carrots, sweet potatoes, cooked spinach, apricots etc.
But always remember that your baby’s stomach is the size of his/her tiny fist, so small that it cannot fit more than a few spoonfuls of solid foods. And while its size is nowhere near an adult’s stomach, you baby does need more nutrition than you or any other regular adult, almost 5 times more. Your mother may have fed you a lot of things as a child to help you grow, but it is not the quantity that matters. What matters is the amount of nutrition packed into each meal that you feed your child.
There are a lot of things for which your baby is completely dependant on you. Nourishment and nutrition is one such thing that babies need from when they are inside your tummy to when they are outside. Try different foods and explore various tastes with your baby, and feeding will be another adventure rather than a task in your daily life as a mom.