How Long Can A 3 Month Old Baby Have Diarrhea How to Meet the Dietary Needs of Babies – Health, Palate, and Lifestyle

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How to Meet the Dietary Needs of Babies – Health, Palate, and Lifestyle

More and more studies are proving that food has a big impact on our overall health and can even determine what illnesses and diseases we will get later in life. The more aware we are of the importance of our food choices, the sooner we can teach and protect our children. Of course there is always a balance between what is good for our body and what is good for our taste buds and lifestyle. Here is a description of the most important nutrients for your child’s development and which foods meet their needs.

iron

Babies are born with their own source of iron, but this will deplete after six months. Iron is absorbed best if it comes from meat, however the vegetarian baby can increase iron absorption by eating foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, berries, spinach, tomatoes) with meals. Giving milk separately from meals also promotes absorption. Vegetarian iron-rich foods include pureed apricots, molasses, fortified cereals, refined lentils, beans and green vegetables.

Calcium

Breast milk or formula provides all of your baby’s calcium needs at first. Calcium helps teeth and bones and promotes overall strength. Good sources then include: cow’s milk, fortified soy milk and orange juice, cheeses, molasses, dark green vegetables, beans, lentils and tofu.

Protein

Babies require more protein than adults because of their rapid growth. A one-year-old child needs about 15 grams or two cups of protein a day, such as milk, cheese, beans, tofu, fish, poultry and lean meats. Combinations such as grains (bread, pasta, rice) with beans, lentils, avocados, cheeses or tofu will provide the balance needed for vegetarian babies.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is usually found in animal products, such as meat and chicken. Other non-meat sources include dairy products and eggs, as well as fortified foods such as soy milk and cereals.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is made from the action of sunlight on the skin. Most children in warm climates get adequate vitamin D (20-30 minutes a day, 2 to 3 times a week). Food sources of vitamin D include dairy products, eggs and fortified foods. Breast milk or formula will provide vitamin D in the early stages. Some pediatricians recommend vitamin D supplements.

Fibre

Most of your baby’s fiber needs will be met by fruits and vegetables and cereals. Be careful, as a diet too high in fiber and whole grains can fill a child up before their nutritional needs are met and prevent absorption of minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium. Too much fiber can also cause diarrhea or an upset stomach in your baby.

Zinc

Zinc is important for healthy immune systems and growth. Offer your child plenty of zinc-rich foods such as wheat germ, lean meats, milk, lentils, beans, peas, corn and soybeans. Zinc, like iron, can be a problem for vegetarian babies due to poor absorption.

fat

Babies get 40 – 50% of their calories from fat, through breast milk or formula. After the first 12 months, your baby will get fat from whole cow’s milk. After the age of two, the Pediatric Panel of the National Cholesterol Education Program recommends reducing fat calories to 30% or less of the total diet. This is the time to switch from whole milk and dairy products to low-fat versions. Healthy fat sources include walnuts, canola oil, avocado, milk, cheese and yogurt.

Antioxidants

These are important early on because they prevent damage to developing DNA. The average American family eats only 50% of what is recommended. Vegetables and fruits are the best source of antioxidants including: sweet potatoes, carrots, kiwi, broccoli, avocados and blueberries.

Water

Babies get water from formula and breast milk early. However, once solids are introduced they may need more liquids to help them swallow. Water is necessary for hydration as children become more active.

The foods listed above are good for all ages. While they contribute to your child’s development, they also keep adults healthy and disease-free. You are the expert when it comes to your family and child. If you have a concern, trust your gut and find someone to help you with health and nutrition questions and concerns – pediatricians, nutritionists, dietitians and lactation consultants are the perfect resources. Usually steady growth is the best proof that your child is getting the right amount of food.

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