Healthy Diet Plans >>  Baby Diet

Baby Diet


Your baby’s diet presents unique challenges. Is breast milk better than infant formula, what is the right age to start solid foods, what kind of food allergies and intolerance should you be aware, are just some of the questions you will deal with in the first year.

Healthy food for babies focuses on building their health and immune system. An early start in the right direction spells fewer growth and development problems, and providing them age appropriate foods at each stage of development also ensures decreased risk of malnutrition.

Moreover, studies suggest that early exposure to a variety of foods expands your child’s food palate. Paying close attention to your infant’s diet and eating patterns can make mealtimes less stressful for new parents.

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The first four to six months of your babies’ life is spent sleeping, crying, or eating. During these months, diet for baby would include milk via breastfeeding or infant formula. The World Health Organization report on nutrition and diet for infant (2002), recommends exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months.

Infant formula

If breastfeeding is not possible, doctors recommend iron fortified infant formula or infant formula with added vitamin D. The decision to breastfeed or provide a bottle is a personal choice.

For the first four months, breast milk or infant formula should provide all the necessary nutrients for your infant’s development. Doctors recommend that you wait until the fourth month to start semi solid foods for babies.

Foods to include

The dietary needs of a child changes as he/she grows. Your baby’s daily diet should include small portions of

  • Dairy products like yogurt and soft cheese
  • Baby cereals containing wheat and other mixed grains with high proteins
  • Vegetables cooked either whole or pureed and strained, depending on the age of the infant
  • Fruits whole and pureed fruits in addition to unsweetened pasteurized 100% fruit juice
  • Lean meat and egg yolk, which offer good sources of proteins

Foods to avoid

Foods to avoid giving your baby include

  • Foods that are round, slippery, and sticky, and large cut pieces of fruits, vegetables and meat; young kids are prone to choking.
  • Whole milk of cow if your baby is under a year old as he/she may develop an allergic reaction.
  • Honey (cooked or otherwise) should be avoided as it could be contaminated with bacterial spores causing botulism.
  • Foods that are high in sweet, salt or fats.
  • Processed foods or spicy foods.

Diet chart for babies

Around 8 to 9 months, you will notice that your infant’s interest in solid foods has peaked. Your baby is learning to feed himself/herself. At this time, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about an infant diet chart, depending on your baby’s eating patterns and food choices.

An infant diet chart based on different food groups can ensure that your child is receiving the right amount of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, and dietary fiber. A diet chart also helps you keep track of different finger foods introduced and accepted by your baby. Busy parents can plan and precook certain foods with its help. Moreover, a healthy diet chart ensures that your child is neither overeating nor hungry.

Below is a typical infant diet chart for an 8-month-old baby. You may consult your doctor or pediatrician for a diet chart that suits your child’s needs.

Morning: Breast milk or iron fortified formula

Breakfast: Iron fortified cereal mixed with breast milk or formula, 2 to 4 tablespoons of small, cubed fruits and vegetables, egg yolk (no egg whites) mashed with milk or formula. Provide water in an age appropriate sipping cup.

Mid-morning snack: Nurse or offer formula on demand.

Lunch: 2 to 4 tablespoons of well-cooked mashed meat, cubed fruits and vegetables, one serving of whole grain such as well cooked, mashed rice. 

Late afternoon snack: 2 to 4 tablespoons cubed fruit, ½ cup plain or unsweetened flavored yogurt and water.

Dinner: 2 to 4 tablespoon of cooked mashed meat and/or vegetables, cooked brown or white rice. You may also provide breast milk or formula if your baby demands it.

Before bedtime: Breast milk or formula on demand.

Diet and baby age

As infants grow, their nutritional demands increase. An age appropriate diet plan for babies ensures that they get the right kind of foods at the right stage of development. Below is a list of foods corresponding to each stage of the baby’s dietary needs.

  • Birth to 4 months: Breast milk or iron fortified infant formula.
  • 4 to 6 months: Semi solid foods such as rice, oatmeal or barley cereal formulated for babies.
  • 5 to 7 months: Provide a baby-friendly cup for water. You may introduce cooked, pureed and strained vegetables followed by fruits.
  • At 7 months: Introduce fruit juices diluted with water. Avoid citrus fruits.
  • 7 to 8 months: Semi-solid foods like strained or pureed meats or beans, cottage cheese, unflavored yogurt, egg yolks (no egg whites).
  • 8 to 10 months: Along with cereals and semi-solid foods, you can introduce finger foods like mild cheese, soft cooked vegetables, peeled fruit, cooked, ground meats (deboned, tough parts removed), toasted bread, unsalted crackers, or soft tortillas.
  • 10 to 12 months: Feed your child at a table. Encourage them to try grain foods such as pasta, noodles, and rice and small pieces of soft meat, vegetables and fruits that the family eats.
  • 1 year: After 1 year, introduce whole milk. Also, your baby can now eat both egg yolks and whites.

Feeding tips for New Moms

Women may find juggling their new roles as mothers and caretakers challenging. Here are a few tips to make mealtimes less stressful:

  • Infant’s often cry or turn their mouth away to signify that they are full. Do not overfeed your baby as this may result in obesity in later years.
  • You know your child is ready for solids when he/she can sit up with some effort and hold their head and neck.
  • Provide cups for water and milk, spoons and plates when an infant starts to show interest in feeding independently. This will teach them co-ordination.
  • Do not offer foods like hot dogs or soda and caffeinated beverages.
  • Avoid conditions such as baby bottle decay by gently cleaning their teeth at the end of meals. Do not use toothpaste until they turn 3. Do not let infants go to sleep with a bottle in their mouth.
  • Every baby approaches food differently. If you are worried about your infant’s eating habits or slow growth and development, talk to your doctor about special foods that may provide extra nutrition.

References:

http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/dataandstats/reports/Documents/CaliforniaFoodGuide/9InfantFeeding0-12months.pdf
http://www.azdhs.gov/azwic/documents/local_agencies/trainingmanual_pdf/module_11.pdf

Is Vegan Diet Healthy For New Born?

A lot of vegan parents worry about whether there is any vegan diet for infant risks given that no meat content is introduced to the child’s diet. There are a number of vegan diets for newborn health benefits, but one should keep in mind the fact that it is important to ensure that the child’s diet also gets an influx of protein. Protein and iron are a very important element of the growth cycle and does need to necessarily come from meats. There are a number of vegetables that are commonly consumed as regular parts of a vegan diet that will provide the adequate amounts of iron and protein content.

How Much Food 9 Month Old Should Eat?

Given the fact that a child’s body is constantly going through a number of changes while it continues to grow, it is very important for every parent to make sure that they understand the food requirement for a 9 month old as well as the various phases of growth that the child is going to go through. Given that the child has no teeth; any solid food should always be cut up into smaller granules to avoid choking. Soft, mashed foods are the best and most healthy foods for the 9 month old. Although this is usually the age that most babies grow out of baby foods, it might take you some time to find a food that the child is fond of, however, experimentation is the key.

Is The Baby Food Diet Safe?

The baby food diet is a relatively new trend that has become extremely popular based on the fact that baby food is known to be extremely nutritious as well as being low in salt and fat. Moreover, all baby foods are free of any additives and full of vitamins. The baby food diet health risks are similar to any crash diet – which will usually leave you feeling rather weak and tired over the course of the day. Moreover, because of the fact that they are usually consumed in small portions, there is always the likelihood that you will go on a binge later on.

What Are The Best Healthy Baby Snacks?

Food items that are considered to be healthy baby snacks will depend heavily on the age of your baby and his or her eating preferences as well. However, as a rule just as with adult food, the healthy baby snacks ideas will generally revolve around ones that are not deep friend in oil. Baked snacks are the best option, although that will also depend on whether your child has teeth yet or not. Fruit juices are another option that is considered to be some of the healthier baby snacks options. Make it a point to get the child to drink a lot of fluids over the course of the day in order to stave off dehydration.
Submitted on January 16, 2014
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