Calories You don’t need to count your baby’s calories to tell if he or she is getting enough – or too many. Is he or she unpleasingly plump? Too many calories are the likely reason. Very then or growing too slowly? Then caloric intake is probably sufficient. Right now most of the calories that keep baby thriving come from breast milk or formula; gradually more and more of them will come from solid foods.
Baby’s still getting most of the protein he or she needs from breast milk or formula. But since that picture will change once those first birthday, baby candles are blown out, now’s a good time for baby to start sampling other protein foods. As they’ve introduced, these can include egg yolk, meat, chicken and tofu. Calcium foods and double as excellent protein sources.
Again baby’s getting the lion cub’s share of calcium from breast or bottle (about 450 ml/16 fl oz) fills those needs until the first birthday, but many babies drink far more than that – and that’s fine. But baby-friendly calcium foods, such as hard cheese (such as Gruyere, Emmenthal, Cheddar, Edam are good choices) and plain whole milk yogurt, are yummy, nutritious additions once they’re introduced.
Whole grains and other concentrated complex carbohydrates
These high-chair favourites will add essential vitamins and minerals, as well as some protein, no baby’s daily intake. Good options, as they’re introduced, include baby cereal, whole-grain bread, wholegrain cereals (particularly those baby can self-feed, such as Cheerios), cooked whole-grain cereal, pasta (bite-sized are always a big hit), pureed cooked lentils, beans, peas or soya beans.
Green leafy and yellow vegetables and yellow fruit
There are dozens of delicious vitamin A – rich fruits and vegetables under the green and yellow rainbow – experiment (as the doctor okays them) to see which ones your baby likes. Choose from winter squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, yellow peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, mango, broccoli and kale (all pureed at first, chunky later). As baby moves on to finger foods, ripe fruits can be served in cubes.
Vitamin C foods
Most doctors don’t okay citrus, that vitamin C standard, until the eighth months at least; in some cases, the OJ may have to wait until after the first birthday. In the meantime, baby can take his or her C in mango or cantaloupe, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet potato. Keep in mind, too, that many baby foods and juices are enriched with vitamin C.
Other fruits and vegetables
Still room in that cute little tummy? Fill’er up with any of the following: unsweetened apple puree, mashed banana, pureed peas or green beans, mashed potatoes.
Babies who take most of their calories in the form of breast milk or formula get all the fat and cholesterol they need. But as the switch to a more varied diet takes place and a baby spends less time at bottle or breast; it’s important to make sure that fat and cholesterol intake doesn’t dip too low. That’s why most dairy products (cottage cheese, yogurt, hard cheese) you serve baby should be full-fat or made from whole milk.
Bottle-fed babies get their full share of iron from fortified formula; after six months, breastfed babies need another source. Fortified baby cereal can fill the bill easily; additional iron can come from such iron-rich foods as meat, egg yolks, wheat germ, whole-grain breads and cereals, and cooked dried peas and other legumes, as they are introduced into the diet. Serving up iron-rich foods with a vitamin C food increases absorption of this important mineral.
Pass on the salt shaker when you’re paring baby’s food. since their kidneys can’t handle large amount of sodium (and because acquiring a taste for salty foods in the high chair can lead to unhealthy eating habits later on), babies shouldn’t have added salt in their diet. Most foods contain some sodium naturally (particularly diary foods and vegetables), so baby can’t possibly come up short.
During the first five to six months of life, virtually all of a baby’s fluids come from bottle or breast. Now small amounts will start to come from other sources, such as juices and fruits and vegetables. As the quantity of formula or breast milk taken begins to decrease, it’s important to be sure that the total fluid intake doesn’t. In hot weather it should increase, so offer water and fruit juices diluted with water when temperatures soar.