Nutrition Guide: Infants

mother feeding her baby

Most infants relies on breast milk or formula as the primary source of nutrition until at least 12 months of age. So what are the best things to do feed your adorable infants.

But first what is the benefits of breastfeeding for infants? It contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea

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The first 6 months

Breastfeeding is best for both mom and baby!

Babies can be exclusively breast-fed for their first six months of life. Breastfeeding stimulates the release of beneficial hormones such as oxytocin and prolactin, it can help the mother lose weight and bond with her baby. Breastfeeding also keeps the baby developing and growing properly, helps infants fight off disease (such as gastrointestinal and respiratory infections) both now and in the future, and may even ensure that the baby grows up to prefer healthy food.

For an older infant (6 to 12 months)

Until about 4-6 months old, infants can’t digest most foods.

Infants are ready for solid foods once they have doubled their birth weight, providing they can hold their heads up, sit in a high chair, open their mouths when food is presented, and swallow. This usually occurs around six months old. so what to remember?

  • Take your time when introducing new foods.
  • Continue to breastfeed for up to two years or more, as long as both you and your child want to.
  • At 6 months, breastfeeding is still your baby’s main food source, but it is time to begin adding solid foods. Formula-fed infants should also be introduced to solid foods at this time.
  • Start with foods that contain iron and offer them a few times each day. Iron supports your baby’s growth and development. Iron-rich foods include meats such as beef, lamb, game, poultry, and fish. Meat alternatives include eggs, tofu, and legumes such as beans and lentils. Iron-fortified infant cereal is also a common first food.
  • Gradually increase the number of times a day that you offer solid foods.
  • Offer your baby a range of nutritious foods from your family meals. Let them discover different textures and experiment with feeding themselves.
  • Give your baby foods they can eat using their hands. Offer pieces of soft-cooked vegetables, soft fruit such as banana, grated cheese, bread crusts and toast.
  • If you are making the transition to cow milk as your child’s main milk source, wait until your baby is between 9 and 12 months old. Start with homogenized cow milk (3.25% M.F.). Do not offer skim or partly skimmed milk (1% or 2% M.F.) before 2 years of age.
  • If you are going to make fortified soy beverage your child’s main milk source, wait until they are 2 years of age. Rice or nut beverages should not be used as your child’s main milk source.
  • Pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues. Trust your child to decide how much they are going to eat at any meal.

What are the foods that you can give to your babies:

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source: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/infant-care/infant-nutrition.html

-Blog Article Entry by: Christine Mae Pajado, UST-SN

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