Proper Nutrition for Children

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Breastfeeding

Diet for infants between 4-6 months

Between 4-6 months, a healthy infant should consume between 850-1350 grams of formula milk. This is the age when is made the shift from breast milk or fortified formula to a diversified diet. When less than 4 months, the introduction of solid foods is not indicated because the baby is not able to achieve a normal swallowing. The digestive enzyme is not ready for the absorption and degradation of food.


Specialists are guided by specific criteria related to physical growth of children in these four months, when recommended dietary diversification include:

– Doubling the weight at birth;
– Ability to maintain the head and neck upright without assistance, to rise up being helped or by refusing to open his mouth (fullness);
– The child begins to show interest in the diet of other family members.

At first, parents can try feeding the baby with special grain, iron supplements, mixed with breast milk or previously consumed formulas. The consistency of the mixture can be increased gradually as the child becomes able to correctly and efficiently control their swallowing. This combination can be offered 2 times / day, but in small quantities, composed of 1-2 tablespoons of dry cereal. As the child gets used to it, this amount can be increased to 3-4 tablespoons of cereal. Experts insist that, at this age, feeding must be done using a spoon.

If no special indications exist, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, and only by the special recommendation of a doctor, you can try using bottle feeding. After the child has adapted to the new regime and is starting to  consume cereal, you can introduce other products fortified with iron. Doctors advise parents to introduce a single type of grain per week, so they can track if the baby shows digestive intolerance or an allergic reaction to it.

During the initiation, you can introduce solid food and fruit juices, with vitamin C (given to the child from a small cup).

Other foods that pediatricians recommend are: cottage cheese in combination with rice or mashed and passed vegetables (after the age of 5 months), hard-boiled egg yolk (no whites, being potentially allergic).

Diet for infants between 6-8 months

From the age of 6-8 months the infant becomes able to chew food, to sit without support, to catch and grasp things in hand.


During this period we recommend maintaining a diet of breast milk or formula milk, administered 3-5 times / day. Their consumption will gradually diminish as the solids will become the majority in the diet.

From 6 months, mashed fruits and vegetables may be introduced in the daily diet. They must be integrated into the diet gradually, leaving the child for 2-3 days to get used to them, while parents can track how the baby’s body responds to these (the occurrence of gastrointestinal symptoms, allergic). Among the first vegetables that can be eaten and which seem to be agreed by most infants are; peas, carrots, potatoes, squash, beets, beans; and from fruits: bananas, peaches, pears, apricots, melons.

Diet for infants

After the age of 6 months, fruits, vegetables (and grains) should be included in the diet, because through their high sugar content, bring a significant surplus of nutrients and calories.

There are dieticians who recommend the introduction of small amounts of vegetables before fruits, because they believe that conversely, the child would not appreciate their taste as equally attractive as fruits. Initial amount of fruits and vegetables is 2-3 tablespoons / serving, 4 servings each / day. While the child’s reaction to fruits and vegetables in the diet is monitored, while also checking weight parameters and psychosomatic development. The amount can vary between 2 tablespoons and 2 cups of mashed vegetable. Increasing the amount of consistent food depends on the digestive tolerability of each baby.

The child can be encouraged to feed themselves without a help (under strict adult supervision), by placing small amounts of various foods in their hands. However, should be avoided: slices of apples, grapes, blueberries, nuts, seeds, popcorn, hard uncooked vegetables, dry cereal flakes, strong and round candies, peanut butter and sausage, because all these consistent products can cause mechanical asphyxia.

We recommend avoiding too salty or too sweet food. The baby can be left alone to eat softly cooked vegetables, washed and peeled fruits, such as bananas, peaches, small pieces of graham crackers and pasta.

During this time, in diet may be introduced foods that promote healthy growth of teeth, such as toast, unsalted crackers or pretzels. In the 8th month, the baby may try chicken or fish, boiled and chopped, 30 grams each initial portion / day, 4 times / week. Other recommendations include the consumption of chicken liver (after 6 months), yogurt with homemade biscuits (avoiding fruit yoghurt).

Diet for infants 8-12 months

From this age, the child can already eat alone or use a glass (if helped), and after 10 months can properly chew and swallow soft foods – will begin to use a spoon.

In terms of diet, it may still contain breast milk or formula milk (3-4 times / day). Meat, the main source of protein and iron, can be introduced in increasing amounts in the form of boiled, mashed or chopped. In infants fed on breast, meat may become a basic part of the diet from the age of 8 months (by this age, infants have sufficient iron stores, and imposing dietary intake of animal and vegetable sources). As with vegetables, fruits and cereals, should be introduced a single assortment of meat per week, 3-4 spoons / serving, in the form of sausages, chopped or sliced ​​as thin as possible.

Servings of vegetables and fruits can be grown in 3-4 tablespoons, 4 times / day.

The whole egg (white and yolk) is introduced into the diet only after the first year, due to the risk of allergy.

By the age of 1 year, most children have abandoned the use of the bottle (if it is still used, should be just for water). After nine months, fruits and vegetables can be varied by introducing kiwi, spinach, peppers, lettuce, dill and parsley.

Experts recommend avoiding fruits such as raspberries, strawberries (due to their allergic potential) but also the excess of apples, pears or plums, because of the risk of developing diarrhea.

Child’s diet after 1 year


After the baby has reached a year, breast milk or formula milk can be replaced with whole milk.

Use of skimmed milk or semi-skimmed milk (with 2% fat) is not recommended yet, until the child not reaches the age of two years, when the body needs calories provided by rich lipid content of milk.

Whole milk is not a healthy option for the child’s diet under 1 year (infants), specialists demonstrating that their introduction in the diet determined a blood cytopenia (with decreased number of red blood cells, platelets, leukocytes) and a increased risk of developing diabetes in childhood.

Supplements

Excessive consumption of cow’s milk is to be avoided, because it is low in nutrients and through the small amount of iron that brings to the body, prone to anemia. Cheese and homemade yogurt can be introduced in small amounts during child development.

At the age of 1 year, most nutrients should come from meat, fruit, vegetables, bread, cereals and dairy products, especially milk. Diversification of the diet is intended to provide the necessary vitamins and minerals for the body.

After the age of 1-1.5 years, the pace of development is not as fast as in infancy, but it still keeps up (child’s weight will not double, however, even at this age).

Nutritional needs at the age of 1.5 years, decreases reported to body size, but not at the expense of energy. Unlike infants, a 1 year baby has a more intense physical activity, as it becomes able to walk and explore the surroundings. A feature of this period is represented by the relatively high number of meals, of 4-6/day, but in smaller quantity (child eat little and often).

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