What you don’t know about baby’s nutrition and how to get them through diet
When I had my first son V, I spent hours trawling the internet learning about nutrition for babies and looking for ideas of what to feed him. With so many different baby food options and views out there, it can be hard to know what to choose, who to trust and how to make sure your little one is getting everything they need.
Having worked with professional dietitians over the past few years, here is my list of some of the lesser known tips about how to optimise your babies nutrition.
Let’s start off with the “macronutrients”. Just like adults, babies need a balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to grow. However, the right “balance” could look quite different for young babies and toddlers compared to adults.
Get the balance right
Babies and toddlers have higher needs per kg body weight compared to adults. It is important not to restrict carbohydrates or fats as these are an important source of energy for the growing child. Getting the right balance of protein is important, enough to support growth but not too much that it places undue stress on the maturing kidneys. Plant based foods contain small amounts of protein too so you can have the confidence that even on our meat-free days your child is getting enough protein in their diet.
Meat beats vegetables when it comes to iron
There are many micronutrients which are crucial for babies’ growth but I want to share my learnings on iron first. Children over 6 months (especially those who are exclusively breastfed) may struggle to meet their iron requirements. You may already know that good sources of iron include red meat, beans, broccoli and leafy greens but what you may not know is that when it comes to our body’s ability to absorb iron, meat sources are better compared with plant-based sources.
Pairing plant-based sources with vitamin C rich food, however, does help with the iron absorption. So how about a beef and broccoli pasta dish and a few slices of orange make a great meal that’s healthy for both you and your baby!
They need more calcium than you may think
Babies still receiving breast or formula milk will have their calcium needs supported however as volumes reduce it is a good idea to offer calcium-rich foods within the diet such as fortified oats (e.g. Ready Brek) with milk for breakfast and full fat plain yoghurt as dessert. Aim for 2-3 servings of dairy or fortified plant based alternatives each day.
V&Me has done all the research for you
If you’re looking for an easy and convenient way to ensure that your baby is getting all the nutrients they need, consider trying V&Me! I created the company with the help of children’s dietitians to make sure we provide the best nutritional start for our next generation. We send out dietitian planned daily menus to your door, freshly cooked every day by professional chefs. With 36 dishes on rotation every season, you can rest assured that your baby will be getting all the variety and nutrition they need. So why not leave the research to V&Me and just enjoy mealtimes with your babies!