It should be no secret that proper nutrition is the foundation for the healthy development of your baby. While you may intuitively know this as a new parent, it may be much less clear as to exactly what good nutrition looks like for an infant. Opinions may differ and trends may come and go, but there are several essential principles and facts that you must know regarding the importance of nutrition for baby development.
Informing yourself as a parent can ensure that you give your baby the best chance at a long and healthy life. The infant years are a critical time of growth and deficiencies or a lack of certain minerals and vitamins can have profound effects on health outcomes later in life. Take the task of knowing about your baby’s nutrition seriously.
Let’s look a little more closely at some of the most salient points regarding the interrelationship between nutrition and baby development.
Grow Up Strong and Secure
Proper nutrition will allow your baby to grow and develop in accordance with established medical guidelines. Indeed, adequate nutrition for babies can ensure the development of almost everything from your child’s overall weight and body composition to their immunity and ability to resist harmful pathogens.
You should already be somewhat informed about the fundamentals of baby nutrition during pregnancy. Proper baby nutrition should start before birth as the eating habits of mothers can shape children in sometimes surprising ways. Avoid foods that are known to be harmful or inhibit baby growth such as alcohol, coffee, or raw fish. Consult with your family physician to ensure that your caloric intake is sufficient to keep both you and your baby healthy. They may recommend that you take some form of supplementation to address any deficiencies. Folic acid, for example, is commonly recommended.
The Breastfeeding Debate
There is a general consensus that breastfeeding your child for the first year is the most beneficial way of ensuring that they receive a complete diet composed of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Breastmilk also contains compounds that cannot yet be replicated in other forms of food such as antibodies, for example, which can bolster your baby’s immunity.
However, for a variety of personal reasons, many new mothers are not able to breastfeed their children. Statistically speaking, this should not be a cause for alarm. In these cases, if you still manage to provide your baby with all of the nutrients he/she needs then they will not experience significantly worse health outcomes in the long run.
Baby and infant formulas can help in this regard. Contemporary formulations of these products have come a long way and closely resemble breastmilk in terms of their nutritional profile. While they may not be an exact replacement for breastmilk, they do offer the flexibility of painless and easy feeding for your baby. Using formula also allows parents to track precisely how much nutrition their baby is consuming which can simply be measured. Conversely, knowing how much your baby is gleaning from breastmilk is often a bit of a guessing game.
Set Your Child Up For A Healthy Life
Establishing a complete diet and good eating habits for your infant can encourage them to make better nutritional choices throughout their life. Proper baby nutrition has also been linked to having a healthy body weight as an adult! On the other hand, children with poor quality diets are more likely to be overweight or obese than otherwise. Make good nutritional choices for yourself and those who you are responsible for. Your baby might be too small to speak but they will thank you when they are older.