How to Meet the Dietary Needs of Babies ? Health, Palate, and Lifestyle

More and more studies are proving that food has a large impact on our overall health and may even determine which diseases and ailments we will get later in life. The more we are aware of the importance of our food choices the earlier we can teach and protect our children. Of course there is always a balance to strike between what's good for our body and what's good for our taste buds and lifestyle. Here is a description of the most important nutrients for your child's development and which foods meet their needs.

Iron
Babies are born with their own source of iron, but this will be depleted after six months. Iron is absorbed best if it is from meat, however the vegetarian baby can increase iron absorption by eating foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, berries, spinach, tomatoes) with meals. Giving milk separately from meals also promotes absorption. Vegetarian iron rich foods include pureed apricots, molasses, fortified cereals, refined lentils, beans and green vegetables.

Calcium
Breast milk or formula provides all your baby's calcium needs initially. Calcium helps teeth and bones and promotes overall strength. Good sources later include: cow's milk, fortified soy milk and orange juice, cheeses, molasses, dark green vegetables, beans, lentils and tofu.

Protein
Babies require more protein than adults because of their rapid growth. A one year old child needs about 15 grams or two cups of protein per day, such as milk, cheese, beans, tofu, fish, poultry and lean meats. Combination foods such as grains (bread, pasta, rice) with beans, lentils, avocados, cheeses or tofu will provide the balance needed for vegetarian babies.

Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is usually found in animal products, such as meat and chicken. Other non-meat sources include dairy products and eggs, as well as fortified foods such as soy milk and cereals.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is made from the action of the sunlight on the skin. Most children in warm climates receive adequate Vitamin D (20-30 minutes a day, 2 to 3 times per week). Dietary sources of vitamin D include dairy products, eggs and fortified foods. Breast milk or formula will provide vitamin D in the beginning stages. Some pediatricians recommend vitamin D supplements.

Fiber
Most of your baby's fiber needs will be met with fruits and vegetables and cereal. Be careful as a diet too high in fiber and whole grains can fill up a child before their nutritional needs have been met and interfere with absorption of minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium. Too much fiber may also cause diarrhea or an upset stomach to your baby.

Zinc
Zinc is important for healthy immune systems and growth. Offer your child plenty of food rich in zinc such as wheat germ, lean meats, milk, lentils, beans, peas, corn and soybeans. Zinc, like iron may be a problem for vegetarian babies because of poor absorption.

Fat
Infants receive 40 ? 50% of their calories from fat, through breast milk or formula. After the first 12 months, your baby will receive fat from whole cow's milk. After age two, the Pediatric Panel of the National Cholesterol Education Program recommends reducing fat calories to 30% or less of total diet. This is the time to switch from whole milk and dairy products to low fat versions. Healthy fat sources include walnuts, canola oil, avocado, milk, cheese and yogurt.

Antioxidants
These are important early on as they prevent damage to developing DNA. The average American family eats only 50% of what is recommended. Vegetables and fruits are the best source of antioxidants including: sweet potatoes, carrots, kiwi, broccoli, avocados, and blueberries.

Water
Babies get water from formula and breast milk early on. However once solids are introduced they may need more liquids to aid swallowing. Water is needed for hydration as children become more active.

The nutrients listed above are good for all ages. While they contribute to your child's development they also keep adults healthy and free from diseases. You are the expert when it comes to your family and child. If you have a concern, trust your instinct and find someone to help you with health and nutrition questions and problems ? pediatricians, nutritionists, dieticians, and lactation consultants are the perfect resources. Typically steady growth is best proof that your child is getting the right amount of food.

Lisa Barnes is the founder of Petit Appetit, a culinary service devoted to the palates and health of infants and toddlers. She teaches in-home private cooking classes to parents, nannies, mothers' groups, and parenting resources throughout Northern California and is the author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook (published by Penguin Books, March 2005).

Her mission is for children to eat more healthfully, and parents to feel empowered to provide tasty and healthy food for their family. Good food should be about nutrition and taste, and bringing the family together.

For more information on Petit Appetit or The Petit Appetit Cookbook go to http://www.petitappetit.com

In The News:


Birmingham Mail

Firefighters rescue newborn baby and toddler locked in mum's car
Birmingham Mail
Firefighters made sure there was a 'nappy' ending after two babies were accidentally locked in their mother's car. The distraught mother had just strapped her 17-month-old baby boy in the child seat at the back, and his 10-week-old brother on his ...


Romper

20 Weird But Genius Things Moms Are Buying For Their Kids On Amazon
Romper
Parents buy a lot of products for their babies and toddlers and most are what you'd expect: wipes, onesies, and more diapers than you can count. But these weird but genius things moms are buying for their kids on Amazon are just a little bit different ...

and more »

County Library Hosts Baby & Toddler Storytimes
Cape May County Herald
Babies, birth to 2 years old, and their caregivers are invited to enjoy stories, songs, rhymes, instruments, and much more! Baby & Toddler Storytime is great for developing your baby's language skills and social skills with other babies. Join the fun ...

and more »

The Independent

10 best baby and toddler bath towels
The Independent
And is there anything cuter than a new little bundle wrapped snuggly in a fluffy baby towel? As babies grow into toddlers, they'll love the animal themes and cute details found on many of these towels too - a great incentive for bath time, or even ...


Daily Mail

Killer 'decapitates 18-month-old toddler and brandishes the girl's head in the street' after being released from a ...
Daily Mail
A killer released from a psychiatric hospital decapitated an 18-month-old relative with a knife and brandished the severed head in the streets of a Russian city, eyewitnesses say. Mikhail Elinsky, 42, also stabbed his niece, the dead girl's mother ...

and more »

Today.com

Baby born with organs outside belly survives, thrives despite the odds
Today.com
Looking at Crosby Gebura's big smile, there's little hint the toddler grew up surrounded by machines keeping him alive. He spent the first 19 months of his life in the hospital — the longest neonatal intensive care unit patient in the history of ...


PEOPLE.com

It'll Be a Girl for Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hilarie Burton
PEOPLE.com
... all these years she's come to expect me to be a dope… thank god she gets it, and loves me regardless.” Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Babies newsletter.

and more »

News & Star

Most popular baby and toddler names in Cumbria revealed
News & Star
And it seems that traditional names are making a comeback in the county as some wonderfully old-fashioned names top the lists. The lists have been compiled from the almost 400 entries we've had in our ever-popular Bonnie Babies competition. You can see ...


The Sun

Workers use toddler in pushchair as a makeshift ball in office game of ten-pin bowling
The Sun
Of the baby incident she said: "It was on a Saturday and they told the lad he had to come in for a meeting because he hadn't been making enough sales. "He said he couldn't because he had his child to look after. "They said to bring the kid in with him ...


Newsweek

Is Beef Bad For Babies? New Paleo Food Line Raises Concern About High Protein Diets
Newsweek
The Paleo movement has gone too far. At least, that's what Dr. Keith Ayoob, pediatric nutritionist and registered dietician says of what's being deemed the "caveman-diet" inspired baby food line, Serenity Kids. “This is where carb phobia has gotten way ...

and more »
Google News

Intersting Baby Facts - Strange But True!

* A baby is born every seven seconds.* Babies are... Read More

Etiquette for Baby Shower

Etiquette for baby shower used to be quite rigid, but... Read More

Fun & Unique Baby Shower Favors

A baby shower is often the highlight of an expectant... Read More

Creative Potty Training

When I was potty training my two young boys, I... Read More

Its Not Too Late to Vaccinate Against the Fear of Failure Flu

There's an epidemic in our culture. Have you heard of... Read More

Car Seats and Newborn Babies

I remember very clearly the first day we brought our... Read More

Baby Shower Games: The Good, the Bad and the Ugh!

Games can make or break a shower. The best can... Read More

Tips for Decorating Your Babys Nursery

Decorating your child's nursery is an exciting experience. Your little... Read More

How to Make a Lovely Baby Shower Cake

Baby shower cakes are terrific centerpieces for showers. Guests always... Read More

Baby Monitor Technology - A Buyers Guide

What is a baby monitor & why do I need... Read More

When Not To Begin Potty Training

Potty training can be a stressful experience for you and... Read More

The Personality Traits Of An Aries Baby

Your Aries Baby..21 March - 19 April.A typical Aries has... Read More

Creating Good Feng Shui in Babys Room

Getting ready for a new baby requires a lot of... Read More

The Perfect Baby Shower Gift

Have you found yourself frustrated trying to decide what to... Read More

Tips For a First-Time Mom

Having a baby can be one the most life-changing experiences... Read More

Top List of Baby Girls Names - Choosing Perfect Baby Names for Girls

The list of baby girls names that are the most... Read More

Five Easy Steps to Potty Train Your Baby

No?Don't let your child pee or poop every where and... Read More

When To Move From Carseat To Booster

Under three, use a car seat. The guidelines for transporting... Read More

How to Buy a Baby Crib Online

A baby crib is one of the most expensive things... Read More

Baby?s First Shoes: How to Choose the Right Ones

Any parent of an active toddler has asked this question:... Read More

Potty Training in One Day - Can You Really Potty Train in a Day? What Does It Mean?

Sounds great ? doesn't it?Or does it sound too good... Read More

Heres What to Expect at a Baby Shower

A baby shower is a great way to welcome a... Read More

IQ, Intelligence, and Brain Development- Another Breastfeeding Benefit

Modern parents want to do everything they can to help... Read More

A Baby Is Born With Certain Reflexes

A Baby's Reflexes..A baby is born with certain reflexes to... Read More

Stammering Toddler

Some parents have the shock of hearing their young child... Read More