Congratulations on the safe delivery of your new little bundle of joy! You’re likely overwhelmed with a flood of emotions, ideas, questions and a bit of exhaustion. The purpose of this post is to provide you with some quick and easy to access information about nutrition for your infant. Good nutrition in the first year of life has a positive effect on overall health and disease prevention in later years.2
From birth to 6 months of age (in a term, baby), it is recommended that infants exclusively feed on breastmilk or formula.3 Of course formula from a healthy mama is ideal whenever possible. This will meet all the needs of the infant with the possible exception of vitamin D and perhaps iron if the baby has a low birth weight.4 This makes it easy because other than the initial choice of if you will nurse or formula feed your baby (and which formula to use), there are very few choices to make when it comes to feeding time.
Although every baby is different, typically around 6 months old, infant nutritional needs change and they are ready to start trying small amounts of solid (but soft) foods in addition to breast milk or formula. This is important for helping them grow and develop, and also for longer sleep times (which you likely will both need). Soft fruits and vegetables that are mashed are great to start with. Just be sure to avoid the common allergenic foods for early introduction (including: peanuts, eggs, cow’s milk, sesame, fish and wheat).5
Introducing new foods:
You can save a lot of money by making your own baby food. It’s easy. You can just mash up soft foods such as avocados, bananas, cooked sweet potatoes, etc. There is no need to purchase expensive (and less healthy) pre-made baby foods. Remember to feed your baby one new food at a time and keep foods bland (no added salt, oil or sugar).
Some specific key nutrients:
The following is information about some of the specific nutrients that are especially important for your little one. But don’t be overwhelmed! In most cases, much of this is provided in mother’s milk and formulas already. Mother’s milk is the standard for infant nutrition and most formulas are based off of that standard. All nutrients are important and play a unique role, but listed below are some of the common ones to pay attention to.
Here are some important nutrients to be aware of:
|Nutrient||0-6 months old/day||6-12 months old/day|
|Energy (calories)||438-645 kcal6||608-844 kcal6|
|Macronutrients: Carbohydrates||60 g7||95 g7|
|Macronutrients: Protein||1.52 g/kg of bodyweight8||1.2 g/kg of bodyweight8|
|Macronutrients: Fat||31 g8||30 g8|
|Vitamins: D||400 IU9||400 IU9|
|Minerals: Iron||.27 mg10 (adequate intake)||11 mg10|
Again, remember that breast milk from a healthy mother and good quality formulas (properly mixed with pure water) will normally provide what the infant needs in general. Of course, every baby is unique, so certain symptoms may warrant different needs or even some medical testing. (If you’re not sure about something, always check with a qualified health care provider.)
Side Note: This is a bit off the main subject but I can’t stress enough the importance of having healthy habits yourself if you want your baby to be healthy. Parents who manage stress, get good sleep, and eat lots of fresh whole foods will be more present and fuller of life with their babies. Especially if you are nursing, drink LOTS of water and be sure to eat a healthy whole food plant-based diet along with cell resonant supplementation as needed.
But food isn’t the only nutrition your baby needs…
Non-physical nutrition: Don’t forget about the ways to nourish your baby that are non-food related. There are several things you can do that will help your baby feel safe, comfortable and connected. These feelings yield a calmer, happier and healthier baby. Reducing stress can improve many aspects of health. These don’t cost a dime but the return on investment is so worth it. Start here:
- Skin-to-skin contact. As often as possible, create skin-to-skin contact while feeding your little one. This is easy of course if you are nursing but can also be done with formula feeding from a bottle. Skin-to-skin contact helps your baby feel safe, calm and connected to you.11
- Keep your baby at a comfortable temperature.12 They are just like you… They want to be cozy but not hot. However, because they don’t have as much insulation yet, they can get cold easier, so just be aware of that.
- Soft sounds are most soothing. Avoid loud noises when possible.13
- If you are using a formula or pumping and giving breast milk from a bottle, use BPA free bottles. BPA is a toxic chemical that is harmful to human health and is often found in plastic bottles, unfortunately, including baby bottles.14
- Watch your words. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. The words that you say to and around your baby are powerful and will have a profound impact, be it positive or negative. It’s never too early to remind them that they are safe, loved, smart, joyful, etc.
If you are looking for help with your baby, at New Hope Health, we LOVE to help your little ones get the best start ever! Feel free to give us a call for more information: 269-204-6525.
1. Fotos A. Baby Nutrition. Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/child-baby-vegetables-fruit-2002083/. Accessed December 8, 2020.
2. Roess AA, Jacquier EF, Catellier DJ, et al. Food consumption patterns of infants and toddlers: Findings from the feeding infants and toddlers study (FITS) 2016. J Nutr. 2018. doi:10.1093/jn/nxy171
3. Clayton HB, Li R, Perrine CG, Scanlon KS. Prevalence and reasons for introducing infants early to solid foods: Variations by milk feeding type. Pediatrics. 2013. doi:10.1542/peds.2012-2265
4. Dupont C. Protein requirements during the first year of life. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003. doi:10.1093/ajcn/77.6.1544s
5. Perkin MR, Logan K, Tseng A, et al. Randomized Trial of Introduction of Allergenic Foods in Breast-Fed Infants. N Engl J Med. 2016. doi:10.1056/nejmoa1514210
6. When breastfeeding, how many calories should moms and babies consume? https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/breastfeeding/conditioninfo/calories. Accessed December 8, 2020.
7. Dietary Reference Intakes. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. https://www.nal.usda.gov/sites/default/files/fnic_uploads/energy_full_report.pdf. Accessed December 8, 2020.
8. Brown J. Nutrition Through the Lifecycle. Sixth. Boston: Cengage Learning; 2017.
9. NIH. Vitamin D Health Professional Fact Sheet. NIH.
10. NIH. Iron – Health Professional Fact Sheet. US Department of Health & Human Services.
11. Crenshaw JT. Healthy Birth Practice #6: Keep Mother and Baby Together— It’s Best for Mother, Baby, and Breastfeeding. J Perinat Educ. 2014. doi:10.1891/1058-1243.23.4.211
12. Lubkowska A, Szymański S, Chudecka M. Surface body temperature of full-term healthy newborns immediately after Birth—Pilot study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019. doi:10.3390/ijerph16081312
13. Erickson LC, Newman RS. Influences of Background Noise on Infants and Children. Curr Dir Psychol Sci. 2017. doi:10.1177/0963721417709087
14. Braun JM, Hauser R. Bisphenol A and children’s health. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2011. doi:10.1097/MOP.0b013e3283445675
Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease. It does not take the place of a qualified health care practitioner and is intended for educational purposes only.