Nutrition Basics - Nutrition in Infants


  Nutrition in Infants

During infants first year of life good nutrition is essential for growth and development, as the body grows at a very fast rate. An infant must obtain an adequate amount of essential nutrients by consuming proper nutrition foods. Infants need large amounts of energy rich foods and protein rich foods. During the first four to six months infant is fed on breast milk, and usually breast milk supplies all nutrients needed by the baby. After six months breast milk alone is not sufficient, along with breast milk supplementary foods should be provided. The types of foods you provide for the infants must be based on locally available food stuffs and cooking methods should be simple.

Dietary guidelines for infants:

  • Avoid under and over feeding.
  • Provide low salt foods.
  • Encourage breast feeding.
  • Provide supplementary foods along with breast feeding after 6 months.
  • Serve foods rich in proteins, calcium and iron.
  • Avoid low fat foods.
  • Provide iron fortified cereals.

Breast milk: First four months Provide breast milk 5 to 6 ounces 4 to 6 times each day that should be around 24 to 32 ounces. From six months provide 4 to 5 feedings of breast milk that is around 24 to 32 ounces and also provide supplementary foods.

Cereals: Until 4 months no cereals provided for infants. From four to six months provide iron fortified infant cereals  1 to 2 table spoons, 6 to 8 months iron fortified cereals 4 to 6 table spoons that would be like small pieces of crackers, dry toast cereals and other grain products 4 to 5 table spoons. In the age between 8 to 12 months you can include cereals like iron fortified cereals , small pieces of crackers, dry breakfast cereals 4 to 5 table spoons and other grain products 4 to 6 table spoons.

Vegetables:  Vegetables can be introduced from 4 to 6 months , initially in 6months age 1 to 2 tablespoon plain strained or pureed cooked vegetables 1 to 2 tbsp can be given. During 6 to 8 months pureed cooked vegetables 3 to 4 tbsp can be introduced. During 8 to 12 months pureed , mashed or chopped vegetables can be given.

Fruits: Fruits can be introduced during plain strained or pureed fresh or cooked fruits 1 to 2 tbsp , from 6 to 8 months 3 to 4 tablespoon of cooked fruits can be introduced. During 8 to 12 months you can eat 3 to 4 tablespoon. Do not add sugar or syrups to fruits. Never add honey to fruits. Avoid fruits that may cause choking. Avoid feeding soda, gelatin, fruit punches, coffee or tea.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are major source of energy. Apart from providing energy carbohydrates allow proteins in the diet to be used efficiently and also allow normal use of fats in the body. Recommended allowance of carbohydrates for infants 0 to 6 months is 60g/day and 7 to 12 months 95g/day. From birth to 4 months 108 kcals per kg body weight/ day are recommended calories. During 4 to 6 months recommended calories are 108 kcals per kg body weight per day, 6 to 8 months 98 kcal/kg bw/day,8 to 12 months  98 kcals/kgbw/day.

Proteins:  Plain strained pureed protein rich foods such as meats, egg yolks, and legumes may be introduced if an additional food source of iron is needed. During 6 to 8 months plain strained or pureed protein rich foods such as meats, egg yolk and legumes 1 to 2 Tbsp. From 8 to 12 months plain pureed, mashed or chopped cooked fruits 3 to 4 Tbsp. Avoid foods that may cause choking. Avoid fried meats, gravies, sauces, processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs

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