Most food that is good for you is good for your baby. as long as you offer a varied, balanced diet that is made up mainly of fresh and healthy ingredients, and avoid the few foods babies shouldn’t have, you won’t go wrong and your baby will be well on the way to developing a taste for nutritious meals that will help him to make sensible food choices when he is older.
About What Should Babies Eat during a Baby Led Weaning? A Healthy Diet.
A healthy diet for the whole family is one that provides all the necessary nutrients in roughly the right proportions, and gives you all plenty of energy. In the first few months of solids there’s no need to worry about balancing the different types of food for your baby because he is still just exploring; his milk feedings (breast milk or formula) contain all the nutrients he needs. And, unless there are allergies in the family, there’s no need to introduce foods one at a time (as parents used to be advised to do) because by six months babies’ digestive and immune systems can cope with a wide variety of foods. If your baby shares healthy meals with you, as soon as he does begin to need extra nutrients they will be readily available for him. read more on What Should Babies Eat during a Baby Led Weaning?
About What Should Babies Eat during a Baby Led Weaning? Food Groups.
We find it useful to think of food in five main categories: fruits and vegetables, carbohydrate-rich foods, protein-rich foods, and calcium-rich foods, plus a fifth, smaller group fats. Adults (and older children) should aim to have plenty of carbs, with smaller amounts of protein foods, calcium-rich foods, and a small amount of fat. Babies’ needs are slightly different, although having five fruits and vegetables a day and eating fish at least twice a week is good advice for both babies and adults.
- Fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins and minerals. Try to offer as many differently colored fruits and vegetables as you can they all provide different nutrients.
- Carbohydrate-rich foods provide energy, and many also contain protein, as well as some important vitamins and minerals.
- Protein-rich foods are vital for growth. Meat, fish, eggs, and cheese are all full of protein and are excellent foods for babies.
- Calcium-rich foods include dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, tofu, sesame seeds (for example as in tahini), almonds, and canned fish with soft, edible bones, such as sardines.
- Fats provide energy in a concentrated form. Some fats are important for the healthy functioning and development of the brain.
Learn BABY LED WEANING BASICS
Extra Needs for Babies.
Babies and young children need more fat and calcium than adults. Breast milk and infant formula contain plenty of these important nutrients. but as babies gradually start to have less breast milk or formula (usually from about nine months onward), they need to get fat and calcium from the rest of their diet in order to grow and develop healthily.
So although a low-fat diet may be better for their parents and older siblings, children under two years old, who aren’t relying on milk feedings, should have full-fat dairy foods (milk, yogurt, butter, and cheese) to ensure that they get all the nutrients and energy they require. Oily fish with edible bones are a good source of both fat and calcium.
Iron and zinc are the first nutrients that babies start to need in addition to those provided by breast milk. Most babies are born with stores of these minerals to last them well beyond six months, but it’s a good idea to offer foods that contain them early on, so that your baby can help himself to them as soon as he needs them. Most foods that are rich in iron are also good sources of zinc. Slow-cooked meat (especially beef) is the best source, and fish and eggs also provide plenty. Tofu, dried beans and legumes, and dark green leafy vegetables contain good amounts of iron (and zinc). although it’s not as easily absorbed as it is from animal sources. In North America, much bread, wheat flour, and many breakfast cereals are fortified with iron. Eating foods that contain vitamin C (most vegetables and fruit), at the same meal as iron-rich foods helps to maximize iron absorption even a squeeze of lemon juice makes a difference.
The Importance of Variety.
The best way to provide a good range of nutrients for your baby is to offer a truly varied diet each week. Having a variety of foods will also provide different tastes and textures for him to learn to manage and the more naturally colorful the food is, the better the range of vitamins and minerals it is likely to contain.
It’s a good idea to have a look at your own diet to see if you are buying the same foods (however healthy) week after week. If you are, try some new foods even changing the cuts of meat or the type of bread you normally buy can provide you with a different selection of nutrients. Swapping wheat-based meals for other grains, such as oats or rye, now and then will add extra vitamins and minerals, and varying the fruit and vegetables you buy, and including some fresh herbs, will also help to ensure a wide range of nutrients for the whole family.
From about eight or nine months onward, when your baby is eating more and may be beginning to take less milk, making sure you offer him something from each of the main food groups every day, along with his milk feedings, will provide him with a good range of nutrients. Don’t worry if he chooses not to eat some of each he will balance out his diet over the course of a few days, provided he is allowed to choose freely. This is it for What Should Babies Eat during a Baby Led Weaning?