What is it?
Infant nutrition is the term used for feeding a baby from birth to 24 months. During the first six months a baby is either fed breast milk or formula. After six months more solid foods can start to be introduced to the diet.
There are modern complementary feeding techniques such as baby-led weaning. This involves the child choosing different foods that are placed in front of them. It is a way for baby to feel different textures. This technique is recommended from six months onwards.
Why is nutrition important?
Infant nutrition is important to avoid diseases related to infant malnutrition. The first year of your baby’s life is crucial for their growth and development, both physical and mental. It is important to find a paediatrician so that they can advise a diet plan.
Something that should also be taken into account is hygiene. It is important to sterilise teats, bottles, and dummies, especially during the first six months.
What does it involve?
There are three phases in infant nutrition, and they all have one thing in common; milk intake. This should be done as advised by your physician, whether baby is breastfed or formula fed:
- From 0 to 6 months: the baby only consumes milk as they are in the development process and using their reflexes to be able to suck and swallow.
- From 6 to 12 months: from 6 months onwards milk may not be enough and solid foods can start to be introduced to the diet. Between 7 and 9 months your baby starts rhythmic chewing, even without teeth. At this stage foods such as porridge, mash, and small food pieces can be added to baby’s diet.
- From 13 to 24 months: after the first year, your baby’s tastes will start developing as they try new flavours and textures. It is important to gradually expand the range of foods so that when they reach two years old they can start eating a diet more similar to an adult.