During their first year of life, babies grow significantly. Baby formula, breast milk and newborn baby bundles are full of nutrients that support healthy growth. These are five important nutrients that your baby needs during this incredible growing stage.
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Calcium is vital in building strong teeth and bones. It is also a key nutrient in the prevention of rickets, which can stunt growth, create weak muscles and soften bones. Nerves and muscles also need calcium. In addition, this muscle supports heart health.
You may supplement your baby’s calcium intake with fortified soy drinks, yogurt, green vegetables, almonds, oranges and prunes. However, babies less than one-year-old should only drink breast milk and baby formula.
Your baby’s growth and development is supported by zinc. It also helps build protein and DNA in your child’s body. If you are looking for added immune support, zinc may be your supplement of choice. In fact, insufficient zinc may result in an increase in infections and growth challenges.
Your child typically has plenty of zinc during the first six months of their lives if they are fed breastmilk, but supplementation should occur after that. Baby formulas tend to have sufficient zinc. Baby cereal fortified with zinc is a good option until babies can eat meat, which should still be pureed.
When you are researching baby food bundles, look for those that include iron, which is an essential nutrient. Iron is the key nutrient in building blood cells. Because it is part of hemoglobin, iron helps red blood cells distribute oxygen throughout your children’s bodies. It is also necessary for brain development.
Although they have plenty of iron built up when they are born, their stores begin to become depleted as they reach the four-to-six-month mark. Although breast milk and formula have added iron, they may not provide enough, and iron supplementation is even more important as your child begins to eat solid foods.
Iron can be found in meats, eggs, beans, whole grains, spinach, prunes, apricots, etc. Therefore, consider adding some of these foods to your baby’s diet.
Your baby needs omega 3 fatty acids. These nutrients support immunity as well as the development of your baby’s brain and eyes. In fact, their little bodies depend on fatty acids for life. However, the body cannot produce these nutrients, so they are vital parts of your baby’s diet and supplements.
Foods that contain fatty acids include fish, including salmon and whitefish, but watch the mercury levels in these foods. You can also find fatty acids in omega 3 eggs. You may consider supplementing your baby’s diet if your baby isn’t getting enough.
Just as they need calcium, babies also need vitamin D to support their bone health. Vitamin D also supports your baby’s immune system. Although baby formulas typically have enough of this nutrient, breast milk typically does not. Therefore, supplementation may be necessary before food is introduced.
Many pediatricians recommend using an over-the-counter supplement that you can add to their bottles. You may also add yogurt into their diets, but avoid cow’s milk during the first year of their lives.
Consult a pediatrician before giving supplements to your child. Then, search for those that meet your child’s needs, such as supplements that address low iron in babies.