Five Things You Should Know About Your Baby’s Nutrition in the First Year of Life

Rational nutrition that meets the physiological needs of the growing body is the most important condition for the harmonious development of the child. It is known that each child has an individual, genetically programmed rate of maturation of individual organs and systems; at the same time, the relationship between the growth rate and the nature of nutrition is established. 

High growth rates are noted in the intrauterine period of development (hemotrophic nutrition). After birth, the growth rate remains high during the first 3-4 months of life when the child is exclusively lactotrophic; the growth rate slows down during the transition to normal nutrition. Qualitative and quantitative deviations in the child’s diet can easily cause metabolic shifts, namely violations of the ratio of mineral salts, hemoglobin synthesis, the development of sensitization of the body, inhibition or activation of anabolic processes, clinically manifested by several diseases such as rickets, anemia, atopic dermatitis, hypotrophy, obesity, etc. According to experienced experts, nutritional problems at an early age determine the development of later pathologies: obesity, endocrine gland dysfunction, allergies, and chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. 

In this regard, nutrition that is quantitatively and qualitatively adequate is one of the important factors in the formation of child health. The qualitative characteristics of the child’s diet are determined by its constituent food ingredients; these are protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and macro-macronutrients.

Sense of hunger in children, how to recognize

The physiological positions of the formation of a feeling of hunger are based on the lack of necessary substances in the body to ensure the processes of growth, development, and energy consumption. Simplified, it looks like this: in the body, there are so-called analyzers. They consist of sensitive nerve endings that perceive irritation and signal to the subcortical centers about the number of necessary nutrients and compounds. From the subcortical centers (unconscious level), the integrated signal goes to the appropriate area of the cerebral cortex, where the sensation (conscious level) in the form of thirst is formed – it is an integrated signal of lack of water in the body. If there is no conscious information in the cerebral cortex about the reduction of specific trace elements or compounds, then a desire is formed (to eat something and by trying to finally find a food product that contains the necessary trace elements for the body). If this signal is formed, then the person already knows and will say what he needs to eat. The child solves such problems very simply, that is, at the level of animals – intuitively. 

For example, in the period of active growth, a child’s body needs significantly more calcium and phosphorus. It finds these elements in chalk, which the child begins to chew or lick. But such behavioral reactions we see in children who are already able to move, that is, after the age of one year. And how do infants react (period – the first 10 days after birth) or infants (from 10 days to 1 year) when the language apparatus has not yet formed, the second signaling system is still developing?

From Nature, a baby has a set of unconditioned reflexes that ensure its survival, including during these two periods. Among them are the grasping reflex (the baby pulls his hands into his mouth), sucking, turning of the head to the smell of the mother’s body, which ensures the search for the mammary gland, and movements of hands and feet to imitate the food search. If the goal is not achieved, the baby begins to cry; besides, the crying will be characteristic – of hunger.

The mother subconsciously, intuitively, usually picks up a characteristic “hungry” crying with the auditory analyzer; the signal goes to the mother’s subcortical centers, which automatically activate the process of active accumulation and secretion of milk from the breast glands. And in the mother’s cerebral cortex, a conscious feeling of feeding the baby is formed.

Artificial feeding – a lifeline in some cases

With breastfeeding, almost everything is clear, but what to do when the natural supply of physiological needs of the child is not available? Let’s analyze it in detail. Of course, everyone knows that breast milk is the best food for babies, but if for some reason mommy can not feed her baby with her milk, the only salvation is an artificial formula. But to choose it carefully. Your pediatrician will help you in this, assessing all indicators of your baby’s health. The baby formula must be adapted. For example, the Kendamil formula has a high level of adaptation (approximation of composition to mother’s milk), especially in the first stage.

What should be the composition of the milk formula

The range of baby formulas on the market is so great that even parents who have seen a lot can get lost in it, not to mention those moms and dads for whom everything, as well as for their baby, for the first time. What kind of baby food best meets the needs of the baby? There is an unambiguous answer to this question – the one that is chosen about the age and individual characteristics of the baby!

The preferred components of infant formula are probiotics and prebiotics, Omega-3 and Omega-6, nucleotides, L-carnitine, taurine, vitamins (A, C, E, K, B, D, biotin), and minerals (iron, iodine, fluorine, zinc, selenium, copper, calcium, chromium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride).

Rules for the introduction of complementary foods

The introduction of complementary foods in each case should be age-appropriate, with a gradual change in the dynamics of consistency, flavor, aroma, and appearance of food while extending breastfeeding. To ensure that the introduction of complementary foods into the child’s diet is organic and does not disrupt the digestive tract, the following rules should be followed:

  • Complementary foods should only be given when the child is in good health;
  • Complementary food is given before breastfeeding or baby formula feeding, preferably at the same time, gradually, until the child is fully adapted to the new type of food;
  • After the baby has received a portion of complementary food, you can put it back on the breast. This will help the mother to maintain lactation and the baby adjust to the new food.

You should not add salt, sugar, or spices to the complementary foods. If there are signs of poor tolerance to the product (disorders of the digestive system, allergic reactions), should stop introducing it and put another. You should start with one type of product, and only after the child has had each of them separately can they be mixed. Vegetable purées, as a low-protein food complementary food, give no more than two weeks, then these dishes should be enriched by adding high-protein foods (soft cheese, meat). You can also give your child puréed fresh fruits and vegetables, and later fruits and vegetables in pieces. With and 6-9 months, recommend the following types of meat: veal, chicken, turkey, rabbit, lean pork. You should start with finely ground or mashed meat, gradually moving to pieces. Meat should not be dry and keep its natural moisture so that the child can easily swallow it. You should not give your child smoked meat products, sausages, or frankfurters. From 8-10 months, fish should be introduced, and from 7 months, egg yolk as a source of iron. Egg white is an allergenic product, so it is not recommended to give it until one year of age.