Most infants receive essential nutrients from breast milk or formula during the first 6 months of life. Between the ages of 6 months and 12 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends complementing breast milk and/or formula with solid foods. As this transition occurs, some parents become nervous about making sure that their little ones receive enough vitamins and minerals for proper growth and development. If your infant is starting to eat solids, incorporating the following nutritional powerhouses into his diet may help to ease your worries.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest refers to the sweet potato as “a nutritional all-star” and places it on a list of the 10 best foods for people to eat. This baby-friendly root vegetable contains high levels of vitamin A, calcium and potassium and is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Blended sweet potato is perfect on its own, or you can mix in some all-natural applesauce for extra sweetness and moisture.
Not only does baby yogurt contain protein, vitamin A and calcium, it also contains vitamin D. Babies need vitamin D for proper bone development because it aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, according to Jay L. Hoecker, M.D., Mayo Clinic Consultant and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Baby yogurt comes in a variety of flavors, including blueberry, banana, vanilla and peach.
The ideal texture for toothless gums, bananas are among the best first fruits to introduce to your baby. This easy-to-digest, fiber-rich fruit contains significant levels of vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium. According to Baby Center.com, potassium encourages healthy muscle function and regulates water levels in the body, and vitamin C is important for healthy gums and a strong immune system.
Kathleen M. Zelman, director of nutrition for WebMD, says kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables available and calls it “a superstar.” This leafy green is jam-packed with vitamins A, C, and K and also contains calcium, iron and folic acid. Vitamin A aids in your baby’s eye development and immune system function, and vitamin K is a strong antioxidant that promotes bone health. Folic acid is a form of vitamin B that is essential for the proper development of your child’s nervous system.
American Academy of Pediatrics: AAP Reaffirms Breastfeeding Guidelines
Center for Science in the Public Interest: 10 Worst and Best Foods
Mayo Clinic.com: Does My Baby Need a Vitamin D Supplement?
Baby Center.com: Vitamin C in Your Child’s Diet
Baby Center.com: Potassium in Your Child’s Diet
WebMD.com: The Truth About Kale