We all know that breast milk is the best for babies up to two years. Mothers are advised to give their babies breast milk exclusively for the first 6 months. This is so that the baby can get all the energy he or she needs as well as the nutrients and immunofactors that it can provide.
However, by the 6th month, mothers should start introducing solid foods to the baby. By this time, the baby can hold his head steady and will be better at moving food around in the mouth.
It is an exciting time! It’s the first time that a human being will be able to explore the different tastes and textures of food. But it is also a crucial time, because each moment is a learning moment wherein the tiny human learns and builds food habits to carry with him through life.
What nutrients are important for the baby from six months up to the first two years of life?
At the first 6 months of life, breast milk can provide all the nutrients tailored to the needs of the baby. As the infant becomes developmentally ready, complementary foods may be gradually introduced. The primary purpose of this is to supply nutrients that may not be met by milk alone.
Pound-for-pound, babies need more energy, protein, and some micronutrients than adults. Those nutrients that are needed in high amounts include Vitamins A, D, E, C and the B Complex vitamins, as well as the minerals Calcium, Phosphorus, Iodine, and Zinc.
Another nutrient to consider in complementary feeding is iron. Rapid growth – especially in the first growth spurt of life – demands iron. And as the baby’s iron stores are diminished at about 4-6 months, the mineral must then be supplied in the diet.
Potatoes are great for getting your baby started.
Potatoes are rich in healthy complex carbohydrates that will provide enough energy for growth and development. As a tuber vegetable, it is naturally rich in vitamins and minerals that regulate cellular health, metabolism and immunity.
For example, a medium sized potato significantly provides a 6-11 month old infant’s Vitamin C needs. Vitamin C is a nutrient needed in building and maintaining healthy cells and an essential antioxidant when the body is in a constant high metabolic state. It is also known to increase immune resistance which is crucial when the body should be busy growing and not fighting acquired illnesses.
Practicality-wise, potatoes are pretty easy to serve pureed, mashed, small-diced, or chopped, depending on the baby’s tolerance. Versatile and mild in flavor, it is perfect for mellowing out the flavors of food. It is important to gradually introduce flavors to the baby’s taste buds to minimize pickiness and food aversion in these early stages.
To get started, you may try the Food Recipe Calculator below:
The first few foods that babies will consume must be well-suited to the baby’s development stage and nutrient needs. Because energy and micronutrient requirements must be adequately met during this first growth spurt of life, parents must choose an accessible, healthy, and natural food source to be the foundation of complementary feeding. Potatoes are an excellent candidate for this given its nutritional value as well as its versatility for both taste and texture.