Breast milk is the most important food for babies but once your baby reaches six months old, it is the right time to introduce solid food to your child.
This is the reason why it is so important for parents to start transitioning the diet of their babies from pure milk to baby foods. However, before you start making baby foods to your child, there are certain things that you need to know first.
This post will discuss about what you need to know before starting to make your own baby food.
The Benefits of Making Your Own Baby Foods
The purpose of feeding your baby with baby food is to wean your baby so that he or she ends up getting used to eating solid food. Moreover, feeding children with baby foods is a great way to improve the nutritional aspect of the food that your baby eats.
So aside from ensuring that your baby gets nutritional benefits from eating baby foods, why should you make one in the first place instead of buying from the supermarket? Below are the many reasons why you ought to make baby foods on your own.
1 – Saves Money
Making your own baby food from fresh ingredients can help you save a lot of money compared to buying baby foods from the market. Moreover, you also save a lot of time going to the grocery to pick baby food once you run out of them.
2 – Provides Different Textures and Tastes
Almost all types of commercial baby foods sold in the market today are made with the same texture thus it does not provide any variation to babies at all.
3 – Teach Children the Value of Eating Homemade Foods
The thing is that if you start introducing homemade foods to children, the sooner it is they can appreciate home cooking. Unfortunately, most children today are used to eating junk foods because their parents haven’t introduced home cooking to their kids by giving them homemade baby foods.
4 – Exercise Control on What Your Child Eats
Okay so most commercial baby foods are packaged to be organic and natural but considering the fact that they are marketed large-scale, you cannot guarantee whether commercial baby foods do not contain traces of preservatives.
If you make your own baby food, you exercise control on what your child eats. You know what kinds of ingredients are added in your baby food if you make them.
Nutrients Babies Need To Get From Baby Food
Babies have different nutritional requirements as they grow. Breast milk is the best source of Calcium for babies that are a necessary mineral for the proper bone development of children.
While breast milk is the most important food for babies from Day 1 to six months old, they need other foods to get vitamins and minerals from solid foods.
This is the reason why it is important to feed an assortment of baby foods to your child to provide his or her nutritional needs that breast milk lacks. This section will discuss about the different nutrients that babies need to get from baby foods.
After six months, the iron needs of your baby increases. Iron is necessary for the healthy development of brain. Offer iron rich baby foods twice a day to ensure enough iron intake. You can feed iron-fortified cereals but you can make baby foods from lean meats such as chicken, beef, lamb, fish, pork, eggs and beans.
Babies need a daily amount of 450mg of choline. It is necessary for the development of the brain particularly the neural tubes. Choline is sourced from pork, cod fish and hardboiled eggs.
Chromium promotes the building of proteins that are necessary for the development of muscles and tissues of babies. Babies can get chromium from peanut butters, apples and chicken meat.
Babies need copper for healthy development of the heart, arteries and blood vessels. It is also necessary for the healthy development of the nervous and skeletal systems. Copper is sourced from crab meat, raw cashews and kidney beans.
Iodine is important in regulating the metabolism as well as the development of the nervous system. It can be obtained by eating low fat yogurt, baked potatoes and fish.
Children need 350mg of Magnesium daily to help build strong bones and also repair tissue damage. Magnesium is sourced from pumpkin seeds and spinach.
Manganese is a trace element in the body. Babies need only 2mg of it daily to help in metabolism. It can be obtained from eating brown rice and oatmeal.
- Pantothenic Acid
Pantothenic Acid is essential for the production of hormones as well as the regulation of metabolism in the body. They are obtained from avocado, hardboiled eggs and nonfat milk.
Phosphorus is crucial to help build stronger bones and develop the kidney function in children. It can be sourced from black beans, salmon and lean beef.
Potassium is another important mineral that babies need to help maintain proper electrolyte balance and nerve function. A daily amount of 4700mg of potassium is required among babies. It can be obtained from baked potatoes, bananas and apricots.
Riboflavin promotes good vision and healthy skin. Babies can get it from eating mushrooms, nonfat yogurt and duck meat.
Thiamine converts the carbohydrates into energy and it is also essential for the development of the brain. It can be obtained from eating spinach and legumes.
- Vitamin A
Babies need 2,565 International Units (IU) of Vitamin A. It can help promote healthy retinal cell development and better vision. Eating spinach and raw carrots provide the necessary amounts of Vitamin A required by the body.
- Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It also helps protect the nervous system. Vitamin B6 is sourced from banana, baked potatoes, chickpeas and chicken breasts.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is necessary for the tissue repair as well as the production of collagen. It can be sourced from orange juice, broccoli and strawberries.
- Vitamin D
Babies need 5mcg or 200IU of Vitamin D to help build stronger bones and teeth. Vitamin D can be naturally obtained from sunlight but your baby can get them from eating salmon and milk.
Babies need a daily amount of 11mg of Zinc to aid in cell growth and DNA production. They can be source from eating firm tofu and yogurt.