Food provides the energy and nutrients that babies need to be healthy, and keeping a child healthy is a responsibility of every parent. It’s essential that parents ensure their baby gets the proper nutrition that can help nurture their overall growth and development.

Read on as we provide some nutrition tips for a healthy baby which you can use to keep your babies in the pink of health.

Breast milk is Still Best for Babies
Breast milk is the perfect food for babies as it has all the necessary vitamins and minerals they need for growth, development and immunity. A baby’s digestive system is still immature on its first six months and breast milk is easily digested, plus it contains antibodies that give protection against stomach infections and prevent allergies as well.

Too Much Milk is Not Good
Studies show that babies who drink more than 800-1000mls of formula a day are more likely to become iron deficient. From six to nine months, the iron stored in the baby’s body begin to diminish and it is necessary to gradually introduce solid foods that are good iron sources like baby rice cereal, legumes and meat.

Think of Iron and Protein
Meat, chicken and fish are main sources of protein and iron which should be added in an infant’s diet. When buying baby food, make sure to check the labels and see if they contain any of the proteins mentioned to ensure the baby receives rich nutrients for optimal brain development, and if not, add some on their diet.

Importance of Water
It is safe to give babies water after 6 months and especially when they are introduced to solid foods. Water helps in baby’s digestion, regulates their body temperature and carries away waste. You can start with 2 ounces at each meal.

Food Variety for Balance
Provide a balance in nutrition by having a good mix of foods from cereals, mashed fruits and vegetables, and protein rich foods. This ensures they get a healthy supply of iron, calcium, protein, and vitamins that provide a variety of healthy foods that lead to a balanced diet.

Calcium is important for building strong bones and teeth, as well as promoting nerve and muscle function. Dairy products are good sources of calcium and other nutrients. Introduce your baby to yogurts and cheeses at 7 to 8 months and cow’s milk after 12 months.

Best to Limit Sugar
Most foods like fruits, vegetables and milk have some type of sugar in them. Control the amount of sugar your baby consumes by choosing foods and beverages that are low in sugar and added sugars to protect them from tooth decay and even obesity in later life.

Check Food Labels
Make it a habit to check the food labels as this will give you information on how healthy a product is. Food labels show the ingredients and the nutrition information, as well as the manufacturer of the product.

Iodine is essential for growth and development, particularly in babies and children. Ensure your babies are getting enough by adding seafood, poultry, meat, vegetables and dairy products in their diet.

Juice and Soft drinks
Babies can have other fluids after 12 months but fruit juice and soft drinks are not recommended as they are very high in sugar. Some soft drinks also have caffeine which is not good for babies as they may interfere with iron absorption.

No to Crisps and Crackers
By 9 to 12 months, babies are able to bite and chew. Crisps and crackers can be really convenient at this stage but they are usually high in salt and are not recommended. Babies need only a very small amount of salt and too much of it can damage their kidneys. It is best to leave them off on your baby’s diet. Foods already have natural flavours so you really don’t need to add salt.

Stay Away from Ready Meals
Ready meals are quick and easy to prepare but they usually have a high salt and sugar content making them unsuitable for babies. It is always best to prepare baby’s meals by yourself as it gives you control and also makes you think of a healthier alternative every time.