OPTIMUM NUTRITION FOR BABIES
I believe that optimal nutrition is essential in maintaining
optimal health. It is vital to our lives, as our bodies
have been completely built and maintained by the foods we
eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. We are
totally dependent upon these foods as they are the starter
molecules for all the biochemical activities that take place
within the body i.e. running. breathing, thinking,
digesting etc - The quality and balance of our food intake
is, therefore, a key factor in determining how healthy we
I also believe that we shall soon see nutrition playing
a major role in our healthcare system. A time will come
when nutrition will have to be considered as a factor in
all disease and a time when natural supplements will replace
many drugs. Hopefully, in the future, every baby will have
his or her own individualised nutrition programme, based on
biochemical individuality. This would help to establish
the optimal health possible for the genetic disposition
of the baby, and prevent future degenerative disease.
Until then, it should be our responsibility to make sure
that our babies are given the best possible nutritional
start in life - at least a year of optimal eating for the
mother-to-be before conception is envisaged whenever possible.
I have outlined below some quality nutritional guidelines
for weaning and a menu plan for a ten-month-old baby on
a mixed diet.
Breast-feeding is the finest nutritional support for a
baby if the mother has been following an optimal nutrition
programme, which would have been based on un-processed,
high-fibre foodstuffs that do not contain additives, preservatives
or colouring agents. It should also avoid sugar, processed
salt and saturated fats.
Weaning a baby is the best time to establish good eating
habits, with initial introduction to solids when the baby
seems dissatisfied with breast or formula milk. This usually
coincides with teething at approximately six months of age.
As the babys digestive system is immature, an earlier
introduction to solids may promote allergic reactions. At
first the baby may like to have the solid food mixed with
breast/formula milk for a familiar taste.
As the baby will be receiving most of the protein, carbohydrate
and fat from the milk, it is wise to introduce vegetables
and fruit, preferably from an organic source, as these are
packed with vitamins and minerals. Other foods can be introduced
in the following order rice, millet, tofu, soy yoghurt,
pulses and beans, oats, barley and rye, nuts and seeds,
fish and then at about ten to twelve months - meat, oranges,
wheat and cows milk products and egg. These last five
can be responsible for setting up an allergy picture
so care is required on an individual basis. Egg white
should not be fed until baby is a year old.
Vegetables can be minced, steamed, baked or poached in
milk and served pureed, mashed or made into soups. As the
baby becomes more used to solids, the vegetables can be
mashed with egg yolks, yoghurt, beans, cottage cheese, tofu,
hummus and cereal flours. When baby is teething, celery
and carrot sticks (under supervision) make excellent finger
foods, to suck or chew.
Fruits can be pureed in a little water and mashed, baked
in the oven or grated. The unsulphured varieties of dried
fruits can be soaked overnight and stewed in a little water
until soft enough to mash. These fruits can be mixed with
yoghurt, silken tofu, etc.
Cereals are a good source of energy and contain the important
complex of B vitamins. Ensure these cereals are unprocessed.
These grains will need to be in the form of flakes or flour.
They can be added to mashed beans, peas and lentils, other
vegetables, dairy, soya, tahini, ground nuts and seeds and
later with fish and meat.
Fish and meat are harder to digest and may be introduced
from the tenth month. Use a variety of oily and white fish
and white meats, grilled or oven-baked and served minced
or finely cut.
Nuts and seeds can be ground to a powder and mixed with
water to produce a nut cream or can be sprinkled on cereals
or fruit and vegetables for extra protein and essential
fats. Nut milks are suitable for babies as they are close
to breast milk in composition. To make these you place nuts
and water in a liquidiser and blend until the consistency
is smooth and creamy.
Beans and lentils are protein foods when combined with
grains. They can be cooked, pureed or mashed. Alternatively
beans can be ground to a flour and cooked in water with
rice or millet flour. Tofu (soya bean curd) is excellent
for babies as it has a bland taste which can be blended
with other foods and is easily digested. (Nowadays it is
important to only use an organic variety, because of the
genetic modification of all commercial tofu and soy
Baby will require lots of bottled or filtered water during
the weaning process and once weaned, it is not essential
to include large amounts of cows milk. It may not
be beneficial to the baby as it contains high amounts of
calcium and only small amounts of magnesium and is deficient
in certain minerals required by the body to lay the calcium
in bones and teeth. It is highly mucus-forming potentially
provoking an allergic response. Nut milks, soya, rice and
oatmilk can be substituted. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices,
diluted with four parts of water to one part juice are excellent
Daily menu for a ten-month-old baby on a mixed diet.
Choose a food from each of the following groups:-
- Dairy products and eggs no more than three eggs
- Meat or fish/beans/peas and lentils/nuts and seeds
- Two ounces of any of these foods will be adequate
- Cereals a two-ounce portion
- Vegetables serve at least three portions, including
the green and yellow varieties and some raw vegetables
as finger foods under supervision.
- Fruit at least two pieces
- Essential fats one teaspoon of cold-pressed sunflower,
safflower oil or equivalent in ground seeds/nuts
and two portions of oily fish a week
- Drinks Bottled or filtered water plus diluted
vegetable and fruit juices
whether you are taking the correct supplements?
you were less stressed?
with motivation to keep with your diet?