A new born child remain an infant from the day or birth until the age of 1 year. Infancy is classified into two stages a) 1-6 b) 7-12. The first stage is when the infant is only breast feed and depends totally on the mother for nutrition. For this the lactating mum must eat well-balanced wholesome meals that meet all the nutritional needs of her and the baby.
Stage 2 is known as the weaning period and is a phase of experimenting with food both for the baby and mum. Pediatricians suggest gradual weaning with home cooked food like mashed vegetables and dal.
The questions foremost in most mothers’ minds is what and how much to wean, the kinds of nutrients etc. We are sharing a list of vital nutrients needed for infants along with the function and sources of the nutrients.
Energy: Getting the right nutrition with energy is a must for the healthy development and growth of the infant. Its sources include:
- Vegetables, fruits and their juices
- Pulses and dal like chana and moong dal.
- Cereals like jowar, rice, bajra and wheat.
- Dairy essentials like milk, paneer, curds etc.
- One of the easiest to digest is khichdi made from moong dal.
Protein: Having a diet rich in protein is necessary for bone and muscle growth and development and maintenance of the cells in the body. Primary sources of protein include:
- Pulses and dal like chana, matki and moong dal.
- Walnuts, almonds and other nuts
- All dairy products
- Paneer walnut puree is excellent for infants above 8 months
Carbohydrates: Needed for energy and heat for the body. Sources of carbohydrates are:
- Fresh fruits like mango, banana, avocado etc.
- Veggies like yam and potato
- Whole grains jowar, rice, wheat and oats etc.
- Banana puree and later jowar porridge are excellent sources of carbohydrates
Fat: An excellent source of concentrated energy it is found in vitamins like A, E, D and K that are integral for the development of the infant’s brain. These are found in:
- Fats like oil and ghee
- Cereals, oilseeds and nuts
- Vegetable khichdi with a spoon of ghee is ideal for toddlers and babies.
Calcium: It is essential for the healthy development of teeth and bones and are mainly found in:
- Green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale etc.
- Dairy items like curd, milk and paneer
- Pulses like urad and masoor
- Sesame seeds like ragi and til
- Ragi uttapa is tasty and filled with calcium needed for babies
Iron: Necessary for the formation of hemoglobin for red blood cell production that supply oxygen to the body. The primary sources include:
- Dry dates, oilseeds like sesame and walnuts and almonds etc.
- Pulses and cereals like moong, cow pea, jowar and bajra etc.
- Dark green vegetables like spinach, fenugreek etc.
- Date porridge and jowar ragi are a good choice of breakfast dishes
Vitamin A: It is vital for good eyesight, growth, strong teeth enamel, increased immunity and overall growth. It is found in:
- Dairy products like milk, paneer and curds.
- Vegetables and fruits like papaya, pumpkins and carrots.
- Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and fenugreek.
- Carrot juice is a good source of the vitamin that most babies enjoy.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): Helps to improve nervous metabolism and give energy. Vitamin B1 is mostly found in:
- Leafy green veggies like spinach, kale and fenugreek.
- Cereals such as jowar, dalia, rice and wheat
- Vegetable dalia/khichdi is great for toddlers and babies
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): Necessary to obtain energy from fats, carbohydrates and protein and have healthy skin. The vitamin is mostly found in:
- Dairy items like paneer, curds and milk
- Leafy greens like spinach, cow pea leaves etc.
- Pulses like rajma and moong dal
- Cereals like bajra, wheat and rice
- Palak paneer rice is a tasty dish when weaning for babies.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): It helps in energy supply and metabolization of fats and carbohydrates. It is mainly found in:
- Groundnuts and whole cereals like wheat and barley
- Pulse like moong and chana dal
- After the baby crosses 10 months roti ladoo could be started
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): Assists in metabolization of fats and proteins and is found in:
- Veggies like potato and broccoli
- Cereals like jowar and wheat.
- Start the baby on vegetable/potato soup
Folic Acid: Aids in development of the brain and forming new cells. Folic acid is found in:
- Nuts like walnuts and almonds and oilseeds like sesame
- Veggies like lady finger, broccoli, potato (with skin), spinach, cluster beans, beetroot, peas, tomato etc.
- Pulses like moong, rajma and cereals like wheat and bajra
- After the bay is introduced to masoor dal and spinach, combine it to make Palak masoor dal at the end of 12 months.
Vitamin C: Very essential for iron absorption, improve immunity from infections and healthy development of cartilages, muscles, bones, teeth and skin. Mainly found in:
- Veggies like capsicum, cabbage, broccoli and coriander
- Citrus sources like amla, sweet lime, lemon, oranges and guava.
- Start with orange juice that is strained and later switch to unstrained juice but it must be fresh.
Vitamin D: Needed for the utilization of calcium for healthy bones. The vitamin is found in:
- Eggs and milk
- Naturally manufactured by the body with exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin E: Improves the body’s immunity, keep the cells and skin healthy and is found in:
- Green leafy veggies like fenugreek and spinach
- Cereals like jowar, wheat germ, bajra and wheat
- Vegetable oils such as sunflower and corn oil
- A very nutritious dish is bajra porridge that also satiates.
Indian Baby Food Chart (for 6 months infant)
*Healthy growth and development|
*Required for our daily activities
*Cereals such as wheat,
rice, Bajra etc.|
*Dals and pulses such as moong dal, Rajma etc.
*Dairy products like milk, Curds, Paneer etc.
*Fruits, vegetables and their juices
*Skeletal as well as muscular
growth and development|
*Maintenance and repair of cells
*Dals and pulses such as moong
dal, Chana Dal, chana etc.|
*Dairy products such as milk, curds, paneer etc.
|Carbohydrates||*Extremely necessary to provide heat and energy to the body.||
*Whole grains and its products
like whole wheat, rice, Jowar etc.|
*Vegetables like Potato and Yam
*Fruits like banana, Chickoo, mango etc.
*Serves as a concentrated source
*Carrier of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K
*Healthy development of brain
*Visible fats and oils like
sunflower, corn, peanut, olive etc.|
*Invisible fat, which as the name suggests, is the hidden fat present in all foodstuffs like nuts, oilseeds, cereals, etc.
|Calcium||*Formation and strengthening of bones and teeth||
*Dairy products such as milk,
curds, paneer etc.|
*Dark green leafy vegetables such as Broccoli, Spinach, Fenugreek etc.
*sesame seeds (til) and Ragi (Nachni)
*Dals and pulses like Masoor Dal, urad dal etc.
*Essential for the formation of
haemoglobin which supplies oxygen to all the cells in our body|
*Production of red blood cells
*Dark green leafy vegetables
such as spinach, cow pea leaves, fenugreek etc.|
*Nuts such as Almonds, Walnuts etc. and oilseeds such as Sesame Seeds(til) and garden cress seeds (aliv / halim)
*Dried fruits like raisins, dates etc.
*Whole grain cereals and pulses such as bajra, cow pea ( Chawli), dry peas, etc.
*Jaggery (in moderation as recommended by your paediatrician)
*Overall growth and development|
*Promotes brain development
*Whole grains like bajra, ragi
(nachni), wheat etc.|
*Pulses like whole Bengal gram, cow pea (chawli)
*Required for healthy skin|
*Normal process of growth and vision
*Strengthening of tooth enamel
*Increases immunity and provides protection from diseases
*Dark green leafy vegetables
such as fenugreek, spinach etc.|
*Yellow, orange fruits and vegetables like Carrots, Pumpkin, tomatoes, papaya etc.
*Dairy products such as milk, curds, paneer etc.
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||
*Helps in providing energy|
*Improves nerve metabolism
*Cereals such as wheat, rice,
*Leafy vegetables like fenugreek and spinach
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||
*Promotes healthy skin|
*Helps in providing energy from protein, carbohydrates and fats
*Dairy products such as milk, curds,
*Green leafy vegetables such as cow pea leaves, colocasia, spinach etc.
*Cereals such as wheat, rice, bajra etc.
*Dals and pulses such as moong dal, rajma, etc.
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||
*Helps in metabolising protein,|
carbohydrate and fats and supplies energy
*Whole cereals such as barley,
Dals and pulses like chana dal, moong etc.
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||*Helps in the breakdown of proteins and fats||
*Cereals such as wheat, jowar
*Vegetables like broccoli and potato
*Multiplication and formation of
formation of new cells
*Vegetables such as cluster
beans, spinach, peas, broccoli, beetroot, tomato, ladies finger, potato
(especially with skin on) etc.|
*Cereals like bajra, wheat and pulses like rajma, moong etc.
*Nuts like almonds, walnuts etc. and oilseeds such as sesame seeds (til).
*Strengthens your baby’s
immunity and protects her from infections|
*Promotes development of teeth, skin, muscles, bones and cartilage
*Aids in the absorption of iron present in the food
*Citrus fruits like orange,
guava, lemon, sweet lime etc.|
*Other fruits like amla
*Vegetables such as broccoli, capsicum,
coriander and cabbage
|Vitamin D||*Aids in the utilization of calcium in the body, which in turn makes the bones healthy.||
*Can be manufactured by our body
in the presence of sunlight|
*Milk and eggs
|Vitamin E||*Essential for maintaining healthy cells and skin||
*Vegetable oils like corn oil,
safflower oil, etc.|
*Cereal grains like wheat, wheat germ, bajra, jowar etc.
*Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and fenugreek