Yes, we just said calorie counting for babies. Why you ask? Because, as adults, that’s how most of us think. We think in terms of a maximum 2,000 calorie daily intake, when we really should think about what is comprising that calorie count. Is it enough Vitamin A or Zinc? Do we have enough fiber? Funnily enough, most of us don’t take that much care for ourselves, but when we have a baby, the urge to do what’s best for them takes over and we start paying a lot more attention to these specifics.
From birth to about 6 months, babies should eat between 515 and 690 calories a day. This bumps up to 795 to 920 calories for babies up to 12 months. But instead of thinking in terms of calories, let’s think about how they should get those calories. Up to about 4 or 6 months, the diet consists solely of milk, but when your baby starts getting ready for foods, what are the vitamins you want to make sure they have?
Iron – Critical for brain development, breastmilk doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to the recommended dosage of iron. This is just fine as your baby was born with a storage of iron, but as you start to feed your little one solid foods, think about using iron-rich baby cereal and adding meats, broccoli, spinach, and avocado to the regiment.
Zinc – Essential to the immune system and helpful to development, you can give your baby zinc through many of the means mentioned above. Fortified cereal, meats, milk, and cheeses all have loads of zinc so if you’re feeding your baby these foods, you can check two necessary vitamins off the list.
Vitamins C & B – All around good, and for lots of reasons, fulfilling this vitamin need is easy to do with tomatoes, bananas, rice, beans, potatoes, strawberries, and poultry all giving your baby the needed nutrients.
Vitamins A, D, E & K – Want to avoid the broken bones from the “look mom” moments later in life? Vitamin D can help with that. Add in the rest and your baby will have better vision, healthier skin, good blood flow, and lots of antioxidants. How can you check this box? Milk, carrots, eggs, leafy veggies, and sweet potatoes should do the trick.