Essential Nutrients For Your Baby’s Growth


Why your baby needs it

Besides having a positive effect on cognition and development, zinc’s primary roles are to maintain immune function and  helping to heal and repair scratches or wounds.

Its various other functions include helping the body use carbohydrates, proteins and other nutrients in foods.


Daily requirement
Formula meets needs through age 1, but breast milk doesn’t, so it’s important to introduce zinc-rich foods in the second half of the first year. Children from 7 months to 3 years of age need 3 milligrams a day.

Where to find it
Good sources include turkey, beef, fish, eggs, lentils, whole milk, cheddar cheese and fortified cereal.


Zinc is associated with impaired growth, increased susceptibility to infection and an increased risk of diarrhea.



Why your baby needs it
Iron is critical for brain development — research shows a lack of this mineral can lead to thought-processing and motor deficiencies. Infants are actually born with large iron stores, usually enough to satisfy their needs until 4 to 6 months of age. Premature babies, however, may need iron supplement as most of the significant iron accumulation occurs during the last trimester of pregnancy.


Daily requirement
Formula meets iron needs for the first year, but breast milk doesn’t, which is why pediatricians recommend introducing high-iron food early on in the second half of the first year. At 7 to 12 months, babies need 11 milligrams of elemental iron per day, and by 1 to 3 years old, 7 milligrams daily.

Where to find it

Meat, poultry and fish are naturally iron-packed, beef or turkey, chicken. Other rich sources include avocado, baked potato, broccoli, chickpeas, eggs, prunes, spinach, soybeans, oily fish, such as sardines and salmon.



Too little iron can lead to iron deficiency anaemia – a condition that can affect your baby’s development. Premature babies may be at increased risk of this due to missing out on iron stores that normally build up during the later stages of pregnancy.



Why your baby needs it
Calcium helps children achieve peak bone mass, necessary for building strong bones and teeth.

This important nutrient helps to build your baby’s skeleton as they grow, and will make up around 2% of their body weight by the time they are an adult.

Most of your baby’s calcium intake comes from milk, whether they’re breastfeeding or formula feeding. Cows’ milk also contains calcium but isn’t suitable for babies under 12 months old, due to its lower levels of iron.

Daily dose
Breast milk and formula meet your baby’s calcium needs for the first year. Once you switch to whole milk, your baby will need 500 milligrams daily.

Where to find it
A cup of whole milk or 6 ounces of yogurt each provides about 250 milligrams, making both bone-building powerhouses. Calcium is abundant in dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese, and calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and beverages.Other good choices are cheese, salmon, calcium-fortified orange juice, broccoli, white beans, tomatoes and oatmeal.




Why your baby needs them
Vitamin A promotes proper vision and healthy skin. Vitamin D increases calcium absorption and helps with bone growth — a deficiency can cause bone-weakening rickets. Vitamin E’s antioxidant powers facilitate cell growth and the development of the nervous system. Vitamin K helps with normal blood clotting.

Daily requirement
Infant formula meets needs through age 1 for vitamins A, D and E. To get enough vitamin D, breastfed babies should take a supplement. Otherwise, if you offer your baby a variety of foods from the food pyramid — fruits, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, healthy fats — and your doctor says she is growing appropriately for her age, she is likely meeting her needs for these fat-soluble vitamins.

Where to find them
Beyond breast milk, formula and cow’s milk, good sources of vitamin A include carotene-rich fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli. Vitamin D occurs in few foods, but your baby can get some from fortified cow’s milk, egg yolks and fish. Vitamin E-rich foods include vegetable oils, cereals and grains. Cow’s milk, leafy vegetables, fruit and soybean oil are full of vitamin K.



Why your baby needs it
Vitamin C improves iron absorption and helps prevent scurvy, a condition that causes large bruises on the body.  It helps form and repair red blood cells, bones, and tissues; helps keep your child’s gums healthy and strengthens blood vessels, minimizing bruising; assists with healing, boosts the immune system, and keeps infections at bay. Also helps the body absorb iron from iron-rich foods.

Daily requirement
Giving your baby a variety of fruits, and vegetables, should provide adequate about of these vitamins.

Where to find it
Vitamin C is in citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, cantaloupe and potatoes.


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