During the growing years, BMR of the body is very high, therefore the requirements of the baby are increased. Water plays a very significant role in various organs of the body. It plays many important functions in the body and therefore should be a part of the balanced diet.
Water Requirement in Babies.
Till the age of 6 months babies are exclusively breastfed so their water needs are met entirely by the mother’s milk. But as babies grow the water requirement also increases.
Water intake can be inclusive of the hydrating fluids and water itself. Apart from increasing volume of water intake, some fluids also help in providing energy and serve as soothers to the highly metabolic body of the baby.
Fluids for Your Baby.
Encourage your baby to consume more and more water in order to stay hydrated. Some of the fluids apart from milk that you can gradually introduce in your baby’s diet are:
Soups are rich in nutrients like vitamins and minerals and thus highly nourishing for babies. They are very easy to prepare and delicious in taste.
Care While Preparing Soups: Soups that you prepare for your baby should not provide much salt. You can increase the calorific value of soups by adding milk, cream, coconut milk or butter to the soups. Take care of the following while preparing soups for your baby:
- Do not strain it too much
- Do not add salt, sugar or seasonings
- Do not thicken the soup with corn flour
- You can thicken the soup by adding vegetables, chicken etc and blenderize it.
- You can also add fat or cream to the soup to make it thicker and energy dense
Vegetarian/Non-vegetarian Soups: You can make soups with pulses, vegetables and/or eggs and other non-vegetarian food sources. Tomato soup is a favorite among most babies because of its bright color, flavor, and creamy texture. It is also a nutritious soup as its rich in vitamin A along with other vitamins and minerals. If you are preparing non-vegetarian soups for your baby, make sure that they are well cooked. Make sure that the chunks or minces of meat are fresh and well cooked. You can also blenderize the soup and give it to your baby.
Soup Consistency: As your baby’s digestive system matures, you can gradually increase the thickness of the soups by straining them lesser. Less straining makes soups denser in nutrients and fiber. Soups can also be used as appetizers and given to babies as an evening snack.
Shakes and smoothies .
Shakes are a good option to fulfill your baby’s needs as well . They form a rich snack for babies and are a great way to introduce fruits. Babies love all kinds of shakes like banana shake, mango shake, milk shake or badam shake etc.
Nutritive Value of Shakes: Fruit shakes and dry fruit shakes are sources of energy, proteins and fats. Milk is a rich source of calcium, vitamin D, protein and fats .You can make a paste or finely powder dry fruits and add it to shakes, this increases the quality of fat and nutritive value by providing essential amino acids, MUFA, PUFA and vitamins like Vitamin E and minerals like Magnesium, Potassium and Iron.
Right Age and Quantity: Start by giving 40-50 ml of milk shake to your baby when she is 6-7 months of age and then gradually increase the quantity to about ½ cup when she is 16-18 months and to 1 cup when she is +24months..
Lassi and chaach are made out of curd (yogurt). They have the advantages of milk and are rich in vitamins and minerals. They are rich sources of calcium and proteins. Besides this, the microbial activity while curd preparation increases the digestibility of these nutrients and therefore curd should be given to babies.
Fruit and Vegetable Juices.
Give your baby unsweetened fresh fruit/vegetable juices in small quantities.
Advantages of Fruit/Vegetable Juices: Fruit and vegetable juices are rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A, lycopene and other nutrients like the vitamin B , folic acid, zinc, iron and many more. Soups made from spinach, beans, peas, asparagus etc are rich in folate and are good for growth of babies. Vitamin A is good for eyesight and skin, Vitamin C protects babies against infections by boosting the immune system.
Precautions While Giving Juices: Juices should not be strained too much so that they retain some fiber. Do not add sugar or salt to the juice that you give to your baby and keep the quantities restricted. Add more about the benefits and fruits and vegetables juices.
Beverages are very essential to maintain high metabolic rate in your baby’s body and maintain the water balance can lead to dehydration. Many a times, babies may not want to sit down for long to finish off their meals, so providing them with nourishing liquids as beverages help you to bridge the nutrient gaps.