When you talk about your baby’s balanced diet, how often do you count water and other fluids as its part? Do not forget how essential these fluids are in making your baby stronger, smarter and happier.
Here’s everything you need to know about different beverages that you can offer to your growing baby:
Infants, especially have higher fluid requirements as water makes up most of their body composition. Until the age of 6 months, exclusive and regular breastfeeding satisfies their fluid needs. But as they start complementary foods (i.e. after 6 months) they rely on other beverages too to meet their fluid needs.
Try using different ways to ensure that your baby drinks a lot of fluids. Some of the options that can be given to your baby other than water are:
Soups are both calorie- rich and nutrient- rich. They can provide that extra-nourishment that your growing baby needs. Be careful as to avoid adding any thickeners, additives or salt into it. Instead to thicken the soup you can add vegetable stock, chicken stock, etc. and mix it. Do not strain the soup much and let it be semi- thick. If you want to make your soup energy dense, you can even add milk, coconut milk or butter into it.
These soups can either be vegetarian soups or non-vegetarian soups. If you are making vegetarian soups add dal or pulses into it, which makes it protein-rich. If you are making a non-vegetarian soup, make sure it is cooked well. You can either have small, well-cooked chunks of meat so that your kid can bite into it or blend them to get a smooth consistency. Tomato soup is an all-time favourite among babies since it is rich in Vitamin A and is also desirable to have due to its bright colour.
When you initially start your babies on soup, make sure the soup is thinner in consistency. Once they get used to it, increase the thickness and do not strain it much. As the more you strain it, the more the loss of fibre and other nutrients. Soups can be given as appetizers which increase one's hunger before any meal or given as snacks.
Another best health drink especially for a one year old is shakes or smoothies. If you want to introduce fruits to your babies then fruit shakes like mango shake, banana shake is a perfect option for your child. They can be a combination of fruits and milk or dry fruits and milk or both.
Milk is a powerhouse of calcium, Vitamin D, protein and fats required for healthy bones and adding fruits or dry fruits into it increases the quality of the micronutrients like magnesium, potassium, iron and protein content of the drink.
Start your baby on small quantities of shake i.e. about 40- 50 ml when he or she is 6 to 7 months old. Once they are used to the flavour and consistency you can slowly increase the quantity to about half a cup when she is 16 to 18 months of age. After 2 years, you can easily give about one and a half cup of shakes to your child.
Lassi or buttermilk is also a very good option. They are abundantly rich in calcium and protein. Curd is an excellent probiotic and keeps your baby's gut healthy and happy.
When you are just starting giving juices, do not strain them but dilute them a little. Juices for infants should be diluted. Do not add sugar into it, the natural sugars of the fruit will suffice. Vegetable juices can also he introduced slowly but with no salt added. As your baby gets used to the taste and consistency, slowly increase the quantity.
The benefits of fruits and vegetables juices for babies are many. The best juices for babies are the ones with many coloured fruits or vegetables. They have important vitamins like Vitamin C, A, B lycopene, folic acid and other minerals like zinc, iron, etc. in abundance. These nutrients play a very important role in the various functions in our body. Primary ingredients of soups are usually spinach, beans, carrots, etc. Giving your babies adequate fluids in their daily diet helps to maintain the water balance in their body and helps to meet their ever-increasing metabolic demands. Kids usually are picky and fussy eaters. These fluids also help you cover up the nutrition gaps that may develop due to poor eating habits.