What are the benefits of complementary feeding to the baby?
Mar 09,2023 | Jenni
Breast milk is considered the gold standard for infant nutrition in the first 6 months of life. However, after the baby reaches the 6-month milestone, they will need complementary feeding alongside breast milk. Complementary feeding refers to the process of introducing solid or semi-solid foods to an infant's diet alongside breast milk or formula. In this post, we will discuss the many benefits of complementary feeding to the baby.
1. Nutritional benefits
Breast milk is a complete source of nutrition for infants in their first six months of life. However, after that period, breast
milk alone may not provide all the necessary nutrients for infants to thrive. Complementary feeding can provide additional nutrients that are essential for growth and development, such as iron, zinc, and vitamin D.
2. Promotes healthy growth and development
Introducing complementary foods can help support an infant's physical and cognitive growth and development. It can also help them develop important skills, such as self-feeding, which can enhance their independence.
3. Helps establish healthy eating habits
Many studies show that the earlier infants are introduced to a variety
of foods, the more likely they are to develop healthy eating habits later in life. Offering a diverse range of foods during complementary feeding can expose infants to different textures, flavors, and aromas, helping to broaden their palates.
4. Helps prevent iron deficiency anemia
Breast milk may not provide enough iron to meet the infant's daily needs after six months of life. Complementary feeding can help to prevent iron deficiency anemia by introducing iron-rich foods, such as leafy greens, beans, and meat.
5. Helps reduce the risk of food allergies
Exposing infants to a ran
ge of different foods during complementary feeding may help to reduce the risk of developing food allergies. Introducing a variety of foods in small amounts can help the baby's immune system to develop tolerance and can reduce the risk of developing allergies later in life.
In conclusion, complementary feeding plays an important role in an infant's growth and development. It provides necessary nutrients, helps establish healthy eating habits, and reduces the risk of food allergies and iron deficiency anemia. Introducing a diverse range of foods to the baby's diet can help promote lifelong healthy eating habits and support their overall health and wellbeing.