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Why is complementary food important for infants?

Mar 13,2023 | Jenni

As a parent, you might know that infants do not require any additional food until they reach six months of age, as breast milk or formula provides sufficient nutrition for their body. However, as they grow older, they need more than just milk to support their growth and development. That's where complementary food comes in, which is essential in meeting their dietary needs. In this blog post, we will discuss why complementary food is important for infants.

1. Provides additional nutrients:

While breast milk or formula is the primary source of nutrition for infants, it may not contain all the essential nutrients they need for optimal growth and development. Complementary foods, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains, can provide additional vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids that are essential for a healthy diet.

2. Developing chewing and swallowing skills:

The introduction of complementary foods allows infants to develop their chewing and swallowing skills, which are necessary for transitioning to solid foods. By introducing different textures and tastes, babies learn to manipulate food in their mouths, which promotes healthy oral development.

3. Helps prevent nutritional deficiencies:

Without a balanced diet, infants are at risk of developing nutritional deficiencies that can affect their physical and cognitive development. For example, iron deficiency can lead to anemia and impair cognitive function, while inadequate vitamin A intake can cause vision problems. Complementary foods are essential in preventing such deficiencies and ensuring your baby gets all the nutrients they require for proper growth.

4. Encourages healthy eating habits:

Introducing complementary foods at an early age can help promote healthy eating habits that can stay with your child for life. By offering a variety of nutritious foods, infants learn to enjoy healthy foods and are less likely to develop a preference for unhealthy options.

5. Promotes growth and development:

The first 1,000 days of an infant's life are crucial for their growth and development. Providing a diverse diet that includes complementary foods can help ensure they get all the nutrients they need for optimal growth and development.

In conclusion, complementary food plays a vital role in meeting the nutritional needs of infants as they grow and develop. By offering a varied diet of healthy foods, parents can help promote healthy eating habits, prevent nutritional deficiencies, and support optimal growth and development.