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Pregnancy Nutrition

GF FAQ Preg Nutrition Image

Why do humans like sweet foods?

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Both breast milk and formula are predominantly sweet. Through evolution, we are all born with an innate preference for sweet (high calories, safe to eat) and salty (minerals) and a natural aversion for bitter foods (poisonous).[16, 23, 27, 30, 69] Couple that with an environment laden with convenience options, often high in sugar and low in essential nutrients, targeted at infants and toddlers, [29] it is little wonder children aren’t growing up reaching for the veggie draw.

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How much iron does baby need?

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All babies are born with enough iron stores, passed on from their mother, to sustain them for approximately 6 months, by which time the iron requirements can no longer be met by milk alone. (Premature and low birth-weight babies are a little different so it pays to check with your pediatrician.[45, 57, 72, 80] In fact, a 6 to 8-month-old infant requires 9 times as much iron and 4 times as much zinc, per 100g of bodyweight, as an adult male! Iron is essential to optimize brain growth, and the development of a strong immune system. However, not all iron sources are created equal.  

  • Heme iron—found in animal proteins. The best sources are red meat and dark poultry meat. Heme iron has the highest rate of absorption and utilization within the body at 15% to 35% if consumed with a good source of vitamin C. 
  • Nonheme iron—found in green leafy vegetables, eggs, tofu, and legumes. Nonheme iron has an absorption rate of 5% to 12% Therefore, a lot more would need to be consumed to achieve daily requirements, which can be difficult with such small tummies.
  • Iron salts—found predominantly in fortified formulas and infant cereals. Iron salts have an absorption rate of 2 to 5%. Although many infant cereals claim to have high levels of iron, in reality, due its poor bio-availability (absorption), it is not the best source for infants.

Therefore, incorporating meat products into your baby’s diet will be hugely beneficial in terms of meeting his iron requirements. [73] The World Health Organization recommends the inclusion of meat, poultry, fish, or eggs eaten daily, or as often as possible. [54] Now, this is not to say a vegetarian diet can’t be healthy, it will just take a lot more work to ensure all his nutritional requirements are met. It is strongly advised you consult a pediatric nutritionist if you decide to go down this route.

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Disclaimer: The information provided is the opinion of Good Feeding, it has not been evaluated by healthcare professionals, and is for educational purposes only.  Before starting any new foods or feeding practices, please consult your baby's healthcare professional.