Milk, the cornerstone of infant nutrition
They discover it as soon as they are born and it is their only source of food for the first 6 months: the milk that baby drinks helps them to grow. Until the age of 3, milk is your baby’s superfood, and it evolves with them. Here is the why and how...
Your body is truly extraordinary: you produce milk that is completely suited to your baby’s needs! The composition of breast milk, your baby’s first food and their only food for 6 months1, varies depending on the time of the breastfeeding session and changes with your baby’s needs. Vitamins, minerals, micronutrients… it’s got it all, and in the perfect quantities for your baby1. This is why exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months, and then ideally continued until your child is 2 years old, alongside diversification of their diet.1
Baby needs iron!
Of all the wonders of breast milk, iron is essential. At 6 months, your baby needs 7 times more iron than an adult2. This iron enables your baby to withstand infections and be less susceptible to illness3. After 6 months, a balanced and varied diet covers their iron requirements as it does yours!
A diet adapted to baby’s needs
Because iron is really important for helping baby fight illness and infection, for non-breastfed babies, infant milk enriched with iron is available. After 6 months, milk should be combined with a varied and balanced diet. Foods that are rich in iron include meat and fish for instance.
To supplement this iron, animal proteins play a role: liver, a hard-boiled egg, red or white meat and fish are all foods that protect your baby’s health by providing iron. Fruits contain very little iron but vitamin C, which can be found in certain fruits and vegetables, aids the absorption of iron! Baby should therefore be given fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C in addition to foods rich in iron. Fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C are papaya, guava, orange, grapefruit, pear, broccoli, strawberry5…
In summary, breast milk (or infant milk if baby is not breastfed) and a diversified diet are the fertiliser your little seedling needs to grow into a beautiful plant!
1 WHO (April 2002), Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, document A55/15, paragraph 10
2 Besoins en vitamines et minéraux dans la nutrition humaine, Deuxième édition, Organisation mondiale de la santé et Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture, 2004
3 De Pontual, L. “Fer et prédisposition aux infections.” Archives de Pédiatrie 24.5 (2017): 5S14-5S17
4 Tounian P, Chouraqui J-P. Fer et nutrition. Arch Pediatr 2017; 24: 5S23-31
5 Ciqual – Table de composition des aliments 2020 - https://ciqual.anses.fr/