Editor: Ambreen Asim
Mar 26 - Apr 01, 2011
Mag The Weekly
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Enhance Your Crawler's Immunity
A varied and healthy diet will help boost your nine to 12-month-old baby's immunity


It is wonderful to watch as your baby begins to crawl and seek some independence. Getting about on all fours is a great achievement for your nine-month-old baby. This is the milestone that puts your baby on the move for the first time. Before he started crawling, he was content to explore what was within his reach but now new world open up for him as he begins to reach for objects of interest.
During this time, your baby also comes into contact with more germs. Although this helps your baby's immunity, it is also important that you ensure that your baby's immune system is strong enough to deal with sickness. Exposure to germs helps trigger the immune system to respond and create antibodies that will fight off illness. At this stage, your baby can be given food that the family is eating, however do make sure that it is slightly softer. This means that you may cook for the entire family and make certain modifications in the food to make it fit for your baby. Finger goods that he can easily consume and foods with soft textures interest the child at this age.
Your baby's nutritional requirements are much more than his small tummy's capacity now! So, you must take proper care to add a variety of nutrient-dense foods to his diet. Nutrient-dense foods are those that have more nutrients per serve than commonly available foods. These will help meet your baby's increased nutritional requirements without adding too much volume to his diet.

MOMMYNOMICSNutrients That Protect
You can help boost your baby's immune system by making sure that he eats a varied healthy diet that consists of foods from all the main food groups. A balanced diet will ensure that your baby gets important immune-nutrients like vitamins A, B6, C and E and minerals like zinc, iron and selenium, as well as essential fatty acids, so that eventually his body will be able to defend itself.
After the last few months of pureeing and mashing, making baby food becomes a little easier now. At nine or ten months, your baby can enjoy more textured foods and has probably sampled a wide variety of flavours. Your baby's developing fine motor skills mean that he can now grasp and hold on to small objects, making finger food an ideal option for baby in this period. Signs of independence will show at feeding time as well, with your baby insisting on holding the spoon and feeding himself. Do encourage his efforts even as you feed him yourself. He won't be very dexterous yet but will love the challenge.
It is important that you continue to offer breast milk. Although breast feeds will lessen a little, breast milk continues to be important for your baby. It protects against illness and encourages the development of the immune system. Along with breast milk, also try and include the following at each meal: cereals and whole grains, fruits and vegetables and protein rich foods like dairy, meat, fish or egg.

Cereals And Whole Grains
Foods like rice, bread, roti should make a large part of your baby's diet. Babies readily eat soft parathas (cooked after adding a little milk), fortified cereal, cooked pasta, soft breads, and rice. You could add pureed spinach or methi, boiled potato or cottage cheese to the parathas to make it more nutritious.

MOMMYNOMICSVegetables And Fruits
Vegetables contain a multitude of nutrients essential for a healthy immune system. It's important to introduce a wide range of vegetables in your baby's diet early in life. You could cook vegetable soups or offer lightly steamed carrots of broccoli as finger foods or add them to a khichdi. Citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C, as are strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, kiwis, spinach and water-melon. It is a good idea to try and offer four or five portions of fruits and vegetables so that your growing baby gets vitamin C as well as other vitamins and phyto-nutrients he needs, not only for a healthy immune system but also for a healthy growth and development.
By nine or ten months, you don't need to puree as much as you did earlier. Many fruits and veggies can be offered raw, or in pieces as finger food.
Eating fruits and vegetables of different colours gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fibre, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. For instance, green could include peas, green beans, spinach, orange could include sweet potatoes and carrots; yellow could be papaya and bananas while red could include cooked tomatoes and strawberries. It is not recommended that you give too much fruit juice because it is not as nutritious as the whole fruit which is also more fibrous. Also, if juice replaces breast milk, your child may not get the protein and other essential nutrients he needs.

Probiotic foods like yogurt replenish the good bacteria in your baby's gut which are essential for good digestive health. The good bacteria also increases gut immunity, helping to fight infection.

Protein contains amino acids that form the building blocks of the cells that form the immune system and other cells in your baby's body. Good sources of protein include milk, chicken, fish, eggs, lentil andbeans. Now is a good time to introduce eggs to your baby – eggs are nutritious and easy to prepare. Make sure both the yolk and the white of the egg are cooked until firm for babies under 12 months.

Cheese and breast milk, apart from yogurt, are great sources of calcium for your baby's growing bones.
Experiment with combinations of foods that have been accepted earlier on their own. You could mix apple and pear, banana and oats, pulses with vegetables and rice, changing the combinations daily.
A healthy immune system and nutrient dense foods will ensure that your baby is protected from diseases and has a healthy growth and development at this important stage of life.

Mag The Weekly

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