Healthy Eating Series: Importance of Fibre
Most babies are only breastfed for the first six months after their birth as the mother’s milk provides them all the nutrition required for growth at this stage. Once they cross the six-month mark, they will need external food sources to stack up on the nutrients and the vitamins required for their bodies and brain to develop.
It is important that you slowly wean your baby towards baby foods along with occasional breastfeeds once they are six months of age. When you do, it is important to include fibre rich foods in your baby’s daily meals.
How Does Fibre Help Babies?
Dietary fibre is mainly of two types – soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre dissolves in water, helps regulate your baby’s digestion and keeps your baby full for longer. It is also linked to lowering the risk of obesity in kids. Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve in water and adds up to your baby’s stool. It is known to regulate the bowel movement in babies and makes an ideal remedy for constipation. There are many high fibre foods for baby’s constipation that can be safely added to your baby’s diet like prunes, pears, plums, etc.
How Much Fibre is Too Much for Babies?
Although there is no particular recommendation of the amount of fibre for babies, according to the report by the US Department of Agriculture, babies need about 14 grams of dietary fibre for every 1000 calories consumed. For babies between the ages of 1 to 3, 19 grams of fibre is necessary on a daily basis.
Ensure that you do not give your baby too much fibre as it may also lead to diarrhoea.
High Fibre Foods For Babies
Before you introduce fibre in your baby’s diet, always consult a paediatrician to seek approval and know of any foods that you need to avoid. Once the doctor approves you can choose a range of high fibre fruits and vegetables for babies and start adding it to their diet gradually.
Vegetable fibre can be started on immediately after you wean your baby off breast milk or formula, around six to seven months of age. The best way to introduce vegetables to a baby is to serve them in a mashed or pureed form. As your baby begins teething, you can give him sautéed vegetables or salads. Some of the vegetables that are rich in fibre are:
- Turnip greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Raw carrots
Fruits are a rich source of fibre and can be safely introduced to your baby. Ensure to let your baby try only one fruit at a time and notice how his body reacts to it. If he feels any discomfort, discontinue it and try a different fruit. Some fruits that are rich in fibre include:
It is best to offer single-grain cereals to your baby in the beginning. However, your baby may not be a fan of the taste and may take some time to get used to it. The best way to figure out which grains are high in fibre is by checking the texture of the food. The grainer the texture is, the higher the fibre content. Some grains that are good for the baby are:
Once your baby begins to have teeth, you can also give him whole grain pasta, bread, and Graham crackers.