Early Childhood Nutrition

Early Childhood Nutrition

Importance of Early Childhood Nutrition

The first 5 years of a child’s life is the most important period of their growth and development. This is when the child is growing rapidly and the brain doubles in size with the child’s body weight increases up to four times or more. Therefore, it is utterly important to provide the child with a good nutritional foundation. Proper nutrition supports healthy immune responses and reduces risk of malnutrition.


Breast milk is the best for babies. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Unnecessary introduction of bottle feeding or other food and drinks will have a negative impact on breastfeeding. After six months of age, infants should receive age-appropriate foods while breastfeeding continues for up to two years of age or beyond. - Quote from WHO

Benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding:

  • Breast milk is specially formulated with frequently changing composition to meet baby’s specific nutritional needs.
  • Easily digestible.
  • Contains immune building factors (antibodies/ immunoglobulins) that develops healthy immune response and reduces baby’s risk of infection.
  • Increase bonding between mother and child.
  • Promotes better post-delivery recovery for the mother.
  • Promotes healthy weight for both mother and child.
  • Ensures baby receive the optimum nutrients for growth and development.

Organic Milk VS Regular Milk

In cases where mothers are unable to produce enough breast milk, formula milk are introduce. It is a healthier option to opt for organic milk. Organic milk is derived from cows not treated with antibiotics or hormones whereas regular milk may contain residue from antibiotics or hormones.

Weaning: Introducing Solids


  • When the baby is 6 months old.
  • Starts reaching out for objects.
  • Wants to chew and place things in mouth.
  • Shows interest in foods.
  • Still hungry even after milk feeding.
  • Can hold his head up and able to sit up against the back of a chair.


  • Start by introducing single grain cereals/ single ingredient fruit/vegetable puree.
  • Start with 1—2 teaspoons of solid foods.
  • Gradually increase the amount of solid foods to 1—2 tablespoons.
  • Give solid foods with milk or in between milk feedings, 2—3 times a day.
  • Gradually introduce one new food ingredient every few days. This allows baby to get used to the taste and texture, its also help to identify any possible food allergies.
  • Gradually increase the amount of solid food.

Infant Feeding Guidelines

0-6 months Exclusive breastfeeding
6 months Breastfeeding and solid foods
  • Smooth purees
  • Single cereal grains such as brown rice, rice, oat or barley
  • Single fruits/vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, pear, apple or peach.
7 -9 months
  • Thicker and coarser purees
  • May start on a mixture of grains, fruits and vegetables
  • Increase water intake
10 - 12 months
  • Mashed or chopped foods
  • Not too hard in texture (easily dissolved)
  • Increase water intake

Feeding My Toddler (>1 Year)

Mothers may begin to introduce coarser foods to children ages 1 year and above. By this age, their digestive system are matured enough to better handle a variety of foods.

Ensure that the child is provided with:

  • A balanced meal.
  • Foods with low amounts of salt, sugar and unhealthy fat.
  • Good source of calcium for bone and teeth health.
  • Enough water to prevent dehydration.
  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables to prevent constipation.

Mothers may continue to feed their children breast milk. Otherwise, introduce the child to organic calcium-rich cow’s/ goat’s milk (full fat). Full fat milk provides the calories needed by toddlers to grow and develop.

Fussy Kiddos

  • Be patient - Children takes time to adapt to something new. If they do not like that food today, try again in a few days time.

  • Attractive - Prepare foods that are colorful and fun in shapes.

  • Baby see, baby do - Be a role model, eat next to them, they will be more enthusiastic about the food.

  • Less sweets - Refrain from giving your child high-sugar foods. They may develop an unhealthy liking for sweetness.

          VitaKids Recommends

          Take note:

          Children should be provided with proper nutritional support through a well balanced diet (Low in sugar, salt and unhealthy fat. High in fruits, vegetables and water).

          Children should be encouraged to be physically active.

          • Babies are encouraged to reach out and grasps objects, push and pull.
          • Toddlers and older children should be motivated to play and move around for at least 3 hours a day both indoors and outdoors.
          Supplements Babies/Children Benefits
          High Potency Multivitamin and Mineral From 6 months Supports healthy growth and development.
          Essential Fatty Acids: Omega-3 From Birth Supports healthy brain, eye and nervous system development.
          A good strength of multi-strain probiotics From Birth Supports development of healthy gut flora. Promotes healthy digestive and immune system.
          Vitamin D From Birth Supports healthy bone growth and immune response.
          A good potency of Vitamin C or a good immune booster. From 1 year old Supports healthy immune system.
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