From now on, your baby who has blown out his first candle or who will soon do so, eats everything and is ready to taste everything you eat in front of him. His food diversification is complete but this is not enough to cover all these needs: baby must continue to drink milk. And not just any!
Meals for 12 month old baby
From the top of his 12 months, your baby is gaining autonomy: he now moves perfectly, whether on all fours or perhaps even taking his first steps. At the table, he is curious and ready to taste anything you want to give him. Especially since he chews larger and smaller pieces better and better, thanks to his incisors and his first molars.
He also likes to touch food before bringing it to his mouth to appreciate all its characteristics: texture, consistency, temperature, shape, etc. As much as possible, let him do his little experiments and suggest that he start eating on his own with the spoon. By dint of practice, he will refine his coordination and will succeed in taking his first spoons alone with great pride.
As for the contents of the plate, you can now offer all fruits and vegetables to your child. You will choose them preferably in season and fresh. But frozen vegetables can turn out to be a very good solution for preparing baby meals if you are short on time. In this case, opt for plain, uncooked vegetables and possibly fruits without added sugar. The same is true for starchy foods, especially potatoes, sweet potatoes, split peas or dried beans, for example. Avoid canned foods, which contain too much salt.
As far as proteins are concerned, you can offer your child any type of meat (white or red), fish (fatty or not) and both white and egg yolk. You will also increase the amounts of protein this month: from 12 months, you will increase to 25 to 30 g in total of meat or fish, or 5 to 6 tbsp. c. per day or 1/2 hard-boiled egg (white + yolk).
With regard to dairy products, it is rather recommended to delay the introduction of traditional cow’s milk products to 3 years. Opt for specific dairy products for babies aged 12 months because they are made from growing-up milk, which is 23 times richer in iron. Yoghurts, fromage blanc or petit-suisse, flavored or not, you are spoiled for choice to vary your child’s pleasures.
Alongside these dairy products, milk remains an important food for babies: they still drink nearly half a liter of it a day.
The importance of growing up milk
Often abandoned too early for cow’s milk, infant milk remains the ideal food to supplement baby’s nutritional intake, even when their diet is perfectly diversified. Child nutrition experts also recommend switching from second-age milk to growing-up milk around the age of 10/12 months and continuing this milk supply until the child is 3 years old.
Because beyond its calcium and essential fatty acid intake, this milk has an undeniable advantage: it contains 23 times more iron than cow’s milk. This aspect is absolutely fundamental for your baby who, from the height of his 12 months, cannot meet his iron needs if you were to opt for classic cow’s milk or any other type of milk instead of growing-up milk. In practice, it would indeed take the equivalent of 100 grams of meat per day to meet its iron needs. A quantity well above the nutritional recommendations which amount to 20 to 25 g of protein (meat, fish or egg) per day for this age. Plants, even if they contain iron, are not enough to fill this gap.
So of course, some will tell you that their child has never taken growing-up milk and is doing very well. For your part, bear in mind that an iron deficiency is most of the time silent with symptoms that do not alert, at first sight: the anemic child is simply more tired and prone to infections. The fact remains that anemia is often revealed during a blood test.
You have understood: even if your child has a perfectly diversified diet, he needs growing-up milk to be at his best and to ensure his perfect neurological development.
Moreover, compared to cow’s milk, growing-up milk is also:
- 6000 times richer in essential fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6) – essential for its neurological development
- almost twice as rich in zinc essential to ensure its optimal growth
- an interesting source of Vitamin A and E antioxidants which are involved in particular in vision
- rich in calcium and vitamin D, essential for bone growth, very important at this time of life.
So continue to give your baby bottles of growing-up milk, and ideally choose dairy products specifically developed for his age, made with infant milk (yogurts, cottage cheeses, Swiss cheeses, etc.).
Does the 12 month old baby tolerate alternative milks?
The opinions of health professionals are unanimous: vegetable drinks (almonds, soy, oats, spelled, hazelnuts, etc.) do not meet the specific nutritional needs of young children and are not recommended for children under 3 years old.
Yet from a digestibility point of view, these “milks” or rather these alternative drinks to cow’s milk, are very well tolerated by the baby. However, there is a restriction concerning almond and chestnut drinks, which should not be introduced before the age of three if one of the family members has an allergy to these nuts. Also beware of cross allergies!
But if their natural side is often advocated, the fact remains that they are of little interest from a nutritional point of view for the child and even present risks of deficiencies. Vegetable drinks are indeed not rich in iron, yet essential at this age given that the reserves produced before birth are diminishing. Moreover, these drinks are both too sweet and too low in essential fatty acids, lipids and calcium.
On the subject of calcium, here is an example that should convince you to continue giving infant formula to your baby: 250 mL of vegetable almond drink + 250 mL of vegetable chestnut drink provide 175 mg of calcium, whereas a child of 1 to 3 years needs 500 mg/day! This solution, which would be considered “more natural” by those who advocate it, induces a significant calcium deficiency: the child receives almost three times less calcium than he should, per day. A precious lack for the young child who is in a period of full growth and who therefore has a skeleton which evolves in an impressive way at this age.
Regarding soy, the Nutrition Committee of the Socie´te´ Franc¸aise de Pe´diatrie advises against the use of soy drinks in children under 3 years of age due to the excessive amounts of protein they contain. they provide and their low content of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Not to mention the health effects of the phytoestrogens contained in soybeans for which we lack hindsight.
However, if you do not want to give your child growing-up milk, it is best to opt for whole cow’s milk (red cap) rather than semi-skimmed milk (blue cap) because it is richer in vitamins A, D and K but also in essential fatty acids, essential for the neuronal development of your child who is maturing.
12 month old baby food day
Here is an example of a typical food day for your one-year-old. Of course, the quantities are given as an indication, and are to be adapted, according to your child’s appetite.
Breastfeeding or bottle 240 ml of growth milk with low mineral water
Optional: Infant cereals (in the bottle) or bread + fruit
Mashed vegetables in small pieces + unmixed but well-cooked starch + 1 tbsp. c. of oil (ideally: mixture of 4 oils: Sunflower, Rapeseed, Oléisol, Grapeseed): about 200 g – to be adapted according to your appetite
25 to 30 g of protein*: 5 to 6 tbsp. c. of meat or fish or 1/2 hard-boiled egg (white + yolk)
Fresh fruit, preferably chewable
Fresh fruit, preferably chewable
Dairy, ideally with infant milk (yogurt, petit-suisse or fromage blanc)
Optional: dry biscuits (boudoir or Petit Beurre® type) or bread croutons
Mashed vegetables in small pieces + unmixed but well-cooked starch + 1 tbsp. c. of oil (ideally: mixture of 4 oils: Sunflower, Rapeseed, Oléisol, Grapeseed): 130 to 200 g depending on your appetite.
Breastfeeding or 240 ml bottle of growing-up milk with low mineral water
Optional: Infant cereals (in the bottle)
* concerning proteins (meat, fish or egg), you are not obliged to give it to your only midday or only in the evening. The important thing is not to exceed the recommended amount of 25 to 30 g of protein per day. This corresponds to about 5 to 6 teaspoons of meat or fish or 1/2 hard-boiled egg (white + yolk). You can therefore perfectly split this quantity in two, between the midday meal and the evening meal!
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