Why should you give protein to your baby?
At the time of food diversification, between 4 and 6 months, you can start giving your baby proteins other than those contained in milk. They are essential for the proper functioning of his body in the same way as other nutrients such as lipids, carbohydrates, vitamins, mineral salts and trace elements. As we can read on the ANSES website, they play an important role: they contribute to the development of muscle tissue, skin, appendages (hair, nails and hair). They are necessary for the production of antibodies, hormones and enzymes. They are our body’s only source of nitrogen, essential for life. In any case, it is better not to leave out the proteins: a diet low in protein can harm the growth of the child. That said, there is no need to force-feed Baby this nutrient! The protein intake must be done at the right dose, according to its needs which will evolve with age.
What are the highest protein foods for babies?
There are many high protein foods to give to Baby as soon as you begin to diversify his diet. We can start by remembering that milk, the only food that Baby “eats” until the moment of food diversification, is a food that contains proteins. For example, there are 1.4 g of protein in 100 ml of infant milk and about 1 g in breast milk. Namely, cow’s milk explodes the figures with approximately 3.6 g of protein per 100 ml! This is also why it is preferable not to introduce it from the start of food diversification. At the time of dietary diversification, eggs, meat, poultry, cooked ham or fish are foods rich in protein. We think less about it, but oilseeds such as almonds, hazelnuts or pulses (chickpeas, dried beans, etc.) are rich in vegetable proteins.
Proteins (animal and vegetable) are essential to Baby’s diet, but he does not need to eat them in the evening. Proteins are nutrients that take a long time to digest, they could disturb his sleep. If your child has eaten a meal with the necessary amount of protein for lunch, then it is useless to give it to him in the evening. If at noon your child has not eaten protein, then you can serve it to him for the evening meal but there is no obligation. What matters most is the daily amount of protein you give your child.
What is the daily protein intake for a child?
The daily protein intake depends on the age of the child. The rule is simple: the right dose is 10g per year of the child.
– At the beginning of food diversification, between 4 and 6 months, you can serve eggs, meat, fish, poultry, always very cooked, and cooked ham to your baby. Start by serving him protein from time to time and then regularly at the rate of 5 grams/day, i.e. 1 teaspoon of mixed food or crushed hard-boiled (well-cooked) egg. Just as it is possible to melt a small amount of grated cheese in his mash or give him a few spoonfuls of yogurt as a snack.
– From 8/10 months, you can switch to larger meals! Serve your baby 10 g/day, i.e. 2 teaspoons of protein (meat, poultry, fish, cooked ham) or 1/4 of a hard-boiled egg. It is also possible to give him small pieces of soft cheese then harder and harder. In any case, before the age of 3, never serve your baby raw milk cheeses except Emmental or Comté. Similarly, 0% skimmed dairy products are not suitable for children under 3 years old.
– Between 1 and 2 years old, babies can eat 20 g/day of protein, ie 4 teaspoons or 1/3 of a hard-boiled egg or yogurt or 20 g of cheese.
– Between 2 and 3 years old, babies are entitled to 30 g/day of protein, i.e. 6 teaspoons or 1/2 a hard-boiled egg or yogurt or 20 g of cheese.
Between the start of food diversification and the age of 3, fish has its place in baby’s meals. He will be served on average twice a week, once a fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines… rich in DHA fatty acid (from the Omega-3 family, beneficial for the brain, heart and vision) .
- Vegetable proteins: what is it and where to find it?
- What is the impact of food diversification on baby’s sleep?