4 Main Types of Nutritional Requirements for Babies

The developmental process of infants undergoes numerous phases, especially in the initial year, from sitting to crawling and from crawling to walking. Breast milk is the best form of nourishment for infants, particularly in the first 6 months from their birth. After this period of time, the diet of the infants gradually changes from totally liquid diet to solid food as they grow up. It is necessary to feed the infants with appropriate balance of protein, vitamins, calories and minerals to maintain their proper growth and development. Yet the longer the baby is breastfed, the better it is! From a nutritional standpoint, it is highly advisable for mothers not to stop nursing their infants completely.

Why Is Good Nutrition Crucial to Your Baby?

1. Good Nutrition Promotes Babies’ Development

Diet and nutrition should be an important concern to parents during the initial days of their infants’ life. A healthy diet promotes the optimal growth and development of children, thus reducing the risk for chronic diseases during childhood. Any deficiency can affect the baby’s developmental process and may also result in having a negative impact on the child’s well being and personality development, such as affecting the child’s cognitive development and lowering his or her intelligence quotient.

2. Good Nutrition Protects Babies from Diseases

Under nutrition is defined as an inadequate condition of energy and nutrients, and thus the effect can be very devastating during early childhood. Poor nutrition for individuals can have short term or long term impacts on the quality of life. Although healthy diet and good nutrition are essential throughout the phase of individual’s lives, it is particularly critical during the intrauterine period until when the child becomes two years of age. Good nutrition also prevents child from diseases like anemia and xerophthalmia which are very common during childhood.

3. Good Eating Habits Is Formed in Early Life

Eating habits are generally formed in the early life cycle and certainly tend to influence the adulthood as well. Children should be able to difference between unhealthy foods and nutritious foods at an early age; parents need to emphasize the significance of eating a nutritious diet and well-balanced food to their children. Many diseases associated with childhood, such as nutrient deficiencies and dehydration, poor bone health and menstrual irregularities, can be prevented with the intake of good nutrition and a healthful diet.

What Are the Recommended Nutritional Requirements for Babies?

It’s natural for parents to consider what would be the best foods for their children. The good news is that with simple learning, it is easy to provide all the essential nutrients to babies for their growth and development. Below are the 4 main types of recommended nutritional requirements for babies. 

1. Carbohydrate

  • Function: Carbohydrate aids in maintaining the overall health condition of the infants. It fuels their metabolism, continues the functioning of their nervous system and supports their growth. Carbohydrate is the primary source that fuels up energy for children to play, learn and run; deficiency of carbohydrates may stunt the growth of the children.
  • Sources: Diary products, whole grains and green leafy vegetables.

2. Fats and Fatty Acid

  • Function: Quality fats consumed during infancy provide the required energy for the infant’s brain, heart and liver. Fatty acids facilitate infants in absorbing the essential nutrients and building both cells and immunity. Regular breastfed infants easily consume the necessary amount of fats during their first year, but infants on formula would need the essential fatty acids containing omega-3. The omega-3 fatty acid supports the visual acuity and neurological development of the infants, and you should offer your baby closer to 1-2 grams of omega-3s per day.
  • Sources:  Milk, yogurt and eggs. As to omega-3, you can find it in salmon or halibut, walnut halves and ground flaxseeds.

3. Protein

  • Function: Protein supports infant’s growth and development. It is vital for the replacement of body tissue, including repair and development. Protein strengthens muscles and supplies the brain cells with the necessary nutrients that aid infants in learning the language skills. All the cells found in human body, including skin, hair, muscles, eyes and organs, contain protein; the protein requirements for infants and toddlers are much more than that of adults as they are growing rapidly and developing new protein tissue.
  • Sources: Fish, yogurt, pureed meat, eggs and breast milk or formula for infants within 6 months of age.

4. Micronutrient

  • Microminerals (Trace Elements)




Amount (per day)



Helps in building and maintaining strong teeth and bones. It supports the muscle function by promoting healthy nerve and aids in cell signaling and communicating.

Dark leafy greens, dairy products and fortified products, such as soy milk, orange juice and tofu.

  • 200 for 0-6 months
  • 260 for 7-12 months
  • 700 for 1-3 years



Itsupports the red blood cells tosupply oxygen to all parts of the body and plays a major role in generating hemoglobin.

Red meat, eggs, shellfish, beans and leafy green vegetables.

  • 0.27 for  0-6 months
  • 11 for  7-12 months
  • 7 for 1-3 years



Helps in the functioning of the nerves and muscles, maintains the bones strength and steadiness of heart rhythm.

Leafy green vegetables, whole grain products, almonds, soybeans, peanuts, bananas and kiwifruit.

  • 30 for 0-6 months
  • 75 for 7-12 months
  • 80 for 1-3 years          



Helps in the formation of teeth and bones and serves in building energy for the body. It also supports the red blood cells in delivering the oxygen and healthy functioning of cells.

Beef, chicken, dairy products, whole wheat breads and eggs.

  • 100 for 0-6 months
  • 275 for 7-12 months
  • 460 for 1-3 years        



It supports the immune system and it is very essential for the growth of children. It isvery critical to several internal processes and supports the nervous system, including the reproduction.

Red meat, oysters, peanuts, fortified cereals, dairy products and soy foods.

  • 2 for 0-6 months
  • 3 for 7-12 months
  • 3 for 1-3 years        

Potassium (mg)

Helps in upholding a healthy balance of water in the body tissues and blood. It also aids in muscle function and nervous system.

Leafy green vegetables, tomatoes, orange juice and bananas.

  • 400 for 0-6 months
  • 700 for 7-12 months
  • 3,000 for 1-3 years   
  • Vitamins




Amount (per day)

Vitamin A

(mcg RE)

Vitamin A is required for a healthy eyesight and bone growth. It is essential for the regular working of the immune system.

Cod liver oil, carrots, leafy vegetables and sweet potatoes.

  • 400  for 0-6 months
  • 500  for 7-12 months
  • 300  for  1-3 years        

Vitamin D


Helps in absorbing calcium and maintaining of healthy teeth and bone.

Sunlight, egg yolks, cheese, milk and cereals, dark leafy greens like spinach and products like soy milk, tofu and orange juice.

  • 10  for 0-6 months
  • 10 for 7-12 months
  • 15  for  1-3 years        

Vitamin C


It helps in holding the cells together and repairing of red blood cells, tissues and bones. It helps in promoting a healthy immune system and lessens bruising from scrapes and falls.

Red berries, potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, and spinach.

  • 40  for 0-6 months
  • 50  for 7-12 months
  • 15  for 1-3 years        

Vitamin B


These vitamins help your body in the process of getting or making energy from the food you eat. They also help form red blood cells.

Fish, poultry, meat, eggs, dairy products, leafy green vegetables, beans, and peas; many cereals and some of the breads have added B vitamins

Vitamin B6

  • 0.1  for 0-6 months
  • 0.3  for 0-6 months
  • 0.5  for 1-3 years        

Vitamin B12

  • 0.4  for 0-6 months
  • 0.5  for 7-12 months
  • 0.9  for 1-3 years        

Vitamin E

(mg alpha-TE)

It helps in preventing body from germs and strengthens the blood circulation system as well as improves the immune system.

Raw mango, spinach, nuts, and sunflower seeds.

  • 4  for 0-6 months
  • 5  for 7-12 months
  • 6  for 1-3 years       

Source: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) and Adequate Intakes (AIs), Food & Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (NAS), 1998-2010.