As the baby grows from 6 months onwards, a diversity of micronutrients is required for his growth and development, in addition to macronutrients derived from protein, fats and carbohydrates. While macronutrients, as the name suggests, provide large amounts of amino acids, sugars and fatty acids, it is the trace amounts of micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals, which provide more specific functions in maturing tissues. While they are lower in amount, they are just as important. This is seen in examples of children when a specific mineral become very low, resulting in specific types of health issues.
A mineral is a type of basic element in its simplest form. All foods have some trace amounts of most dietary minerals, although levels will vary depending on the food source. As their name suggests, some are naturally occurring, such as sodium, which is abundant in sea water, while calcium occurs in lime and egg shells. Breastmilk is a balanced source of the dissolved form many minerals required for the first 6 months of development and beyond, in particular, calcium.