DIET DURING INFANCY | Breast Feeding | Sumplemenatry Foods

Diet During Infancy

DIET DURING INFANCY | Breast Feeding | Supplementary Foods

DIET DURING INFANCY: Physical and mental development are dependent on the food itself, and psychosocial development is affected by the time and manner in which the food is offered that’s why food and its presentation are extremely important during the baby’s first year.

The child reacts with tension and unhappiness if the food is forced on a child or withheld until the child is uncomfortable or if the food is presented in a tense manner.

The newborn may require more frequent feedings, but normally the demand schedule averages approximately every 4 hours by the time the baby is 2 or 3 months old.

Nutritional Requirements:

In one’s life, the first year of life is a period of the most rapid growth, a baby doubles its birth weight by 6 months of age and triples it within the first year. These aspects explain why the infant’s energy, vitamin, mineral, and protein requirements are higher per unit of body weight than those of older children or adults. The growth rates vary from child to child. Nutritional needs will depend largely on a child’s growth rate.

During the first year, the normal child needs 98 to 108 calories per kg of body weight each day. This is approximately two to three times the adult requirement. Infants who have suffered from malnutrition or illness &  low-birth-weight infants require more than the normal number of calories per kg of body weight.

The basis of the infant’s diet is breast milk or formula. It is recommended that infants up to 6 months of age have 2.2 grams of protein per kg of weight each day, and from 6 to 12 months, 1.56 grams of protein per kilogram of weight each day. This is satisfactorily supplied by human milk or by infant formulas.

Infants have more water per pound of bodyweight than do adults. That’s why they usually need 1.5 ml of water per calorie. This is the same ratio of water
to calories as is found in human milk and in infant formulas. Essential vitamins and minerals can be supplied in breast milk, formula, and food.

Breast Feeding:

Breastfeeding is nature’s way of providing a good diet for the baby. Breastfeeding provides advantages that formulas cannot match. Mother’s milk provides the infant with temporary immunity to many infectious diseases. It is free of infectious organisms, is easy to digest, and usually does not cause gastrointestinal disturbances or allergic reactions.

As a fact breast milk contains less protein and minerals than infant formula, it reduces the load on the infant’s kidneys. It also promotes oral motor development in infants and decreases the infant’s risk of obesity and diabetes.

As the infant grows and develops, a stronger sucking ability will allow more milk to be extracted at each feeding, and
the frequency of nursing sessions will decrease. It is recommended that an infant nurse at each breast for approximately 10 to 15 minutes each session.

Growth spurts occur at about 10 days, 2 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months. During this time, the infant will nurse more frequently to increase the supply of nutrients needed to support growth.

Either infant is getting sufficient nutrients and calories from breastfeeding or not:

In order to check either the infant is getting sufficient nutrients and calories from breastfeeding or not there are the following indications:

  1. If there are six or more wet diapers a day, then its a proof he is getting enough nutrients.
  2. If there is normal growth.
  3. if there are one or two mustard-colored bowel movements a day, and
  4. If the breast becomes less full during nursing.

Benefits of Breastfeeding:

  • Breastfeeding helps the mother’s uterus return to normal size after delivery, controls postpartum bleeding,
    and also helps the mother more quickly return to her pre-pregnancy weight.
  • Research has revealed a fact that correlation between breastfeeding and a decreased risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis in premenopausal women.
  • The bonding that occurs during breastfeeding is unmatched.
  • Breast milk provides all the nutrients an infant needs for the first 4 to 6 months of life. Human milk usually supplies the infant with sufficient vitamin C.


Some women fear they will be unable to produce enough breast milk, some lack emotional support from their families, and some simply find breastfeeding foreign to their culture, others who are employed or involved in many activities outside the home find bottle feeding more convenient. Either way of feeding is acceptable provided the infant is given love and attention during the feeding.

If the baby is to be bottle-fed, the pediatrician will provide information on commercial formulas and feeding instructions. Formulas are usually based on cow’s milk because it is abundant and easily modified to resemble human milk.

It must be modified because it has more protein and mineral salts and less milk sugar (lactose) than human milk. Formulas, such as soy formula, are developed so that they are similar to human milk in nutrient and caloric values.

Infant formulas

Formulas with predigested proteins are used for infants unable to tolerate all other types of formulas.Formulas can be purchased in ready-to-feed, concentrated, or powdered forms. Sterile or boiled tap water must be mixed with the concentrated and powdered forms. The most convenient type is also the most expensive.
If the formula purchased requires the addition of water, it is essential that the amount of water added be correctly measured. Too little water will create too heavy a protein and mineral load for the infant’s kidneys. Too much water will dilute the nutrient and calorie value so that the infant will not thrive, and also it could lead to brain edema or seizures.

Supplementary Foods:

The introduction of solid foods before the age of 4 to 6 months is not recommended as the child’s gastrointestinal tract and kidneys are not sufficiently developed to handle solid food before that age. An infant’s readiness for solid foods will be demonstrated by:

  • a willingness to participate in the process.
  • the physical ability to pull food into the mouth rather than always pushing the tongue and food out of the mouth (extrusion reflex disappears by 4–6 months),
  • having head and neck control.
  • the ability to sit up with support.
  • the need for additional nutrients. If the infant is drinking more than 32 ounces of formula
    or nursing 8 to 10 times in 24 hours and is at least 4 months old, then solid food should be started.

Solid foods must be introduced gradually and individually. When the one food is introduced then wait for 4 or 5 days before introducing another new food. If there is no allergic reaction, another food can be introduced, a waiting period allowed, then another, and so on.

Generally, the order of introduction begins with cereal usually iron-fortified
rice, then oat, wheat, and mixed cereals. It is recommended that only 4 ounces per day of 100% juice products be given because they are nutrient-dense.

Sumplemenatry Foods Key Points:

  • It is particularly important that babies have adequate diets so that their physical and mental development is not impaired.
  • Breastfeeding is nature’s way of feeding an infant, although formula feeding is quite acceptable too.
  • The young child’s diet is supplemented on the advice of the pediatrician. Added foods should be based on MyPyramid.
  • Cow’s milk is usually used in formulas because it is most available and is easily modified to resemble human milk.

Related Articles: DIET DURING PREGNANCY| Nutrional Effects | Weight gain during Pregnacy

Helthwell: To maintain good health keep sure you make a healthy approach regarding physical, mental and your own well-being.

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Author: Dua Zehra

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