Infant Nutrition – Infants nutritional needs

Good nutrition – Nutrition infant’s first year of life

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Good nutrition is essential for the growth and development that occurs during an infant’s first year of life. When developing infants are fed the appropriate types and amounts of foods, their health is promoted.Throughout the first year, many physiological changes occur that allow infants to consume foods of varying composition and texture. As an infant’s mouth, tongue, and digestive tract mature, the infant shifts from being able to only suckle, swallow, and take in liquid foods, such as breast milk or infant formula, to being able to chew and receive a wide variety of complementary foods.

For proper growth and development, an infant must obtain an adequate amount of essential nutrients by consuming appropriate quantities and types of foods. During infancy, a period of rapid growth, nutrient requirements per pound of body weight are proportionally higher than at any other time in the life cycle.

Infant Nutrition – Why is mother’s milk the best food for infants born near term gestation?

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The protein from mother’s milk:

  • Is an ideal blend of essential and nonessential amino acids.
  • Generally does not cause allergies.
  • Includes antibodies which may provide some protection against germs found in the environment of the mother and infant.

The carbohydrates (lactose) from mother’s milk:

  • Are readily digestible by virtually all newborn infants.
  • Provide a natural laxative function

The fat provides infants with:

  • Essential fatty acids.
  • Energy to meet rapid growth needs.
  • Minerals and vitamins are readily digestible and generally sufficient with modest exposure to sunlight to produce some vitamin D.

How should infants be fed?

Mother’s milk should be exclusively fed to an infant for the first 4 to 6 months and should be the foundation of a child’s diet for at least 12 months.
By 4 to 6 months of age, infants tend to “outgrow”their body supply of iron, and other nutrients are needed in addition to mother’s milk.

  • New foods are often introduced one at a time for a week or more to determine that the infant tolerates it.
  • Iron-fortified baby cereal (rice or oatmeal)mixed with a little breast milk is generally a good first solid food.
  • This can be followed by pureed fruits,vegetables, and meats.

Vegetables should be cooked and thoroughly mashed.
Ripe fruits can be sanitized, peeled, and pureed as well.
Cooked meats should be chopped and minced to a fine paste.
If baby cereal is not available, then gruel (made of rice or oatmeal or banana powder,Navadhanya powder) can be prepared.
Baby foods should be prepared using purified water and containers which have been sanitized.

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