The importance of proper infant nutrition cannot be overstated. From birth to adulthood, it is essential that a child’s health remains stable. It is particularly important to provide children with appropriate nutrition. During their first three years of life to reduce morbidity and mortality. Reduce their risk of chronic disease throughout their lifespan. And promote regular development of their minds and bodies.
According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every infant and child has the right to proper nutrition; however, few countries provide infants with a diverse diet and frequent feeding. It is estimated that up to a third of all cases of child malnutrition are caused by inadequate feeding practices. It is further compounded by high salt and free sugar. And trans fat content in foods such as infant formula. Mothers are less likely to breastfeed their babies due to this, resulting in poor diets, obesity, and a decrease in breastfeeding. In addition to improvement in IQ, school performance, and income in adulthood. Breastfeeding has been shown to play a critical role in a child’s development.
Birth to six months
Infants should only be fed breast milk during the first six months of their lives. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). If a baby is being fed iron-enriched formula, it must contain iron. For the first six months of an infant’s life. Exclusively breast milk is the only source of vitamins and minerals. When breastfeeding mothers do not get enough vitamin D and B12. They may need to take supplements. Vitamin D supplements are recommended for all infants, breastfeeding or not. Within the first few days of life to prevent vitamin D deficiency or rickets. As the iron in breast milk becomes deficient after four months, exclusively breastfed infants will also need iron supplements.
Nutritional needs of babies
Special nutrition is needed to help premature babies or babies born with a low birth weight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces) catch up on growth. Fortification of breast milk can be provided to breast-fed babies in the following ways:
- Extra calories
- Extra fat
A special formula made especially for preterm babies will be needed for babies who can’t breastfeed. It is imperative to note that these formulas have a higher calorie count. Moreover, they are packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Lifestyle choices or the inability to breastfeed may cause women to substitute this form of nutrition for breast milk. A baby can thrive and grow on formula, which provides all the nutrition they need. In order to help a child grow properly and feel comfortable. They may need different nutrition. In addition, as babies with allergies, and premature babies. Other reasons to avoid breast milk may not be able to consume it. Every type of baby requires a different formula. Soy-based or lactose-free formulas may be suitable for children who have lactose intolerance. There are some babies who suffer from bad colic and require a formula that is extremely gentle. Yet provides all the nutrients their bodies need to grow and thrive.
Avoid these mistakes
When your baby is younger than 12 months, it is best to avoid giving her whole cow’s milk. Iron, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids are not enough for your baby, so you should not feed it to her. Also, it contains too much protein, sodium, and potassium for your child’s body to absorb and can cause harm.
Honey should not be given to your baby before the age of one year. There is a possibility that honey contains bacteria that can cause botulism in babies.
You should not give your baby cow’s milk before they are 1 year old. Since it lacks all the nutrients and cannot be digested by them.
Drinks and foods that have not been pasteurized (like juices, milk, yogurt, or cheese) may put your child at risk for an E. coli infection. E Coli causes severe diarrhea due to its harmful properties.
Certain foods can cause chokings, such as hard candy, popcorn, whole nuts, and grapes (unless they are cut into small pieces). Don’t give your child these foods before age 3.