Infant and Newborn Nutrition is the description of the dietary needs of newborns and infants. Food provides the energy and nutrients that infants need to be healthy. Typical babies consume 1400 food calories a day. An adequate intake in nutrient rich food is good nutrition. An infant diet lacking essential calories, minerals, fluid and vitamins could be considered 'bad' nutrition. For a baby, breast milk is "best". It has all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Infant formulas are available for babies whose mothers are not able or decide not to breastfeed. Infants usually start eating solid foods between 4 and 6 months of age. Clinicians can be consulted to determine what is best for each baby. If a food introduced one at a time, a potential allergen can be identified.
Breastfeeding can prevent allergic, atopic dermatitis, cow's milk allergy, and wheezing in early childhood. Breastfed babies have lower risks of asthma. Some foods tend to illicit allergies in young children. These include:
- Peanuts (including peanut butter)
- Other tree nuts
If an infant catches a gastrointestinal infection, they may not be able to take in the adequate fluids or nutrition that they need. Foodborne illness is a serious health issue, especially for a new baby and any other children in the home. Each year in the U.S., 800,000 illnesses affect children under the age of 10. Young children are particularly vulnerable to foodborne illness because their immune systems are not developed enough to fight off foodborne bacterial infections. That's why extra care should be taken when handling and preparing their food.
Handwashing is the first step in Keeping young children safe. Caregivers hands can pick up bacteria and spread bacteria to the baby. Objects that are high in bacteria are:
- Diapers containing feces and urine
- Raw meat and raw poultry
- Uncooked seafood, and eggs
- Dogs and cats, turtles, snakes, birds, and lizards.
- Other animals
- Other children
Handwashing can remove harmful bacteria and will help to prevent foodborne illness. Instructing children on good handwashing will help to spread the bacteria that cause illness.
When water is added to dry formula, it must come from a clean and safe water source. Watered down formula will lowers the levels of calories, vitamins and minerals the infant will ingest during each feeding. Inadequate intake of nutrients can slow the development and growth of the baby. Manufacturers include instructions on the container for safe mixing of formula. Assistance from governmental and non-governmental agencies may be available to caregivers having difficulties buying formula. Testing the temperature of the formulas will help prevent scalding the baby's mouth.
- "Infant and Newborn Nutrition: MedlinePlus". This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
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