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Balanced Diet: Nutritional Need for Infants

Balanced Diet: Nutritional Need for InfantsBreastfeeding

Infant’s breastfeeding solely until six months of age is highly recommended by the Department of Health. It is reported that baby’s breastfed can lessen the risk of stomach upsets as well as ear, respiratory and urinary tract infections comparing to those who are fed with bottled formula milk.

It will also prevent babies to experience constipation and vomiting and less prone to become obese. And for family history of diseases such as diabetes and allergies, there’s a less possibility of babies to develop those.

Mother’s breast milk is known to be the best source of nutrition for newborn babies. It is packed with antibodies that helps to build the baby’s immune system as well it gives indigestible nutrients in a proper quantity. It also contains substances and hormonal factors that could help with baby’s growth and development, such as development of baby’s brain, eye retinas, gut lining and protective sheath for baby’s central nervous system. Breastmilk as well is helping baby’s immature digestive tract for it carries digestive enzymes which help to digest the nutrients in milk.

When not to Breastfeed?

Sad to say that breastfeeding isn’t recommended and possible to all women.

• Women who are HIV-positive that has a risk of transmitting the disease to their baby through their milk.
• Women under medication. They should check and visit their doctor and midwife before breastfeeding.

Types of Breastmilk

In the first few days after baby’s birth, a substance called Colostrum is produced in the mother’s breast. This substance is a yellowish fluid that is rich in protein and packed with antibodies that makes it suitable for newborn babies.
Then the colostrum changes and becomes thin and white, and after 3 or 4 days, the mature breastmilk will start to come through.

There are three types of milk that are being produced each feed time. Foremilk is being produced at the beginning of feed and next is the Hindmilk that has more fat, energy and essential nutrients. This type of milk is very important as babies grow to meet their daily nutritional needs.

Mother’s Diet

During breastfeeding period, women experience an increase in their appetite. For the reason that breastfeeding uses at least 50 calories a day and most of this energy can be obtained from fats stores laid down in pregnancy. New mothers had the intense feeling of hunger and thirst during the breastfeeding period and they are encouraged to respond to those signs. It isn’t the best time to diet or limit mother’s food intake because of the stress and exhaustion of early motherhood and the demands of breastfeeding.
A general healthy eating is recommended, since while breastfeeding, the need for protein, calcium, folate and vitamins such as A & C increased. So as it is very important that the increased appetite is fulfilled with foods of high nutritional quality.
Taking of vitamin D everyday was recommended by Department of Health to all breastfeeding mothers because it’s the only nutrient that may not be provided in adequate amount in breastmilk. Also mothers should remember that sufficient amount of fluid is a must and they should drink more fluid that usual but make sure to avoid those drinks with caffeine since it will be excreted in breastmilk.

Foods to Avoid

While breastfeeding, there is really no need of avoiding any foods in particular. But always make sure that you consult a health and dietary expert before removing some foods in your diet, that way the deficiency in vitamins and minerals will be avoided.
Also a little amount of alcohol pass into breastmilk will make it smell different that could affect the feeding, sleeping and digestion of you baby. Even there is still a lack of research data, it has been suggested that mother should also avoid intake of potentially allergenic foods.


The use of formula milk may be the preferred option of some mother and sometimes very necessary especially for most working mothers. Although formula milk can’t really match up the immunological benefits as of that of breastmilk but its composition is still close to breastmilk.

Two types of Formula Milk:

1. Whey-dominant – Most highly modified and the closest to breastmilk. That’s why it was considered the most suitable milk for babies from birth onwards.
2. Casein-dominant – Though they have similar nutritional composition, but known that the type of curds formed in the baby’s stomach takes longer to digest and give the feeling full longer.

Soya Formulas

Soya formulas should be used by caution especially for children that are known to be sensitive to cow’s milk protein, as well as for infants below the age of six months. Visit your health experts or midwife to check for more suitable alternatives in case you suspect that your baby is sensitive to cow’s milk.

Possible Baby Feeding Problems

Diarrhea and Vomiting

There might be several serious problems that may cause dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance, where as the vomiting and diarrhea combination is much serious that diarrhea alone. It is normal that at the end of feed babies regurgitate a small amount of milk. But in case of projectile vomiting and vomiting both between and feeds as well as blood or vomit stained with bile should be immediately reported to your doctor. So that feeding will be stopped and fluid replacement will be recommended. For bottle-feeding, you can check with your midwife for any suggestions to reintroduce the milk with reduced strength and slowly increased up to full strength.

Poor and Excessive Weight Gain

You can always visit your health adviser and midwife concerning your babies rate of growth. They will be able to monitor you baby’s weight gain and offer proper advice if necessary. There are several causes of poor weight gain, such as insufficient intake of nutrients because of poor breastfeeding technique, improper formula, and also the baby’s inability to feed properly as well as inadequate absorption caused by intestinal disturbances and food intolerance.

Most bottle-fed babies grow on a faster rate and excessively gain weight. It is better to see health experts and inquire about the proper amount of formula and milk dilution.

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