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Nutrition and Baby Care


Discussions on "Nutrition and Baby Care" in "Health and Kids Food" forum.


  1. #11
    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    Iron Supplements For Infants - Are They Necessary?

    Whether or not iron supplements for infants are necessary depends on individual circumstances. But it's important to understand the key role that iron plays in good infant nutrition and how solid feeding can affect your baby's iron levels.

    How does the body use iron?

    The body needs iron to make haemoglobin, which is responsible for supplying oxygen to all the cells through the blood. It is also responsible for the colour of red blood cells - so if someone's body lacks sufficient iron, these blood cells become small and pale, resulting in iron-deficiency anaemia.

    Iron is also needed for the brain to develop and function properly - a lack of iron during infancy can have a huge impact on the ability to learn in later life.

    BABIES AND IRON

    A full term, healthy baby is usually born with enough iron stores in his body to last for at least the first 4 to 6 months of life. These stores of iron were obtained from his mother during a healthy pregnancy - the majority of iron is obtained during the final few months.

    Some babies, however, are at an increased risk of iron-deficiency anaemia because they are not born with sufficient iron. These may include,
    1.premature babies
    2.low birth weight babies (below 6.5lbs, even if full term)
    3.babies of mothers with poorly controlled diabetes

    Iron supplements for infants in these categories may be recommended by the baby's health care provider at some stage.

    IRON SUPPLEMENTS FOR INFANTS - BREASTFED BABIES

    In the past, some health care professionals have routinely prescribed iron supplements for infants who are breastfed. And a recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that all breastfed babies be supplemented with iron from 4 months of age.

    But breastfeeding advocates question the need for iron supplements for breastfed babies, indicating that they are not necessary unless signs of anemia are present. Worryingly, there is also evidence that iron supplements for infants who are breastfed may be harmful, causing,
    • stunted growth
    • decreased head circumference
    • diarrhea
    • reduced absorption of the vital minerals zinc and selenium


    The level of iron in breastmilk is small, but is very "bioavailable"...

    This is because breastmilk contains two specialised proteins - lactoferrin and transferrin. These proteins ensure that the iron from breastmilk is delivered efficiently to baby - the iron absorption rate from breastmilk is very high as a result, at around 49% of available iron. These proteins also ensure that the iron is NOT made available to "bad" bacteria, such as E-coli and Salmonella and therefore prevent their growth.

    Breastmilk also contains high levels of lactose and vitamin C, which help with the efficient absorption of iron.

    The amount of iron available to baby from breastmilk reduces somewhat when solid foods or mixed feeding (breastmilk and formula) are introduced and can be greatly reduced by the addition of iron fortified foods or iron supplements for infants.

    This is particularly true during the first 6 months and is another reason why your baby should be AT LEAST 6 months of age before you consider introducing solids.

    The reason for this reduction in iron absorption is that the breastmilk proteins, lactoferrin and transferrin, can become saturated by the excess iron. This reduces their efficiency in delivering iron to your baby, meaning that more iron is available to harmful bacteria (leading to digestive problems) and LESS is available to baby.

    Once your breastfed baby is eating foods containing iron on a regular basis, then it's important to ensure that he is eating enough foods naturally high in iron to compensate for the reduced iron intake from breastmilk.




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  2. #12
    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    IRON SUPPLEMENTS FOR INFANTS - FORMULA FED BABIES

    The absorption of available iron from formula is much lower than from breastmilk, at less than 4%. In order to reduce cases of iron-deficiency anaemia in babies, since 1969 the American Academy of Pediatrics has made strong recommendations that all infant formula be iron-fortified and given to baby from birth to 12 months, or until he is getting enough iron in his diet.

    You should not give your baby non-fortified or low-iron formula unless otherwise advised by your baby's doctor.

    Many parents are reluctant to give their child iron-fortified formula, believing that it can contribute to constipation, reflux, cramps, diarrhea, colic, gas/wind and irritability. But studies have shown that these fears are unfounded - and that the problems associated with iron deficiency are far more severe.

    As with breastfed babies, it is important that the diet of a formula fed baby also contain plenty of iron rich foods.

    Iron-deficiency anaemia

    Iron-deficiency anemia (or anaemia) is one of the biggest nutritional problems in the world during early childhood. Some doctors routinely test babies for this between 6 to 9 months of age, as the stores of iron that baby was born with may begin to deplete at this stage.

    WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF IRON-DEFICIENCY ANAEMIA?
    • Pale skin (particularly noticeable on the earlobes of babies) and paleness of mucous membranes
    • Lack of attentiveness/listlessness
    • Frequent illness
    • Reduced appetite


    If iron-deficiency anaemia is diagnosed by a doctor, then iron supplements for infants may be prescribed, although borderline anaemia can often be corrected when baby's diet is adjusted to include more iron rich foods.

    NOTE: Anemia is not always caused by iron deficiency - lead poisoning and thalassaemia can also produce anemia.



  3. #13
    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    FOODS NATURALLY HIGH IN IRON

    • meat (particularly beef and lamb)
    • peas
    • tofu
    • beans
    • dark green vegetables (but please note that the iron in spinach is not well absorbed)
    • avocado
    • yam
    • whole wheat cereal
    • wheat germ
    • barley
    • blackstrap molasses
    • broccoli
    • millett
    • amaranth
    • quinoa


    TIPS FOR BOOSTING BABY'S IRON INTAKE

    Serve high iron foods along with foods containing vitamin C - this helps your baby's body to absorb more of the available iron. A good example is spaghetti with a meat and tomato sauce.

    Cook in cast iron pans - the acid in some foods (like tomatoes) "pulls" the iron from the pan.

    Bake muffins or bread for baby using the iron rich grains listed above - try mixing the flour from these grains with wheat flour, which is fairly low in iron.

    Make meatballs for baby using a mixture of ground/minced beef and iron fortified cereal.

    Serve oatmeal with blackstrap molasses, which is not only rich in iron, but also contains B vitamins, essential for the production of red blood cells.

    Grind your baby's meat finely - new research has shown that babies are better able to absorb the iron from very small particles of meat than they are from larger pieces.

    Cook grains and pulses with onions and garlic - recent studies have shown that onions and garlic may increase the body's uptake of both iron and zinc from cereals.



  4. #14
    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    Vitamin D

    How does my baby's body use vitamin D?


    Vitamin D helps your baby's body absorb calcium, which is needed for the healthy development of strong bones and teeth. A deficiency of vitamin D can result in rickets, which affects the way bones develop and grow. The bones of a child with rickets are unable to sufficiently support his body weight, resulting in bowed legs.

    Learn more about calcium...

    How can I ensure my baby is getting enough vitamin D?

    The answer to this question can vary greatly from one culture/country to another, which is why you might come across lots of conflicting advice on the subject.

    SOURCES OF VITAMIN D

    The most important source of vitamin D is not food... it's sunlight! In fact, vitamin D isn't actually a vitamin at all, but is a steroid hormone that the body produces using UVB rays from the sun. Vitamin D deficiences in babies can arise if babies receive inadequate exposure to sunlight.

    Other risk factors for vitamin D deficiency in babies include
    • darker pigmented skin
    • premature birth
    • vitamin D deficiency in a breastfeeding mother
    • lead exposure
    • offering babies low-calcium foods in place of breast milk


    SAFELY EXPOSING YOUR BABY TO THE SUN
    We are all used to protecting our babies from the sun - in fact, AAP guidelines say that babies under 6 months of age should not be exposed to the sun at all and that older babies should be fully protected with sunscreen... but then we discover that they NEED sunlight in order to make vitamin D! So how do we safely meet these needs?

    Well, babies don't actually need a lot of sun to make vitamin D - in fact, casual sun exposure may be enough.

    "To make enough vitamin D, a baby in a diaper needs a total of only 30 minutes of sunlight a week-less than five minutes a day. Fully clothed and without a hat, a baby would need two hours of sunlight a week, or about 20 minutes a day. Medium to darker skin tones need a little more time in the sun."

    Clearly, the best approach is to use common sense - avoid taking your baby out unprotected during the hottest part of the day. Instead, make sure he gets a little sunshine before 10am or after 3pm.



  5. #15
    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    Do any baby foods contain vitamin D?

    Many parents wonder if they can avoid the "sunlight" issue by including more vitamin D in their babies' diets.

    But only a few foods (listed below) contain vitamin D and even they do not contain huge amounts, so it is difficult to meet your baby's needs with diet alone. Another approach is for a breastfeeding mother to increase her OWN vitamin D intake - the amount of vitamin D contained in her breast milk relates directly to the vitamin D levels in her body. Again, though, a mother would need to eat at least 3 servings of oily fish a week to meet her OWN vitamin D requirements. So exposure to sunlight is still a key factor in maintaining the necessary vitamin D levels.

    FOODS THAT CONTAIN VITAMIN D INCLUDE
    fortified milk, cereals, orange juice (not recommended for babies under 1 year of age), egg yolk, cheese, oily fish (like salmon, tuna and mackerel - although king mackerel should be avoided) and fish oils
    mushrooms.




  6. #16
    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is essential for your baby's healthy growth and development. It is used in a multitude of functions throughout the body, including the growth of tissues, healing after wounds and protection against the common cold!

    It's also an important anti-oxidant, which means that it helps protect the body against diseases like cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
    What's more, vitamin C helps your baby effectively absorb iron and calcium from his food. This is why it's a good idea to offer a piece of fruit with every meal!

    A deficiency of vitamin C - which is actually rare in the developed world - can lead to a condition called scurvy, the symptoms of which include pain in the joints, fatigue, bleeding or inflamed gums and - in babies - problems with growth.

    History tells us that British sailors would often develop scurvy as they had few fruits or vegetables in their diets during long voyages. The connection between a lack of fresh produce and the development of scurvy was noted by Dr. James Lind in 1747, so ships later began sailing with an added cargo of limes to keep the sailors' vitamin C levels topped up. That's why the British are sometimes referred to as 'Limeys' to this day!

    How much vitamin C does my baby need?

    Unlike many other mammals, humans are unable to make their own vitamin C. We need to obtain a continuous supply from our diets - our body's inability to store vitamin C means that our levels can easily run low.

    For much of baby's first year, his vitamin C requirements are met by his milk, but as solids begin to take over as his main source of nutrition, then he should eat foods containing vitamin C on a daily basis. A regular, balanced diet is all he needs to reach his RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of vitamin C.

    An important point to remember is that - because the body cannot store vitamin C - there is no merit in offering large quantities of foods rich in vitamin C all in one go. Instead, you should aim to offer your little one small amounts of vitamin C rich foods on a regular basis.



  7. #17
    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    Does my baby need a vitamin C supplement?

    Nothing beats fresh fruit and vegetables as a source of bio-available (easily absorbed) vitamin C. Once solids become your little one's primary nutrition source, offering him a healthy, balanced diet with lots of veggies and fruit should meet all his vitamin C requirements, without the need for additional, synthetic vitamins.

    However, you should always discuss your baby's dietary needs with a medical professional, since there may be other factors affecting his vitamin requirements.

    For example, some pediatricians will recommend a vitamin supplement for a baby who was born prematurely, or for a baby with a medical condition. Vitamin supplementation may also be required for older babies who are 'picky eaters' - possibly refusing fruits and vegetables and no longer consuming enough breast milk or formula to support their needs.

    Of course, the best way to avoid this situation is to introduce your little one to a broad range of fruits and vegetables from the outset, thereby establishing a healthy eating pattern and helping baby develop a sophisticated palate.


    Sources of vitamin C

    All fruits and veggies contain vitamin C, but some are better than others!

    Here are two groups of foods - the first list contains the best sources of vitamin C and the second list shows other foods that have a slightly lower vitamin C content but that are still useful sources. Some parents choose to avoid or delay the introduction of those marked with an asterisk (*) until after baby's first birthday...

    The best sources of vitamin C...
    • bell peppers (particularly green ones)
    • citrus fruits*
    • kiwi fruit*
    • tomatoes*
    • broccoli
    • leafy greens
    • potatoes (sweet or white)
    • cantaloupe
    • parsley
    • Other useful sources of vitamin C...
    • blueberries
    • pineapple*
    • winter squash
    • raspberries*
    • cranberries*
    • papaya
    • watermelon
    • mango
    • brussel sprouts
    • cauliflower
    • cabbage
    • turnips
    • zucchini/courgettes
    • asparagus




  8. #18
    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    Brushing Baby's Teeth

    Brushing baby's teeth and paying close attention to his dental care is more important than many parents realize. Keeping your baby's teeth clean may not always be easy - when he clamps his jaws shut, it can be difficult to persuade him to open them - but getting a routine established early in life can make things easier later on!

    Good dental care for babies should start from birth...
    ...when you can gently clean your baby's mouth using a soft, damp washcloth or a piece of damp gauze to remove any milk residue from his gums. Cleaning his mouth at this early stage will help him get accustomed to the whole procedure... meaning that he may not object too much when you introduce a toothbrush later on!

    Once your baby's first teeth begin to appear, then you should begin cleaning them very carefully, at least twice a day. The naturally occurring bacteria in your baby's mouth change sugars from his food (including natural sugars) into acid. The enamel of your baby's teeth may then be attacked by this acid.

    Brushing baby's teeth - why are baby teeth important?

    It is as important to care for your baby's first teeth as it is to care for his permanent teeth when he's older. Yes - his baby teeth will fall out, but in the meantime they serve some important functions...
    Baby teeth are responsible for "reserving" spaces for the permanent teeth to grow into. When baby teeth are lost, it can cause the permanent teeth to shift - and this can cause orthodontic problems as your child grows.

    • Your baby needs his milk teeth in order to learn to speak correctly and clearly.
    • Your baby's milk teeth are necessary for biting and chewing.
    • If your child loses too many baby teeth, it can affect his confidence once he reaches pre-school. Sadly, children can be very unkind when it comes to pointing out differences in others.





  9. #19
    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    Brushing baby's teeth - tips for choosing a toothbrush

    As soon as baby's first tooth erupts, it's time to buy a good toothbrush. The best type to use at first is a long handled brush with a small head. This design makes it easy to reach all areas of your baby's mouth.
    Your baby's toothbrush should have rounded, soft filaments. You should replace it every 10-12 weeks, or sooner if the filaments become splayed.


    Another option is to use a specially designed infant toothbrush that fits over your finger. Some babies seem to prefer this type... but beware! If your baby is a biter, a toothbrush of this type offers your vulnerable finger very little protection!

    As your baby grows and wants to hold the brush himself, then it's a good idea to buy him one with a chunky handle. This will be easier for him to hold - but, of course, you will still need to do the majority of the brushing yourself!

    Brushing baby's teeth - toothpaste and fluoride

    It isn't absolutely essential to use toothpaste to clean your baby's teeth - the brushing action itself is actually the most important part of keeping them clean. If you prefer to use toothpaste, then you should choose one that is designed specifically for infants, because they contain very little - if any - fluoride. In fact, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry guidelines suggest that babies under the age of 2 receive NO fluoride at all.

    Fluoride helps strengthen the enamel of teeth. However, too much of it can cause fluorosis, which is a condition where white spots can appear on the permanent teeth. If you use an adult toothpaste to brush your baby's teeth, which contains the amount of fluoride recommended for adults, you run the risk of him developing fluorosis. This is because babies tend to swallow rather a lot of toothpaste during brushing and are thereby swallowing excess fluoride.



  10. #20
    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    Tips for brushing baby's teeth

    If your baby won't open his mouth when it's time to brush his teeth, then try putting a brush in YOUR mouth - babies love to mimic whatever Mum is doing!

    Open your mouth wide and sing a musical scale (we recommend trying this one in the privacy of your bathroom ONLY!). He will either try to copy your singing - or he will laugh - but either way, he will have opened his mouth!

    Sit your baby in the most comfortable position for both of you - try standing or sitting behind your baby as he looks up. This is an excellent position to adopt, because it makes it very easy to reach all parts of his mouth.

    Be gentle - it isn't necessary to brush firmly at this stage and it may just put your baby off having his teeth brushed altogether!



    Brushing baby's teeth - tips to keep your baby's teeth healthy

    Avoid giving juice to your baby. Almost 90% of US infants drink juice before they are one year of age. Yet whole fruit is far better for your baby and contains the dietary fibre that fruit juice lacks. Giving your baby water is always the healthiest option when he needs extra fluids.
    If you do choose to give fruit juice to your baby, then ensure he drinks it from a sippy cup rather than a bottle. When a baby drinks juice from a bottle, it "pools" around his teeth, which is a common cause of tooth decay in young children.

    Don't put your baby to bed with a bottle of juice or with milk. The natural bacteria in your baby's mouth can react with the lactose contained in milk to form acids that may attack the enamel of your baby's teeth.

    Don't dip your baby's dummy/pacifier into any sweet substance.

    Don't add sugar to your baby's food. He isn't born with a sweet tooth - a preference for sweet foods is something that he learns!

    Clean your baby's teeth extra thoroughly at bedtime! His natural production of saliva decreases during the night, which means that its rinsing action is reduced. This causes harmful bacteria in the mouth to settle more easily on your baby's teeth.

    If you need to give your baby oral medication, you should do it before you brush his teeth, rather than afterwards. Most oral medications for infants contain sucrose (a type of sugar).



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