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Nutrition and Baby Care


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


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

    Here are some common frequently asked questions and infos. This will be useful for all the new moms.

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    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    Giving Water To Baby - Is It Necessary?

    Experts agree that giving water to baby is unnecessary - and may even be harmful - before 6 months of age. But for babies older than 6 months, medical opinion is a little more divided!

    Why is giving water to baby harmful before 6 months?

    A baby may "fill up" on water, resulting in him taking less breastmilk or formula. This then deprives him of the nutrients essential for healthy growth and development.

    Too much water can stop your young baby's body from absorbing the nutrients it needs from milk. It can also lead to an imbalance of electrolytes.

    BREASTFED BABIES

    If your baby is exclusively breastfed, there is simply no need to give him extra water, even in very hot conditions. It is, of course, important to increase your own water intake and to nurse your baby frequently

    FORMULA FED BABIES

    Formula milk is over 80% water, so again, additional water is unnecessary for the first 6 months.

    Giving water to baby - 6 months+

    The general consensus here seems to be that, although it is not essential, introducing a little water after 6 months of age is not harmful to your baby. Many parents like to give water after solid foods, particularly high protein foods like meat and eggs. If you are considering giving water to baby at this stage, remember to check first with his health care provider.

    There are certain circumstances where extra water might be a good idea - if baby is constipated, for example, or has diarrhea. In either case, seek medical advice before offering water to your infant.

    IS IT POSSIBLE TO GIVE A BABY TOO MUCH WATER?

    Yes - it can lead to a condition called water intoxication.


    Giving water to baby - when should I introduce a cup?

    Many parents introduce water to their babies for the express purpose of teaching them to use a cup!

    A baby can usually drink from a sippy cup from around 6-7 months and by one year of age he can often manage the cup by himself.




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

    When can baby have juice?

    It's a common question, yet giving baby juice is not as healthy for him as many parents believe.

    While fruit juice may offer some benefits to your baby's diet, there are some aspects of giving juice to your baby that are not so beneficial... despite what the baby juice manufacturers will tell you!

    Giving baby juice before 6 months of age

    Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the UK Foods Standards Agency state that you should not give your baby juice before he is at least 6 months of age.

    Up to this stage, he is getting all the nutrients he needs for healthy growth and development from breastmilk/formula. Feeding baby juice can make him feel full and cause him to accept less milk, which will deprive him of these essential nutrients.




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    divyakannan is offline Friends's of Penmai
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    Re: Nutrition and Baby Care

    The Dangers of Adding Salt to Baby Food

    Health professionals advise against adding salt to baby food - but have you ever wondered why? And could you already be including too much salt in your baby's diet without realizing?

    Why too much salt is dangerous

    The human body needs some salt in order to function correctly. Salt cannot be reproduced by the body, so a little salt is a necessary part of our daily diet.
    But a baby's salt requirements are VERY small (less than 1g per day up to the age of 12 months) - and these needs are met by his breastmilk or formula.

    His kidneys are simply not equipped to process more salt than this - meaning that adding salt to baby food can lead to serious kidney damage. There have even been extreme situations in which babies have died as a result of consuming too much salt.

    There is also growing evidence that consuming too much salt from an early age can lead to high blood pressure in later life - particularly in families with a history of hypertension.



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

    Whole Milk and Fats For Baby

    You often hear that you should not restrict the amount of fats in your baby's diet and should give him whole milk - yet for adults, the recommendations are quite the opposite! So why is fat so important in your baby's diet?

    This is because your baby grows very rapidly during this period. On average, babies actually triple their birth weight and grown an amazing 10 inches in length by their first birthday!

    In order to support this tremendous rate of growth, babies need lots of calories. They get these calories from fat.

    Fats are also essential for the development of your baby's brain - after all, 60% of the brain and the sheaths surrounding the nerves are actually composed of fat!

    Clearly, the nutritional needs of an infant are quite different to those of an adult - making the low-fat and low-cholesterol diets recommended for adults often unsuitable for children under 2 years of age.

    Remember - babies have tiny stomachs.

    In order for their nutritional requirements to be met, the foods you give them need to be "calorie rich" - meaning that they must supply enough calories within a small volume of food.

    Initially, your baby's fat requirements are met by either breast milk or formula. But once you have introduced him to solid foods, then it is important that any dairy products you give him are made with whole milk. These will provide the extra fats that his body needs, as well as supplying additional calcium.

    Did you know that the lactic acid in yogurt actually aids calcium absorption? That means that your baby will absorb more calcium from yogurt than he would from the same volume of milk!

    When should my baby drink cow's milk?

    Don't give your baby cow's milk as a main drink before his first birthday. This is because it is too low in iron to meet your baby's needs. Sometimes, the protein in cow's milk can trigger an allergic reaction - please see our Milk Allergy In Baby page for more information.

    Once your baby is one year of age, you can give him cow's milk as a main drink (source: MedlinePlus).



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

    Baby Nutrition Table - The Foods Your Baby Needs

    This simple table shows the elements required for balanced baby nutrition and lists the foods you need to include in your little one's diet.

    This table is a useful guide after your baby reaches about 10 months of age - by this time he will have been introduced to the various food groups mentioned and he will rely more completely on solid foods for his dietary needs.


    What He Needs Benefits Good Sources For Baby
    Vitamins Help the body to absorb food and use it effectively. Also help the immune system. Fresh fruits and vegetables
    Minerals Needed to ensure that the vital organs function properly. Also regulate the body's water balance. Breastmilk/formula, eggs, cereals, meat and green, leafy vegetables
    Proteins
    Help the body to grow and to repair itself. Poultry, meat, grains, dairy products, eggs and legumes
    Carbohydrates
    Provide the energy needed to maintain bodily functions Breastmilk/formula, whole grains, pasta, potatoes, beans, legumes, dairy products and fruit
    Fats
    Store energy for the body Breastmilk/formula, vegetable oils

    Good baby nutrition is essential for healthy growth and development, but these recommendations apply equally to the rest of the family - particularly when your baby begins to enjoy the family meals. So use some of the food sources listed here to create some healthy meals for you all to enjoy.



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

    Protein and Your Baby's Diet

    Protein plays a very important part in your baby's growth and development - so let's take a closer look at this valuable nutrient and tell you more about the best sources of protein for your little one.

    What exactly IS protein - and how is it used by the body?

    The easiest way to describe protein is as a 'chain' of amino acids that are linked together.

    The human body needs 22 amino acids, but is only able to make 13 of them. The other nine must come from food and are known as 'Essential Amino Acids'.

    When your baby eats food containing protein, it is digested in his stomach and absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract.

    The amino acids into which it is broken down are then used in a multitude of functions throughout his body - in skin, hair, bone, muscle and just about every tissue - and the body also uses protein to produce hemoglobin that carries oxygen in his blood.

    How much protein does my baby need?

    Infancy is, of course, a time of rapid growth and development - so it is important to ensure that your little one receives enough protein to support this growth.

    However, protein deficiency in the developed world is very rare and a sensible, balanced diet provides all the protein that the human body requires. The fact is that most people consume more protein than their bodies actually need!

    It is important to remember that your baby's primary source of nutrition throughout his first year is breast milk or formula - from which he will receive protein.

    Once solid foods are introduced - and your baby's consumption of breast milk / formula begins to decrease - then you should slowly begin to offer him a balanced diet containing legumes, cereal, vegetables, eggs, dairy etc which will provide plenty of protein.

    You should not, however, give your baby a high-protein diet unless specifically advised to do so by a medical professional.

    The reason for this is that the human body does not store excess protein. Instead, the body breaks it down, producing by-products that must be eliminated via the urine.

    This process puts a great deal of strain on your baby's immature kidneys.

    This is why it is best to serve high protein foods (like meat) in combination with other foods, rather than serving larger quantities alone.

    Remember - because your baby's body does not store protein, a little is needed every day. That's why it is preferable to offer small amount of foods containing protein on a daily basis, rather than offering large amounts all at once.

    As a basic guide...

    If your baby's growth rate is normal (which your pediatrician will confirm using growth charts), then he is generally receiving adequate amounts of protein.

    What are complete and incomplete proteins?

    Complete proteins (also known as whole proteins) contain all nine of the 'Essential Amino Acids' that we mentioned earlier in this article.
    Incomplete proteins contain some - but not all - of these Essential Amino Acids. As you'll see from the protein sources listed below, most animal sources of protein are complete.

    Whilst certain plant sources of food contain complete proteins, most do not.

    So does this mean that babies following a vegetarian diet are at risk of protein deficiency?

    No - because it's possible for baby to receive all the amino acids he needs from a variety of sources of incomplete proteins. In other words, the amino acids lacking in one food will be compensated by those present in another.

    Combining two or more sources of incomplete proteins will make up a complete protein, providing baby with all the amino acids he needs.

    Experts used to believe that - in order to effectively combine various incomplete proteins to provide the full component of Essential Amino Acids - those following a vegetarian diet should eat a variety of plant sources at one meal.



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

    Calcium Sources For Your Baby

    This helps you discover the best calcium sources for your baby and learn more about your baby's calcium requirements.

    Why your baby needs calcium, Contrary to popular belief, calcium isn't JUST good for the bones - it actually plays an important part in lots of functions of the human body. In fact, it is the most abundant mineral in our bodies, with over 99 per cent stored in our bones and teeth and the rest stored in other parts of the body, including muscles, blood and the fluid in between cells, where it acts as a 'messenger' for the central nervous system.

    Throughout life, our bones undergo a lot of changes! From birth, then throughout childhood and adolescence, a great deal of bone formation takes place.

    A lack of calcium in infancy can lead to rickets, a conditions where the bones soften and may become deformed or may break easily.

    Our bodies continue to add bone mass until the age of 30, when we achieve 'peak bone mass'. After that, things may begin to go downhill as our bones start to break down (this is known as resorption). As we age, the rate of resorption exceeds the rate of formation - and this leads to bone loss.

    Building strong bones from infancy, therefore, not only protects against rickets but also plays a huge part in delaying bone loss in later life.

    A lack of calcium is also believed to contribute to diseases like hypertension, kidney disease, heart disease and - possibly - cancer of the colon.

    How much calcium does my baby need?

    If you've ever searched for the answer to this question before, you may have been baffled by figures ranging from 210mg (milligrams) per day for babies from 0-6 months and 270 mg per day for babies from 6-12 months - to the higher figures of 600mg per day for 6-12 month infants.

    So why the difference?

    Well, the lower set of figures was established for breast fed babies - and the higher set for those babies receiving formula (more about that later). There are also small differences in recommendations from one country to another.

    Calcium sources for baby - is milk enough?

    Milk - either breast milk or formula - meets your baby's nutritional needs for much of his first year... and that includes his calcium requirements.

    Breast milk is actually lower in calcium than formula - but that's because the calcium in breast milk is much more 'bioavailable' to your baby (which means it's more easily absorbed). Because calcium from formula is LESS easily absorbed, then its concentration has to be greater (this is also true of the iron levels in breast milk and formula).

    And the good news is that breast milk always contains the right amount of calcium for baby - even if Mum does not have enough in her diet.

    Incidentally, babies have a wonderful capacity for absorbing calcium (around 60% of available calcium), precisely because it's so important for the formation of their bones. Sadly, this capacity for absorption decreases with age.

    Calcium sources - solid foods

    Towards the end of baby's first year, solid foods begin to replace milk as his main source of nutrition. It's at this point - then throughout childhood and beyond - that you need to ensure the foods you give your little one provide enough calcium to meet his needs.




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

    • Good calcium sources for your baby

      Milk remains a good source (but by no means the ONLY source) of calcium throughout life. Calcium from milk is easily absorbed and milk products are generally popular with children.
      • Soy milk
      • Cheese
      • Yogurt
      • Blackstrap molasses
      • black eyed peas

      lentils

    • broccoli
    • okra
    • salmon
    • cottage cheese
    • oranges (1 year+)
    • calcium-fortified orange juice
    • calcium-fortified cereal
    • chickpeas/garbanzo beans
    • raisins
    • prunes
    • amaranth
    • parsley


    It is also possible to derive calcium from hard water if you live in a hard water area.

    How to help your baby absorb the calcium from his food

    Offering calcium-rich foods is one part of influencing your baby's calcium levels, but there are other factors that affect just how much calcium your baby absorbs.

    His body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium efficiently (you can read more about making sure your baby gets enough vitamin D here)
    Don't give too many calcium-rich foods at one meal. It seems like this would be the natural thing to do, doesn't it, yet the amount of calcium absorbed from the digestive tract GOES DOWN as the amount of calcium consumed at one meal INCREASES. Instead, offer small amounts of calcium-rich foods on a regular basis.

    Some plants contain substances called oxalic and phytic acids. These bind to the calcium contained in the plant, preventing it from being properly absorbed by the body (please note, though, that they only bind the calcium from the plant itself and do NOT affect the calcium absorption from other foods consumed along with it). Examples of foods containing oxalic or phytic acids are rhubarb, collard greens, spinach, sweet potatoes, beans, whole grain bread, seeds and nuts.




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

    How the body loses calcium?

    The human body loses calcium in the urine, in sweat and in faeces. Too much sodium (salt) in the diet increases the amount of calcium that the body loses.

    Another problem can be consuming too much protein. When protein is digested by the body, acids are released into the bloodstream. Your body neutralizes these acids by drawing on calcium from the bones. Protein from animal sources is believed to cause more leaching of calcium than protein derived from vegetable sources.


    Calcium and the vegetarian/vegan baby

    Some sources suggest that babies on a vegetarian diet may be at risk of reduced calcium levels, because they may eat more of the plants containing oxalic and phytic acids that we referred to above.
    On the plus side, however, the reduced calcium absorption from these plants may well be balanced by the fact that vegetarian babies do not consume as much protein (particularly, of course, meat protein) as their meat-eating counterparts. This results in less of the leaching of calcium from the bones associated with the digestion of protein.

    Still, it's a good idea to discuss the requirements of your vegetarian baby with your child's doctor.

    Babies on a vegan diet may be at risk of low calcium levels because they do not consume dairy products. It's important, therefore, to ensure that the diet of a vegan baby contains lots of alternative calcium sources from the list above. Again, you should consult your doctor to ensure that your baby is receiving enough calcium in his diet.

    4 quick ways to increase your baby's calcium intake on a regular basis

    1. Offer him yogurt, either mixed with his favourite fruit puree or as a delicious dip with fruit or veggie sticks.
    2. Sprinkle grated cheese on to cooked veggies, pasta and soup. Offer your little one fingers of cheese on toast (grilled cheese) and offer pieces of cheese as a finger food.
    3. If your older baby refuses to drink milk, try freezing it to make milk lollies (popsicles) - they're far more tempting! Add some fruit puree for extra flavour!
    4. Stir milk into mashed potatoes, make milky puddings and - if you use any types of instant cereal - make them with milk instead of water.




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