Infants should get more than eighty kilocalorie/kg/day and experts advise to give breast milk to infants below the age of one year. Infants should not be given formulae cow’s milk before the age of one year because it can cause allergies and bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. Although breast milk is best for the infants, the nutritional requirement of infants of five to sixth month's old increases and breast milk may not be sufficient to satisfy the needs of the infants.
After four months, infants need extra calcium for the growth of the bones and teeth, and as the baby tries to move on the legs and hands, she may need extra minerals. After six months, the infants can be given food items, which can provide calories, vitamins, minerals and fats, needed for growth of infants. The milk formula should be limited to one third of the total calorie intake in a day.
Allergy causing food items
1. Cow's milk
5. Citrus fruits
7. Wheat and soy products
8. Food additives and preservatives
Symptoms of food allergies: Infants may suffer from vomiting, sneezing, skin allergies, runny nose and asthma from the food products that cause allergies. Kids suffering from allergy from cow's milk should be given rice milk or soy milk.
The importance of breast feed: Breast feeding reduces illness in infants. Breast feed boosts the immunity level of the children and helps in fighting infections. Many infections such as respiratory tract infections, ear infections and gastrointestinal infections can be reduced in kids, who take mother's feed.
The immune systems of the mother's milk, who delivered pre-term baby is higher than the milk of mother, who delivered on time. Breast milk also aids in the intellectual development of the children and it can fight against diarrhoea and middle ear infections.
In the first six months
1. Only mother's milk can be given.
2. Juices and water is not needed by the breast fed infants (In hot climatic conditions, small quantity of water can be given).
3. Nutrition is needed to stay healthy and regular check up is required to find out if the infant is growing properly.
4. Care should be taken to find out if the infant is digesting the feeds properly.
5. A baby gets eight to fifteen percent protein, thirty to fifty percent fats and about forty percent carbohydrate from mother's feed.
After six months
1. The baby should be given food supplements after six months.
2. Only one type of food should be given at one time to prevent allergic reaction.
3. The food should not choke the baby and it should be in liquid form initially.
4. Rice can be given after six months and other forms of cereals such as wheat, oats or barley should be given only after seven to eight months, when the baby finds it easy to digest.
5. Mashed bananas and fruits can be given.
6. Egg or fish can be given only after nine to ten months.
7. Yoghurt can be given after six months.
8. Supplements of minerals and vitamins can be given on the advice of a physician.
9. Babies should not be overfed and should be given food when hungry. Babies should not be forced to finish the food.
10. Babies should be given food high in fat in the first two years.
11. Babies should not be given food high in sugar or salt. Sugar is linked to tooth decay.