Infant nutrition

Eating habits which are properly implemented in children can help ensure a healthy lifestyle. As much as food has become our way of life, so have the consequences of abusing it. During a child’s first few years is when they grow and develop the most. During this period, it is important they receive all the vitamins and nutrients they need. If not, many will live with lifelong health problems and reminders. Obesity and tooth decay are the two most common negative outcomes of poor nutrition in children. Children tend to eat the same type of foods and develop the same habits of exercise of those around them.

Parents should regulate the sugar intake, exercise regularly, provide nutritious foods and take responsibility for their nutritional needs and concerns (Ahmed, 1998). Tooth decay is an issue that could easily be prevented and could lead to far worse. Tooth decay in early childhood often stems from over consumption of sweetened milk and juices in infancy, together with lack of regular dental care. Sugary liquids such as these dissolve the enamel from the teeth and causes decay which can lead to infection.

Infection causes pain, which in turn causes disruption in eating and sleeping habits. Many believe they are baby teeth and are not important to the permanent teeth, which is wrong. Permanent teeth begin to develop at the age of six. Once a child is accustomed to a lifestyle, they do not change because they have new teeth. A proper diet and regular dental care should be instilled at a young age. Although baby teeth do not last forever, it is imperative to treat them with care for healthy permanent teeth. Parents must have knowledge of the eating habits of their children.

They should be active in providing nutritious snacks and limiting sugar. Parents should take responsibility of their eating and exercise routines to ensure they are regular and healthy. They should ensure regular medical and dental check-ups and influence children by their choices. Take time to share dinner and eat as a family. By taking these few steps parents can show their children the importance of nutrition. Although food is not the answer to a long life, it is definitely the way to a healthier life.

Proper childhood nutrition lays the stepping-stones to a happy, healthy life (Almedon, 1991). For young infants breast milk is the ideal form of nutrition. It helps to protect the child from cold, ear infections, allergies and several other illnesses. It can lower the risk of atopic disease and allergies. Research has also found it to be effective against autoimmune thyroid diseases, bacterial meningitis, celiac disease and diabetes. Water should be safe and free from pathogens in the preparation of infant foods.

In Western countries tap water is routinely inspected and monitored to ensure that they are free from contamination and microbes. Some health professionals also recommend the use of fruit juices which are an important source of vitamin C for some infants. However the intake should be limited and must not interfere with the intake of breast milk or infant formula. Water used in the preparation of infant formulas must be clean and free from pathogens to ensure the health of the infant. Feeding a toddler can be an overwhelming and frustrating task.

For toddlers high fiber foods, protein rich foods and calcium rich foods are the best eating practices which provide a variety of nutrients and minerals. Fruits and vegetables can be beneficial for toddlers. However compelling children to eat fruits and vegetables is very difficult. However by becoming good examples, parents can ensure that children are eating vegetables. A proper child diet should include eating three meals a day. High sugar and high fat foods should be limited. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats and low fat dairy products should be given to children.

These healthy practices can prevent many medical problems like obesity, osteoporosis and diabetes. It also ensures that children grow to their full potential (Al Kanhal, 1995). Research has shown the potential benefits of breast milk. It has the right quantities of healthy substances like fatty acids, lactose, water and other substances which are vital for a healthy body. Babies who are breast fed are less prone to infections and allergies. This occurs because anti bodies are transferred from the mother to the infant.

Breast milk is also sterile and does not carry the risk of pathogens and disease causing bacteria which come with infant milk products. Plus, a baby can not be allergic to its mother’s milk, whereas a baby could have an allergic reaction to ingredients found in formula. Lastly, breast-feeding strengthens the baby’s jaw and promotes its development. Breast feeding helps protect the physical and psychological health of the infant. Through the practice of breast-feeding, the infant and mother develop an emotional attachment to one another.

The skin-to-skin contact also creates a sense of security for the baby. Nursing becomes more than a way to feed a baby; it is a source of warmth and comfort.


Ahmed F; (1998) Dietary Pattern, Nutrient Intake and Growth of Adolescent School Girls in Urban Bangladesh. Public Health Nutrition. Al-Kanhal MA; (1995) Food Habits During Pregnancy among Saudi Women. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research. Almedom AM (1991) Infant Feeding in Urban Low-Income Households in Ethiopia. Ecology of Food and Nutrition.

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