A correct diet is one that provides an adequate amount of nutrients, in moderate proportions, perfectly adapted to the development stage of the child. A healthy and adequate diet providing for the body needs is the key to ensuring a smooth growth and development, but also mental, emotional and affective. A balanced diet plays a crucial role in improving quality of life, maintaining good health and increasing the average duration of life.
Diet for infants under 4 months
In the first 4-6 months of life, experts recommend adopting a diet based mainly (if not exclusively) on breast milk (breastfeeding), or milk supplemented formula with nutrients to adapt to the body needs.
Breastfeeding is done, either on demand (babies cry or become anxious when they are hungry) or every 2-4 hour (8-12 times / day). By the 4th month of the post-natal life, breastfeeding will be gradually reduced to 4-6 / day, but overall, the amount of milk they consume will increase. Infants fed with milk formula will be fed 6-8 times / day, starting with 60-150 grams of product at every meal (making a total of 480-1050 grams during the day). As with breastfeeding, feeding will be gradually reduced, but the amount consumed each time increases to about 180-240 grams.
Experts recommend feeding babies with breast milk – the feeding itself comes with certain benefits, both for the child and the mother
- Ensuring a diverse and perfect proportions of nutrients (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins);
- It is easy to digest and can be entirely assimilated by the body;
- Promotes immune system function, infants will have lower risk of developing infections such as ear infections, colds, flu, which, if they occur, will be less severe;
- Breastfed baby is less likely to become overweight or obese.
Solid and semi-solid foods can be introduced into the infant diet since the 4th month, but parents need to be cautious about the type. Honey is not recommended to be early introduction in the diet, as there is a risk that some microorganisms contain spores that can cause botulism, a disease with severe consequences on the immune system of an infant. Also, the infant diet must be strictly controlled in terms of salt content as the baby kidney is not yet able to regulate salt and water balance of the body. Sugar shall neither he introduced at this age, most carbohydrates are preferred to be made from plants, namely fruits.
Mother should pay special attention to nutrition, both in terms of the number of feedings, as well as giving the necessary milk quantity at each feed. Sometimes, the baby is not feeding well during the day, or is underweight, and must be awakened during the night to be fed. Parents are advised to take regular medical examination of the baby, in order to objectively assess its development, weight and waist gain.
If the baby is not gaining weight, becoming underweight for its age, the doctor advises the mother a certain diet including various nutritional supplements as needed, or to increase the frequency of feedings by nocturnal awakening.
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