MEAL PLANNING FOR INFANT
The child in the first year is referred to as an infant . The first year of life is a period of intense growth and development. With the rapid growth taking place the infant doubles its birth weight in five months and by one year the weight is three times the birth weight.
Because of this extremely fast rate of growth /development infancy is a period of great stress for the baby. Obviously ,diet plays an important role in promoting growth and general well being. If enough food is not provided to the infant , he would be susceptible to the effects of malnutrition.
It is clear that the nutrient requirement is considerably high during infancy. You know that the first food normally given to the infant is breast milk .Breast milk supplies all the nutrients needed by the baby for the first few months. It is the best food for the baby.but after four to six months , breast milk alone is not sufficient to meet the growing needs of the infant.
Points one should keep in mind while planning meal for the infant
Whom are we planning for ?
1. What is the stage of infancy – 0-4 months, 4-6 months , 6-8 months or 9-12 months?
What is the expected body weight of the infant at that particular age ?
3. what is the income level of the family to which the infant belongs?
4. where does the infant live(religion).
Which are the nutrients of particular importance?
The need for the following nutrients is considerable during infancy :
1. energy- giving nutrients(carbohydrates and fats)
5. vitamin A and
6. vitamin C
Which foods to select ?
During the first few months after birth, breast milk alone provides most of the nutrients required by the baby . Thereafter in addition to breast milk, one should introduce supplementary foods.
* Any food other than breast milk given to the infant is referred to as a supplement or supplementary food.