– Your baby weighs less than normal because she can’t digest the diet,
you give to her. Her dietary needs seem to be in the wanting because of
Mother – But doctor, she can’t digest it. I’ve changed her diets several times but nothing seems to work.
Paediatrician – It seems that you need to understand your baby’s nutritional needs to make her healthy.
TODDLERS AND THEIR NEEDS: HOW DO WE FALL SHORT?
the present epoch of development, milestones have been achieved in
medical science. One of the most important achievements is the knowledge
of our own nutritional needs. We don’t need to depend solely on natural
produce to meet our daily nutritional requirements. The conceited
self-sufficiency that we exhibit with regard to food goes all the way to
the birth of an infant. This raises a very interesting question with
respect to the validity of our dependence on nature and its produce. For
newborns, biological mother and mother nature are nearly equivalent.
The warmth sought by infants in their mother’s touch is a memory that
lingers in the core of their very existence. In this emotional
connection and survival logistics, which is better – mother’s milk or a
formula feeding with all the designated nutrients in it? The answer
interestingly enough is something that needs the reader’s own
discretion. Put your thinking caps on and enjoy the journey where
science and nature coexist, co-evolve and compete for dominance.
OPTIONS ON A PLATE, WINNER ON THE SLATE:
endeavouring to tackle the merits and demerits of our nutritional
components, it is important to give a fair introduction about all the
players in the field.
The first player is the most ancient one, mother’s milk.
It provides stiff competition to all the other players. Ma and cinema
are the indispensable entities of an Indian community, which gives an
upper hand to mother. Further, breast feeding is a pivotal bonding
experience between the mother and her baby. Last but not the least, it
is very healthy activity for both mothers and infants which will be
The second player is cow’s milk.
Dairy products are easily available which is a major advantage for
families where mothers are unable to breast feed their babies and who
can’t afford formula feeds.
The third player is soy milk which is a big call for the mothers who are keen to keep their infants on a strict vegetarian diet.
The fourth and last player is a game changer, that is, formula feed.
Mothers are very fussy about their infants not getting all the required
nutrients. Formula feeding is in a way their holy grail that they have
found after centuries of chasing after it. Paediatricians and mothers
discuss the nutritional needs of the new-born and choose the best
formula feed depending on the new-born.
It would definitely be
interesting to know how the competition between the players comes along
especially between the first and the fourth player. Is it nature or
SO MANY CHOICE, SO MANY VOICES – TOO MANY NOISES?
us first eliminate the weak players out of the field to level the
ground for the two arch nemeses. Toddlers are infants in the age group
of 0 to 3 years. Needless to say, toddlers need milk the most and it is
the responsibility of families to ensure that they give the best and
most affordable options to their toddlers.
– Though, milk is considered a complete food but toddlers shouldn’t be
given cow’s milk until they are older than 6 months as they can’t digest
it. It is not the best substitute for mother’s milk but it is still
good enough for toddlers provided that some additional food supplements
are also given.
MERITS OF COW’S MILK:
1. Contains adequate amount of calcium, fats (required for brain development) and vitamin D required for calcium absorption.
2. One glass of cow’s milk is equivalent to 146 calories, 8g protein, 13g carbohydrates and 8g fats mostly saturated fats.
DEMERITS OF COW’S MILK:
1. It doesn’t contain dietary iron.
It contains lactose which poses a grave problem for toddlers with
lactose intolerance (inability to digest lactose) which causes gas,
bloating, abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
– Soy contains absolutely no animal product so it has a huge fan
following among the devoted vegetarians. It contains both calcium and
vitamin D. It is recommended to be given to toddlers along with vitamin
C. One cup of soy milk contains 100 calories, 7g of protein, 4g of sugar
and 4g of fat (mostly unsaturated).
It has a major disadvantage of containing phytates which interfere with calcium absorption of toddlers.
– An important effect of cow’s milk and soy milk is their behavior as
allergens. Dairy milk and soy are included in the 8 most common
allergens list. Whenever either of the milk is given to a toddler for
the first time, it is essential to keep a close watch on them. If any of
the following symptoms is observed in the toddler, consult a
paediatrician immediately. The symptoms include abdominal pain,
diarrhoea, vomiting, rashes, hives, and if the allergy is serious,
wheezing, facial swelling or difficulty in breathing is observed.
THE SUPERIORITY OF NATURE OVER NURTURE:
– Mother’s milk enjoys undiminished popularity since time immemorial.
First, we need to know what makes mother’s milk such a divine aspect in a
toddler’s life and what makes formula feeding occupy a niche despite
the unwavering importance of mother’s milk.
highly esteemed WHO has stated that toddlers should be given mother’s
milk for 6 months exclusively. Afterwards, solid food should be infused
with mother’s milk according to the recommendation of the paediatrician.
Mothers are advised to eat a healthy diet, avoid alcohol (since traces
of alcohol can be transferred to the toddler via mother’s milk), an
adequate intake of fluids and proper rest are extremely essential.
3) Formula feeding should be avoided while providing mother’s milk as it can disrupt the breast feeding and affect milk supply.
ADVANTAGES OF MOTHER’S MILK:
a. It provides natural antibodies that help your baby resist illnesses, such as ear infections.
b. It’s usually more easily digested than formula. So breastfed babies are often less constipated and gassy.
c. It may lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in the first year of your baby’s life.
d. It may raise your child’s intelligence. Studies show breastfed babies have higher levels of cognitive function.
Mother’s milk may even help your child in later years, by reducing
the risk of being overweight, and of developing asthma, type 1 and type 2
diabetes, high cholesterol, Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, and lymphoma
Breastfeeding is good for moms, too. Women who breastfeed have a
reduced risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis,
and ovarian cancer.
g. It is a wonderful bonding experience between mothers and toddlers
h. Mother’s milk contains more fats mostly omega 3 fatty acids which is necessary for brain development
i. It causes no allergy in a toddler
It changes over time to adapt with the growing toddler’s
nutritional needs. For instance, in the second year of nursing, mother’s
milk meets 38% of the toddler’s protein needs.
FORMULA FEED –
If a mother can’t breast feed due to some reason, she consults with her
toddler’s paediatrician and prepares a formula feeding according to the
dietary needs of her toddler.
ADVANTAGES OF FORMULA FEED:
1. It’s convenient. Formula-fed babies can be fed by anyone at any time.
2. It’s flexible. You can simply leave formula for your babysitter or day care centre.
3. Your partner can help out with night time feedings and share that bonding experience with your baby.
Scheduling feedings may be easier. Formula isn’t digested as quickly
as breast milk, so formula-fed babies don’t need to eat as often,
especially in the first few months.
5. You don’t have to worry
about what you eat. Moms who breastfeed may have to avoid certain foods
that her baby can’t tolerate.
6. You can have a glass of wine
or a cocktail once in a while. Alcohol is a no-no for women who
breastfeed because they pass on tiny amounts of it to their babies
Mother’s milk doesn’t contain sufficient vitamin D which is required
for bone formation but formula has sufficient vitamin D
1. All formulas meet legal requirements to support growth and nutrition for toddlers
2. Brand is not a major concern as all contain fat, protein, carbohydrates
3. Don’t change formula unless the toddler is not gaining weight or is having recurrent sickness and diarrhoea
4. Standard infant formula:
· Whey dominant formula/Stage I
· Casein dominant formula/Stage II
· Follow on milk
· Goodnight milk
· Pre-term formula
· Thickened formula
5. There are specialized formula such as:
· Lactose free
· Lactose reduced
· Probiotic and prebiotic infant formula
· Soy formula
· Protein hydrosylate
6. Formulas are of 3 types: powder, concentrated liquid and ready to feed liquid. Powdered form is most preferable as:
· Least costly
Low in BPA (Bisphenol A) – BPA is the protective lining in metal
based food cans including infant formula which can cause ADHD, diabetes
7. Points to note while choosing a formula:
· Check for the nutritive ingredients that are provided in your baby milk powder pack.
· Observe the child whether he or she is able to digest the alternative source of milk efficiently.
· Maintain same brand of milk powder for your infant.
· It is advisable to consult your paediatrician to get suitable formulated baby milk powder for your child.
· Choose Soy based baby formula milk powders for your baby.
· If any allergy persists to your child consult paediatrician immediately.
· Mix the milk powder and water as directed in the pack to get the good consistency of the milk
CLASH OF THE NUTRIENTS
the players of the game is more important than knowing the rules of the
game as all players don’t always follow the rules. Depending on the
financial as well as social situation of the family, a joint decision
should be taken to decide what’s best for the baby. It is extremely
important to ensure what the baby can digest and how much the baby can
digest. The consequence of the aforementioned facts is simply to know
what the baby needs, that is, the baby’s nutritional needs. Beyond that,
it’s just a choice that needs to be taken irrespective of the family’s
preferences. Another important point to be noted is that no single diet
for the infant is 100% efficient and needs of every infant differs.
Hence, an unbiased perspective is required while choosing the diet of a
Notice your toddlers