Magazine article Economic Review

Weaning Is the Centre Point

Magazine article Economic Review

Weaning Is the Centre Point

Article excerpt

What finally transpires is that at weaning age an additional food source is needed to bridge the nutritional gap that would otherwise be created if only milk diet was continued. This additional food source is to serve as a supplement to existing milk feeds and is called complementary food or weaning food.

Most paediatricians would spend considerable time in explaining to motherss the benefits and correct method of weaning. Despite efforts weaning as yet remains less clearly understood concept by monthers. Proper infant and child nutrition can dictate the future of an individual to a great extent. The physical and mental development depends upon meeting the nutrition requirements correctly. It does not need too high an intellect to understand the importance of weaning. Weaning concept is both logical as well as scientific. Owing to its criticality a little more exploration would be well in place. - To wean means to become

accustomed to food other than milk. - Weaning is the process whereby in

infant shifts from a purely milk diet to

a normal family diet. - Weaning Period: Weaning should

start at 4-6 months of age and can

continue till 2-3 years of age by which

time the child is seen taking mainly

the adult diet.

Wheat a baby is born all his systems and organs are brand new and, therefore, it is essential that a diet that needs no chewing, is easily swallowed, and is light on the digestive and other systems, be given. Monther's milk is the best food for an infant. It not only provides a complete and balanced nutrition but also protects the new-born from various infections by transferring protective substances called anti-bodies. Milk is, therefore, the diet which is enought to provide all the nutrients fully on its own to cater to first 4-6 months needs of a new-born infant. If mother's milk is not available only adapted infant formula should be given on doctor's advice, cow's milk should be avoided.

Once the baby is 4-6 months of age milk alone is not enough. By this age the baby has almost doubled the birth weight, and, therefore, requires higher quantities of nutrients. This additional load cannot be provided by milk diet alone. If milk feeds alone are continued, even after 6 months of age, then there is a possibility of nutritional deficiency developing as a consequence. At this age infant needs more proteins, iron and other minerals, to maintain the growth and development. As this is the time when the baby is beginning to sit and later crawl, energy needs are also increased for the additional activity.

In the table below the nutrient supply from one litre of milk is compared to the needs (recommended daily allowance) of an infant just over 6 months having an average weight of 6 kg. …

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