Infant Stage

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Stage: Infants
(First Year of Life)

Introduction/Nutrient Needs of an Infant:

Once spending time with babies you will recognize that they grow and change right before your eyes. Infant is a child in the first year of life. During the first year of life most infants will learn to sit up, cut teeth, crawl, walk, begin to communicate verbally, and triple in body weight. This stage is extremely important because at no other time in a child’s life will they again experience such rapid growth and development. This makes good nutrition key in ensuring that growth and development proceeds optimally. Infants require all essential vitamins and minerals, followed by adequate amounts of proteins and calories. They need relatively large amounts of vitamins to support this rapid growth. The muscles, bones, and other tissues grow and develop at dramatic rates. A healthy baby’s length will increase by one-half. Meaning 7-pound, 20 inch newborn will be at least a 21 pound, 30 inch 12 month old.

Infants are active so they have proportionately greater nutritional needs than adults. Meaning children require more of each nutrition per pound of body weight. An example of this would ne an infant weighing at 15 pounds and the adult weighing at 150 pounds. The infant needs about 14 milligrams of calcium per pour of body weight, and the adult only need about 6.7 milligrams per pound of body weight. If the infant is born to healthy women who consumed adequate amounts of iron during pregnancy should have iron stored in their bodies. This stored iron should be enough to last until the infants are able to start eating iron-fortified cereals. Another concern is that they need high-quality protein to support the growth of muscles and other body tissues. A sufficient supply of calcium and phosphorous is essential for the development of teeth and bones. If the mother is able, breastfeeding is the preferred source of nutrition for the first six months of a baby’s life. While the baby develops the physical skills necessary to eat solid foods, simple foods can be introduced slowly and continued breastfeeding can fill nutritional gaps.

Energy

Infants need energy from food for activity, growth, and normal development. Energy comes from foods containing carbohydrate, protein, or fat. The number of kilocalries needed per unit of a persons body weight expresses energy needs. A kilocalorie is a measure of how much energy a food supplies to the body. An infant’s energy or caloric requirement depends on many factors, including body size and composition, metabolic rate, physical activity, size at birth, age, sex, genetic factors, energy intake, medical conditions, ambient temperature, and growth rate. Infants are capable of regulating their intake of food to consume the amount of calories they need. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) expert report on energy and protein requirements states: The energy requirement of an individual is a level of energy intake from food that will balance energy expenditure when the individual has a body size and composition and level of physical activity, consistent with long-term good health; and that would allow for the maintenance of economically necessary and socially desirable physical activity. In children and pregnant or lactating women the energy requirement includes the energy needs associated with the deposition of tissues or the secretion of milk at rates consistent with good health.

Daily Nutrient Requirements for Infants

|Nutrient |Birth to 6 Months |6 to 12 Months | |Protein (grams/kilogram) of baby's weight|13 g |14 g | |Vitamins | |Vitamin A [micrograms (ug)] |375 |375...
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