Instructor Rebecca Wilson
February 21, 2011
Nutrition is an integral part of life from birth to death. The nutrition needs of infants and toddlers are a cornerstone for the rest of the growth and strengthening of their bodies and minds. There are specific ways that we can ensure the maximum possible benefits during this period of growth. By focusing on what is most beneficial, and knowing what items need to be avoided, we can give infants and toddlers a nutritional jumpstart into a healthy life. The first thing that is almost universally agreed upon for infants is that breast-feeding is almost always best. The values associated with breast-feeding are numerous. There are several illnesses prevented or minimized such as bacterial infections, diarrhea, respiratory infections and others. Post-neonatal death risk is lowered. Breast-feeding also benefits the baby’s development, improving visual acuity, neurological development, and long-term cardiovascular health (Papalia, Olds, and Feldman, 2008). Breast-feeding is not suggested when the mother has HIV/AIDS or other infectious illnesses. Alcohol and drugs are transferred through breastmilk, as are many prescription medications (Papalia et al, 2008). Formula is a good alternative to breast milk when necessary. Cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and soy milk alone are not suitable for children under 12 months. They do not have the nutritional value that is needed for growth (Post, 2011). A study by the American Society for Nutritional Sciences (Specker, 2004) explains that formula high in calcium and vitamin D can potentially be better for infant bone strength than breast milk or other formulas. Ongoing research is being done to ensure that formula, which has been used for decades, is the most effective nutrition possible when breast milk is not an option. Around six months of age, babies are ready to start expanding their diet beyond just breast milk or formula by...