The Importance of Nutrition
during the Infancy and Toddler-hood Period
Research will show how children metabolize the nourishment they receive assist their minds reach their full potential later in life. A variation of factors affects how our brains develop from an early age with nutrition and diet being very important. Good nutrition results in healthy physical and mental condition. Consequently, proper nutrition plays a significant role in children’s health and growth, whereas malnutrition can severely hamper a child’s physical and mental development. In the U.S. 200,000 infants born each year with a condition known as “Failure to Thrive" is a term used by pediatricians to describe this condition in which a child has an abnormally low weight for his or her age or has an abnormally low weight gain over time. A main question is whether FTT is a disorder that blocks or interferes with the absorption of nutrients or if it is caused by lower than normal food intake. Parents who make sure their infants are well-nourished benefit their infants emotionally as well as physically. The act of feeding a child is an important emotional interaction between the infant and his or her parent. Especially, when mothers breast-feed their babies, they bond with their child and foster their connection. At the same time, breast milk within the first year reduces the risk of postneonatal death and prevents illnesses, such as diarrhea, respiratory, ear and urinary tract infections. Mothers who breast-feed their babies also benefit their child’s neurological development and cardiovascular health (Papalia, Olds, Feldman, 2008, p.148). Proper nutrition in the neonatal stage can greatly contribute to the child’s development and physical condition. Between the ages of 6 and 12 months it is important that parents feed their children iron-enriched solid foods, such as cereal. Before this age, breast milk or infant formula provides all the nutrition babies require. But by 6...
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