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LIFECYCLE OF THE FIRST YEAR OF AN INFANT'S LIFE
From the time of birth to 3months an infant develops rapidly. At three months an infant should be capable of holding her head up as her neck muscles develop and grow. The coordination of the eyes, brain and muscles also increases, the infant is also able to recognize and react to recognizable voices. A 6months old infant’s motor skills will have improved and he is able to hold and grab things. Infants of this stage will start to mimic speech and repeat some syllables. The infant should also double his birth weight by the time he reaches this point. From the period of 6-9months after birth is significant in the baby’s development. The infant starts teething and sitting down without help, and also pulling up on furnishings. Most infants are already crawling by 9months and may develop intense separation fretfulness at this stage. From 9-12months infants make speedy progress, by regularly learning and experimenting new things daily. At one year old, an infant will have most likely taken his first steps and also spoken his first words. Infants of this age have a clearer understanding of their surroundings and frequently attempt to imitate their parents’ behavior. An infant’s growth is not only fast but the amount of energy that they have is usually remarkably high, the energy level is twice that of an adult. NUTRITIONAL CHALLENGES
Throughout infancy, recurrent or prolonged infections and insufficient intake of nutrients mainly energy, protein, vitamin A, zinc, and iron intensify the effects of foetal growth retardation. Most growth wavering, resulting in underweight occurs within a moderately short period from before birth to 2 years of age. Under nutrition in infants has serious consequences including severe illnesses, such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. (Crozier, 2009) A mixed and balanced diet protects infants from all deficiency diseases. An infant’s diet should be balanced with particular carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins, fats and minerals, to enable them to carry out their every day physical functions. Once infants are introduced to cooked or solid food, parents should come up with ways to balance proteins, carbohydrates and fats. (Krause, 2004) MACRONUTRIENTS PERCENTAGES
Breast milk is composed of 55% fat, 38% carbohydrate and 7% protein by calories; it is hence high in fat, modest in carbohydrate and low in protein. A healthy diet for infants should be composed of about 40% carbohydrates, 40 -50% fat and 10% proteins. It is recommended that infants between 0-6 months consume around 60 g of carbohydrates per day, and infants between 7- 12 months consume 95 g of carbohydrates per day. Regular feeding of an infant with breast milk or formula milk will guarantee that the baby gets the recommended amount of nutrients. The most suitable food for an infant is breast milk, it is not contaminated and it has no alteration and it provides nutrients in amounts that are almost correct and in portions that are required by infants (Jacqueline, 2008). It contains proteins that are protective to infant against some infections. Nutritional supplementation begins at this stage .The pattern of the diet changes progressively from exclusive breastfeeding to breastfeeding and solid cooked foods. Supplementation can start with cereals if the food is cooked softly and mashed properly. A well nourished baby doubles the weight he weighed at birth by the time he is 5 months. The recommended dietary allowances for this period are 118kg of energy kilocalorie per day, 2.05grams of protein gram per day, 500mg of Calcium supplement per day and 25ug of Folic acid per day. By 6 months infants start liking cooked food and they are most likely to have already started eating cereals and an array of vegetables and fruits. At 9 and 10 months, different types of meat e.g. chicken, fish, liver can be introduced to the diet. Intake of milk will decrease when solid foods are introduced but if the baby’s milk intake per day is at least 500 ml of and is active and doesn’t lose weight one should not be worried. The recommended dietary allowances for this period are 108kg of energy kilocalorie per day, 1.65grams of protein gram per day, 500mg of Calcium supplement per day and 25ug of Folic acid per day. REFERENCES:
Jacqueline L. (2008). A Guide to Health and Nutrition: “The Gale Encyclopedia of Diets”. Austin.
Mahan K, & Krause S. (2004). Food, Nutrition, and Diet Therapy 11th edition. Philadelphia.
Robinson S, & Crozier S. (2009) The Variations in infant feeding practice. Metab.