chapter  6
33 Pages

Nutrition

ByDavid Hall, Jonathan Williams, David Elliman

Breastfeeding should be encouraged as the first choice in infant feeding, but mothers should not be made to feel guilty or inadequate if they elect not to breastfeed their babies. Lactation increases the mother's nutritional requirements and these can be met by eating a healthy and varied diet. The mother's appetite is usually the best guide to her energy needs. Low calorie diets should be avoided because they may affect the nutritional quality of the breast milk. Soya infant formula has a similar nutritional content to that of a cow's milk-based formula. If the family diet is nutritionally sound, the parents should be encouraged to give the baby family foods; the food can be puréed using a food processor, sieve, or spoon and fork. A vegetarian or vegan diet does not preclude normal growth and development, although the more extreme the dietary restriction the greater the risk of poor nutrition.