The 2009 Infant Feeding Joint Working Group of Canada is the source of this report on nutrition for infants up to six month of age. It results from an intensive search of medical literature.
The report emphasizes the importance of breastfeeding to a child’s health while young and into the future. At the same time, the article recognizes that some parents make carefully thought-out decisions not to breastfeed, and, thus, deserve some direction and guidance. A child’s cognitive health and risk of gastrointestinal infections, acute otitis media, respiratory tract infections and sudden infant death syndrome should be considered. The basic 5 recommendations of the report are as follows:
- Breastfeeding is the natural method by which infants are fed and is not equaled by other methods. The report indicates that infants should be breastfed exclusively for the first six month, except for some medical exceptions. Beyond six months, there is a risk of iron deficiency.
- Rates of breastfeeding are improved when supported by local hospitals and health services.
- For breastfed infants, supplementation with 400 international units of vitamin D is recommended.
- Early supplemental foods should be iron-rich.
- Infant growth patterns should be routinely monitored.
Additional information is included in the full report for infants with colic, gastroesophageal reflux and gastroenteritis, as well as for infants of mothers with infections, on medicines, or on illegal drugs. Advice is given for parents who choose not to breastfeed.
CONCLUSION: …”breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants”, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Infants who are breastfed should receive vitamin D, and early supplemental foods should be iron-rich. Beyond 6 month, iron deficiency is a real possibility.
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