Pediatric diet formula food vs traditional food

  • By Suman Singh

According to the World Health Organisation, it is unnecessary to give your baby rice cereals at the age of four months as breast milk can provide all the nourishment a baby needs in the first year. No other solid food is required. Breast milk has all the nutrients like fats, protein, cholesterol, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals which are required in the first year of life. According to most studies,formula foods are not the healthiest option to begin solid foods on. Doctors prefer that babies be given boiled vegetables and mashed fruits like bananas and not formula cereals that contain simple carbohydrates.

It is not a good idea to give babies processed and refined foods that are found in all formula foods. Formula foods do have nutrients, but they are not as easy to absorb as nutrients from foods prepared at home. You can also ensure quality in food that is prepared at home. Formula foods cannot imitate the natural taste of foods. Babies like to choose foods according to taste just like the adults and you can give them a wide variety of choices like offering them different fruits and vegetables rather than the similar tasting formula.

You will be surprised to know that mother's milk has the taste of the foods she eats and so babies develop taste for a variety and may like the insipid taste of formula.

Another reason why formula foods may not work that well is that they contain cereals. However, the enzymes that are required to digest carbohydrates are not fully developed in babies until they are more almost three years old. Cereals and breads are very difficult for babies to digest. Undigested grains can throw off the balance of bacteria in the gut and this is the reason for a lot of digestive issues once they are grown up.

Solids should not be introduced until six months of age, as studies now reveal that if solid foods are given early on then it increases the likelihood of allergies, especially of those foods introduced. Babies produce only few enzymes and digestive juices that are mainly required to digest protein and fats. This is because mother’s milk has 50 to 60% healthy fat which is a must for the babies’ mental and physical growth.

Most baby infant nutritionists feel that formula feed is not a complete food. Babies will get deficiency,such as iron, as it is difficult to absorb them from formula foods.

The debate continues as many feel that the marketing gimmicks are what selling these foods and not the nutritional value they provide to babies.

A note of caution, excessive amount of juices are harmful for babies as these can lead to obesity.


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