Monday, September 20, 2010

Biscuits, Ice-Cream and Soft Drinks for Infants?!?

I recently came across an article that both shocked and saddened me!  The study, published in the journal Nutrition & Dietetics found that some very young babies had already been introduced to high fat, high salt and high sugar foods even though experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life.

The study was conducted in Australia and was part of a survey in that country. The researchers tracked 587 women for the first 12 months of their infants' lives through regular phone interviews.  They found that almost one in four mothers had introduced biscuits (sweet cookies) and cakes to their infants by six months of age!  This is just so unfortunate because babies do not need sugary solid foods in their diet at this time.  Not only is it increasing the amount of sugar in their diet, but it is displacing essential nutrients that they would get from breastmilk.  In addition, we have to remember that eating habits developed at a young age are likely to continue for life. Why even give a baby ice cream and cookies when breastmilk (or formula) satisfies all of their taste needs?

Like the U.S., Australia has a increasing rate of childhood obesity. According to the study, up to 20% of children aged 2-3 were found to be overweight or obese in Australia.  Another good reason to get children started off on the right (less sugary) path!

Fortunately, I also think that this is partly just an education issue.  That's why I appreciate all of you ladies who do home child care.  You are so good at educating the parents and caregivers of the children in your care.  With your guidance, they can make decisions about feeding their infants and children that will help them to be healthy and develop healthy eating habits for life! 

I also know that sometimes it can be challenging if you suddenly find yourself caring for an infant when you haven't cared for one in awhile.  If you need a little "refresher" information, please feel free to ask your Wildwood rep., or call the office for a copy of our book called " Feeding Infants: A Guide for Use in the Child Nutrition Programs".  It is full of useful tips and hints!

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