Infant Feeding


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Infant Feeding

 

the systematic feeding of infants. There are two kinds of feeding: natural, or breast, feeding and artificial feeding. The milk of another woman may be used in natural feeding, but the mother’s milk is preferable. Mother’s milk contains all the substances necessary for the life and growth of the child. It also has antibodies, which provide the child with a high level of resistance to many infantile infections during the course of breast feeding. Children usually receive breast milk until the age of one year.

Artificial feeding is necessary in cases where the mother has no milk or for various other reasons (an illness of the mother, innate defects of the child’s sucking apparatus, or intolerance on the part of the child to the mother’s milk or to human milk in general, for example). Since human milk differs in composition from animal milk (cow, goat, buffalo, and so on) milk formulas are used which dilute animal milk with rice, oat, or buckwheat broth and have sugar and sometimes cream added (in order to approximate the composition of human milk). In some cases kefir, cottage cheese, and buttermilk are prescribed. In the case of artificial feeding, the milk must be supplemented with vitamins (cod-liver oil and fruit, berry, and vegetable juices).

With artificial feeding it is especially important to monitor weight gain in the child. Additional foods are prescribed after four or five months when the nutritive substances contained in breast milk are no longer sufficient for the child’s correct development. Porridge, fruit and vegetable purees, grated apples, blancmange, pudding, egg yolks, and, after eight months, ground meat are used as supplemental foods. After six months a child may have undiluted cow’s milk or kefir. The dairy industry distributes cow’s milk and milk formulas in powdered form in addition to preserved homogenized fruit and vegetable purees and other types of supplemental foods. The introduction of additional foods and the transition to artificial feeding are to be carried out only with a doctor’s permission.

N. R. SHASTIN

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