Complementary Feeding in Paediatrics

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12 Questions

What is the primary reason for introducing complementary foods to an infant's diet?

To meet the infant's evolving nutritional requirements

According to the WHO, how long should exclusive breastfeeding last?

Six months

What percentage of infants in the UK receive solid foods before six months of age?

54%

What is a sign of developmental readiness for introducing complementary foods?

The ability to sit upright and support their head without assistance

What is the recommended age range for breastfeeding while introducing complementary foods?

Six months to two years

Why is it important to have individualized feeding plans for infants?

Because of developmental readiness, cultural, socio-economic, and lifestyle factors

What is the recommended age for introducing solid foods to an infant's diet?

Six months of age

What is the primary goal of responsive or cue-based feeding?

To allow the infant to self-regulate their food intake

Which of the following foods is NOT a type of complementary food?

Dairy products

What should healthcare professionals consider when advising parents and caregivers on complementary feeding practices?

The infant's developmental readiness, individual needs, and cultural, socio-economic, and lifestyle factors

What is the benefit of introducing peanut-containing foods to high-risk children at four months of age?

Decreasing the frequency of peanut allergy

What is the primary reason for introducing complementary foods to an infant's diet?

To ensure the infant receives adequate nutrition

Study Notes

Complementary Feeding in Paediatrics

Complementary feeding is the introduction of solid foods to an infant's diet in addition to breast milk or infant formula. This process is essential for meeting an infant's evolving nutritional requirements, as breast milk alone may not provide all the necessary nutrients for growth and development after six months of age. The timing, type, and method of introducing complementary foods are crucial for ensuring optimal nutrition and development in infants.

Timing of Introduction

The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months of age, followed by the introduction of complementary foods while breastfeeding continues until the age of two years. In the UK, the Department of Health (DH) adopted this recommendation in 2003. However, surveys in the UK have shown that many infants begin complementary feeding before six months of age, with 42% of infants receiving solid foods by six months and 54% of infants receiving solid foods before six months. This highlights the importance of individualized feeding plans based on developmental readiness and cultural, socio-economic, and lifestyle factors.

Signs of Developmental Readiness

Parents and caregivers should look for signs of developmental readiness before introducing complementary foods. These signs include:

  • The ability to sit upright and support their head without assistance.
  • The ability to grasp and manipulate food with their hands.
  • A reduced interest in breast milk or formula.
  • A desire to mimic adults while eating.

Types of Complementary Foods

Complementary foods should be nutritionally adequate and safe. They include a variety of foods such as:

  • Vegetables.
  • Fruits.
  • Grains.
  • Meats.
  • Fish.
  • Eggs.
  • Peanuts.

Methods of Feeding

Responsive or cue-based feeding is recommended for complementary feeding. This method involves recognizing and responding appropriately to the infant's cues that signal hunger or fullness. This allows the infant to self-regulate how much milk they drink or how much solid food they eat.

Allergenic Foods

The introduction of allergenic foods, such as peanuts and eggs, is an important consideration in complementary feeding. Previously, advice was to delay introducing these foods to children at high risk of food allergy. However, recent research suggests that high-risk children may benefit from earlier introduction of peanut-containing foods. The Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study found that introducing peanuts at four months of age, compared to six months of age, decreased the frequency of peanut allergy among children at high risk for this allergy.

Conclusion

Complementary feeding is an essential aspect of paediatric care. It involves the introduction of solid foods to an infant's diet after six months of age, while continuing breastfeeding. The timing, type, and method of introducing complementary foods should be based on the infant's developmental readiness and individual needs. Healthcare professionals must take into account cultural, socio-economic, and lifestyle factors when advising parents and caregivers on complementary feeding practices.

Learn about the importance of introducing solid foods to an infant's diet, including the timing, types, and methods of feeding. Understand the signs of developmental readiness and the role of allergenic foods in complementary feeding.

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