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October 2021

Prof Care Mother Child. 1998 ; 8(3): 63-4, 66.

Common feeding problems in babies and children: 2.

Gilbert P.

University of Warwick.

Weaning is the cause of much concern among first-time mothers. A milk-only diet is advised until 3-4 months of age. Health professionals should ensure the baby receives a sufficient and balanced diet during the weaning period, to meet the needs for energy and growth. Breast milk or infant formula should continue up to the age of at least one year. The weaning period is a good time to educate parents in good nutrition. A wide variety of foods should be the aim in child nutrition, but each different type needs to be started separately during weaning. Care is needed to ensure vegetarian babies receive enough proteins, vitamins and minerals (especially iron). Failure to thrive has a multitude of causes, and treatment must be that of the cause. Strictly vegan children who eat no dairy products will need added synthetic vitamin B12. Failure to thrive may be due to physical problems (eg choanal atresia), infection, vomiting, diarrhoea, anorexia, parental ignorance or poverty. Other causes include coeliac disease, cow's milk protein allergy, cystic fibrosis, severe eczema or asthma, or diabetes.

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