How much should infants eat per feeding? Infant nutrition requirements

How much should infants eat per feeding? Infant nutrition requirements

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Basically, mothers are expected to be aware of the nutritional requirements of infants in terms of their quantity and nutritional value. (how much should infants eat per feeding and  how often they should be fed)

How much should infants eat per feeding?

Colostrum feeding

Colostrum is the first milk produced by the mammary glands of the mother immediately after the delivery of the newborn. Colostrum should be fed for the first two to four days for the infant. During this time, the baby’s stomach has grown to about the size of a cherry.

The baby will receive about

  • 5 to 7 liters of colostrum at each feed in the first 24 hours
  • 18 -20 ml per feeding by two days
  • 25 to 30 ml per feeding by three days

Characteristics of colostrum

  • Yellowish fluid
  • Less fat and sugar
  • More protein and antibodies
  • Rich in vitamin A and minerals
  • Alkaline pH
how much should infants eat per feeding

Transitional milk feeding

Transitional milk is the type of breast milk that a woman produces about 4-6 days after the delivery of the newborn. The quantity of milk produced in mammary glands during this transitional period increases up to 600 ml. By this time, your baby’s stomach has grown to about the size of a walnut. On average, a baby with 6-9 pounds at birth will need 22-27 ml of milk per feeding. At the end of the first week, babies can have 45 to 60 ml of milk per feeding.

By about two weeks old, they can have  about 80 – 150 ml of milk per feeding.

Characteristics of transitional milk

  • Low amount of proteins compared to colostrum.
  • Less amount of antibodies.
  • More water.
  • Gradual increase in fat and lactose.
  • Mineral concentrations decrease, calcium and phosphate is constant.

Feeding of mature milk

Transitional milk changes to mature breast milk by the time a baby is four weeks old. Around this time, your baby’s stomach has grown well and now can hold between 30 – 130ml of milk per feeding.

Characteristics of mature milk

  • About 5% fat 1.1 % protein and 7% lactose
  • Rich in fatty acids that reflect maternal diet
  • A significant amount of non-protein nitrogen
  • Neutral PH

Factors affecting the amount of an infant eat per feeding

  • Time of the day – fat content highest in the day and lowest at night.
  • Mother’s emotional state- milk ejection reflex often absent during periods of pain fatigue or emotional distress
  • Drugs – atropine opium lead iodides, barbiturates, sulfonamides, and some antibiotics may be found in milk after prolonged use in maximum doses by the mother.

What are the advantages of breast feeding infants?

Psychological advantages

  • mother-child relationship development
  • Tactile contact makes babies more secure and emotionally stable
  • A sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and joy for the mother

Protective against conditions such as,

  • Necrotizing enterocolitis ( A disease that affects the intestine of the pre mature infants )
  • Otitis media (An ear infection)
  • Dental caries ( A bacteria caused in the tooth enamel and result in the tooth decay)

Feeding breast milk for the infant is always safe because,

  • contains no pathogens
  • always at the right temperature
  • Convenient and always available
  • Immunological advantages
  • Breast milk, specially colostrum, contains plenty of antibodies
  • A high level of lactose stimulates lactobacillus by feeders
  • Lactoferrin present in breast milk binds to iron and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria
  • Lysozyme present in breast milk is bacteriostatic
how much should infants eat per feeding

How much should infants eat per feeding during weaning?

Frequent breastfeeding should continue but, at the same time, start giving a mixture of cereals about twice a day. Start with one to two teaspoonfuls. Then increase the number of feeds per day. As babies grow, the amount of food they need increases. After they are used to the new food, they will take about 3-6 large spoonfuls at each feed. Of course, they still need to be breastfed. It is important to continue breastfeeding as before.

By the time babies are 6-9 months old, they need at least four cereal mixed meals a day, in addition to regular breastfeeding. Also, if they still seem hungry, they can have snacks, for example, a banana, an avocado pear, or a biscuit. Fruits make excellent snacks, as does any available nutritious food. Babies need something to eat about every two hours when they are awake.

By about nine months, babies have a few teeth and can start eating larger pieces of food. Chewing is good for them. By about one year, young children will be eating more of the foods cooked for the rest of the family. But they should have them about four or five times a day. Babies should still eat the same mixture of staple peas and beans, food from animals, dark green leafy vegetables or orange, vegetables, plus oils or fat, and fruits.

Babies can consume breast milk to the age of two years or more. Children aged between 1 and 3 years have very small stomachs. So they can eat only about 200-300ml of food at a time. That is why they need frequent feeding.