Common Concerns During Infancy: Nutrition

Nutrition Promotion during the Infancy Period

Breast milk is the best food for infants and the only necessary food for the first 6 months of life. As long as the mother is ingesting adequate diet no additional supplements such as iron and vitamins are necessary to be given to breast fed infants. However, if infants are not exposed to sunshine Vitamin D should be prescribed. Formula-fed infants should be supplemented with Iron and Vitamin C unless a commercial iron-fortified formula is used.

Dietary Reference Intakes for Newborns and Infants

(From Maternal and Child Health Nursing by Adelle Pillitteri)


Recommended Dietary Allowance
Birth to 6 months 6 months to 1 year
Calories Kg x 110 Kg x 100
Protein (g) Kg x 2.2 Kg x 1.6
Vitamin A 400 ug 500 ug
Vitamin D 5 ug 5 ug
Vitamin E 4 mg 5 mg
Vitamin C 40 mg 50 mg
Folate 65 ug 80 ug
Niacin 2 mg 4 mg
Riboflavin 0.3 mg 0.4 mg
Thiamin 0.2 mg 0.3 mg
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg 0.3 mg
Vitamin B12 0.4 ug 0.5 ug
Calcium 210 mg 270 mg
Phosphorous 100 mg 275 mg
Iodine 110 ug 130 ug
Magnesium 30 mg 75 mg
Zinc 2 mg 3 mg
Iron 0.27 mg 11 mg

Introduction of Solid Foods

Introduction of solid foods begins at 4 to 6 months of age. Introducing solid foods before this time can overwhelm the infant’s immature kidney with a heavy solute load. An infant is physiologically ready when:

  1. More than 32 oz (960 ml) of formula is consumed per day.
  2. Do not seem satisfied with breast milk or formula feeding.
  3. Nursing vigorously every 3-4 hours and do not seem satisfied.

2-3 months: amylase is already present in the saliva.

3 months: biting movement begins.

7-9 months: chewing movement begins.

Tips in Introducing Solid Foods

  1. Introduce one food at a time with a 5-7 days interval.
  2. Solid foods should be offered before formula or breast feeding when an infant is hungry.
  3. New foods should be introduced on small amounts about 1 or 2 tsp at a time.
  4. Infant’s food preferences should be respected as a child cannot be expected to like all new tastes equally well.
  5. Minimize the use of sedatives. Salt and sugar should be limited on solid foods.
  6. Educate parents that extrusion reflex is still present at 4-6 months, so foods placed on an infant’s tongue will be pushed forward.
  7. Do not place food on bottles with formula to prevent aspiration.

Solid foods should be introduced in the following manner:

  1. Cereals
  2. Vegetables and fruits
  3. Meats

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Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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