DIET DURING INFANCY
Food and its presentation are extremely important during the baby’s first year. Physical and mental development are dependent on the food itself, and psychosocial development is affected by the time and manner in which thefood is offered.
Infants react to their parents’ emotions. If food is forced on a child or withheld until the child is uncomfortable or if the food is presented in a tense manner, the child reacts with tension and unhappiness. If the parent is relaxed, an infant’s mealtime can be a pleasure for both parent and child (Figure 12-1).
Although babies have been fed according to prescribed time schedules in the past, it is preferable to feed infants on demand. Feeding on demand prevents the frustrations that hunger can bring and helps the child develop trust in people. The newborn may require more frequent feedings, but normally the demand schedule averages approximately every 4 hours by the time the baby is 2 or 3 months old.