All posts by Kinedu

Why formula instead of cow’s milk?

Parents often ask why cow’s milk is not the best option for their little one. The answer is simple: babies or young children can’t digest cow’s milk as completely or as easily as breast milk or formula.

The Nutrition Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of cow’s milk for two reasons: allergies and iron deficiency anemia.

The intestinal lining takes more time to mature in some babies than others. Although lactose intolerance is not so common in babies, some toddlers can develop diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain because they are unable to digest the lactose sugar in milk. Some toddlers can develop milk allergies, meaning that their immune system, which normally fights infections, overreacts to proteins in cow’s milk and thus fights these proteins thinking they are harmful invaders.

Another reason as to why cows’ milk is not beneficial to infants is that it lacks the proper amount of vitamins and minerals needed for an optimal growth and development, such as vitamin E, zinc and iron. Why is iron so important for an infant? It helps the body create red blood cells, and a decreased level of red blood cells causes anemia. Babies do have enough iron in their bodies but by 3-4 months of age, the amount of iron supply gets depleted and extra iron is required in the infant’s diet.

Instead of offering cow’s milk, you can offer an iron-fortified growth formula like Nestlé® Excella Gold to your child if he or she is 1 year or older. It is important to mention that exclusive breastfeeding is recommended during the six months of your little one’s life, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond. Always consult your doctor to help you choose the best option for your child.

 

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Making everyday moments meaningful

It’s those special serve and return interactions between a parent and a child that make everyday moments so meaningful.

Reading: Reading to your baby from birth helps foster linguistic skills, increasing vocabulary acquisition. Research shows that when parents read to their children, children develop a love for books which later translates into strong reading skills. Additionally, when you spend time reading with your little one, they’ll be much more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way.

Play: Play is how infants test their ideas and learn new skills. Babies and toddlers are eager to comprehend the way the world works and through play they learn the basic skills of communication, problem solving, testing ideas and getting along with others. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics: “Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive and emotional growth. It allows children to explore the world, practice adult roles and gain confidence.” Continue reading

Phospholipids and their importance for development

Phospholipids are a class of lipids that are a major component of cell membranes. Traditionally, lipids were considered a great source of energy during lactation, nowadays they are also known to play a prominent role during brain development.

How are these molecules beneficial and why are they an essential nutrient for optimal development?

Phospholipids are amphipathic lipids: they consist of a hydrophilic (or ‘water loving’) head and a hydrophobic (or ‘water fearing’) tail. Phospholipids like to line up and arrange themselves into two parallel layers called phospholipid bilayer – this layer makes up your cell membranes and is critical for the cell’s ability to function. They even activate the enzymes acting as messengers in the transmission of signals inside the cells and regulate cholesterol. They also stimulate the development, migration and differentiation of nerve cells. Continue reading

Choline: What is it and why is it essential?

There are certain nutrients that are essential to your little one’s health and well-being. Like choline. But, what is choline and why is it an essential nutrient?

Choline is part of the complex B vitamin group. The body itself produces choline but not enough of it, which is why it’s important to consume foods that are rich in it.

Choline has a great capacity to affect the nervous system and the brain function. It also aids in producing acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that participates in brain memory. Babies receive this nutrient in the womb given that it is a key element in constructing the cell membrane structure – an essential process during fetal development. Scientists are now beginning to understand how choline intake during pregnancy affects brain development.

This nutrient is found especially in foods like milk, liver, eggs, and peanuts as well as poultry, fish, and grains. Breast milk also contains choline as well as some growth formulas, such as Nestlé®  Excella®  Gold. Make sure your little one’s diet includes elements that are rich in this essential nutrient.

 

Sources:

  • https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782876/

The effects of added sugar on complementary nutrition

Kid’s consumption of industrialized foods has caused a major distortion in their taste preferences and eating habits.

During the first year of life, breast milk gives rise to the formation of habits and food preferences that are difficult to modify later in life. This is why an ideal complementary feeding plays a key role. The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that from the first moments in which the child receives complementary food, essential habits are acquired that benefit taste preferences. For this reason, it is not advisable to add sweeteners of any kind in children’s foods. Offering products with large amounts of added sugar causes them to develop a preference for sweeter foods.

The flavors acquired during early stages of life, become lifetime habits and a preference for sweeter foods can put them at greater risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – three major contributors to heart disease. Continue reading

Vitamin B complex and their benefits

Vitamin B complex is extremely beneficial for kids. While B vitamins are essential for the human body, they are more so for kids in their growing years. Why? Vitamin B complex encourages mental and physical growth in children in their early formative years.

There are 8 principal vitamins that make up the vitamin B complex:

  1. Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Plays a role in the release of energy in your child’s body and it protects the nervous system from any kind of damage or degeneration.
  2. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  3. Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  4. Vitamin B5 (panthothenic acid)
  5. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Promotes bone health and helps maintain the nervous system, it produces red blood cells and encourages proper function of certain hormones.
  6. Vitamin B7 (biotin): It helps in keeping calm and maintaining a healthy nervous system. It is also essential in maintaining healthy hair and nails.
  7. Vitamin B9 (folic acid): Helps prevent certain birth defects as it assists in blood cell production and helps the synthesis of DNA.
  8. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): aids in the production of red blood cells and maintains the nerve cell function.

Continue reading

Why iron is a key part of children’s nutrition

Iron is an essential nutrient for making hemoglobin, a key component of red blood cells that helps transport oxygen throughout the body. If our bodies would not receive enough iron, red blood cells would not be adequately produced and our tissues and organs would not receive sufficient oxygen – which is necessary for growth and development. When children lack iron, they may display cognitive and behavioral developmental deficits or delays, may be less physically active, display a shorter attention span and develop problems concentrating.

Once children are ready to begin a diet consisting of solids, their first foods should be iron fortified given their period of rapid growth.

Here is a list of iron-rich foods for children on solids:

  • Meats: Beef, lamb, pork, veal, liver, chicken, turkey
  • Fish: Babies under 1 should not eat shellfish
  • Eggs: If your child is under 1 year old, don’t feed him or her egg whites
  • Grains and cereals: Iron-fortified cereals, whole grain breads, enriched bread, pasta and rice
  • Legumes: Chick peas, lentils, dried peas and beans
  • Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts, green peas and beans
  • Growth formulas: Such as Nestlé ® Excella Gold

To help your child’s body absorb even more iron, combine these foods with a good source of vitamin C. Plus, minimize the amount of dairy products you offer your little one at the same time you are feeding your child iron-rich foods as it can prevent rapid iron absorption.

It’s important to note that exclusive breastfeeding is recommended during the first 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond. When choosing a growth formula that contains some of the key ingredients we just mentioned, such as Nestlé ® Excella Gold ®, make sure to talk to your pediatrician to know which may suit your child best.

 

Sources:

  • http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/iron.html
  • http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/minerals.html?ref=search&WT.ac=msh-k-dtop-en-search-clk#
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3415871/
  • http://www.who.int/features/qa/21/en/

What should I look for in a children’s growth formula?

We know that it may be overwhelming for moms to have so many growth formula options for their little ones to choose from. What should you focus on when picking an ideal formula? There are different brands, ages, nutritional benefits, liquid or powder formats, and more. It’s important to note that exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond. When choosing the right formula, always consult your pediatrician; he or she is the one who can best advise you on picking the right growth formula for your child.

From the first year on, your child is in an active developmental stage where he or she will learn to walk and talk and will need a lot of energy. It is important to offer a growth formula that allows your child to develop and that will favor his or her nutritional needs from the beginning. Try to enrich your little one with essential nutrients that will help promote his or her development.

What should I look for? Continue reading

5 key ingredients that enhance brain development

We all know the huge role nutrition plays in our kid’s development. There are five key ingredients that can help enhance your child’s brain development.

First on the list, we have choline which is a chemical compound similar to B complex (we’ll get to that one later on), which can help stimulate both your child’s brain and visual function while simultaneously improve his or her memory.

Second, we have the now famous probiotics and prebiotics. We’ve all heard about them at some point and know that these substances are key players in the absorption of nutrients and therefore provide a healthy intestinal flora and digestion.

B complex is made up of a combination of vitamins that support the formation of brain connections and therefore have the potential to improve your child’s memory, provide him or her with enough energy for day to day tasks and ensure proper functioning of the nervous and visual system.    Continue reading

Types of Growth Formulas: Choosing the right one

Feeling a little overwhelmed? It’s common to stumble upon a wide range of information and therefore have many questions ranging from what to feed your child to when, where and how. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond. There are many studies that back this up, if you wish to learn more about it click here. After the first year, you can start introducing solid foods or even growth formulas. But what should you look for when choosing it?

  1. Type: There are 3 main types of growth formula, either cow milk protein-based formula, soy-based formula or protein hydrolysate formula. You should consult your pediatrician when considering the type of growth formula since he or she may be informed of allergies and potential side effects for your little one regarding a specific type.
  2. Preparation: Growth formulas can be prepared using a powdered formula, concentrated liquid formula and ready-to-use formula. Choose the one that’s the most convenient for you and fits your current budget.
  3. Important components:
    1. Carbohydrates: One of the main sources of energy for your little one. Most growth formulas use some of the following carbohydrates: lactose, maltose, sucrose, glucose, maltodextrin, glucose syrup or dried glucose syrup.
    2. Probiotics and Prebiotics: They help the absorption of neuronutrients and strengthen the immune system of your little one.
    3. Vitamins: These are present in almost every growth formula, some of these vitamins include folic acid, thiamine (B1 vitamin), riboflavin (B2 vitamin), niacin (B3 vitamin), biotin and pantothenic acid.
    4. Iron: Essential mineral for the development of your little one since it is the one in charge of transporting oxygen in the blood. It is also the main producer of hemoglobin.     
    5. DHA: DHA is omega-3 fatty acid found naturally in certain foods like fish that aids in cognitive and visual development. Some growth formulas include this key ingredient.
    6. No Added Sugar: You will avoid modifying your child’s sweet food preferences and promote healthy habits.

When choosing a growth formula that contains some of the key ingredients we mentioned, such as Nestlé ® Excella Gold ®, make sure to talk to your pediatrician to know which may suit your child best.

Sources:

http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/