Description: One of the most common chronic conditions affecting infants is allergies. Allergic responses to food may cause a variety of symptoms such as runny nose, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, vomiting, hives, and eczema.
Causes: Certain foods such as citrus juices, eggs, cereal products other than rice, chocolate, nuts and nut butters, and fish/shellfish are common allergens and, thus, their addition to the infant’s diet should be delayed.
Remedy: If and infant seems to experience an allergic reaction to a specific food, it should be eliminated from the diet and reintroduced at a later time. If a mild based formula seems to be offending food, ti may be necessary to replace it with one formulated from modified proteins or soybeans.
Description: Some seemingly healthy infants may develop colic; which causes abdominal discomfort, cramping, and prolonged periods of intense crying.
Causes: The exact cause of colic is unknown; there is some evidence to suggest that reflux may be a contributing factor.
Remedy: Formula fed, changing the type of formula will sometimes relieve the infant’s symptoms. Mother’s who are breastfeeding should continue to do so, but may want to monitor their diet for highly spiced or strongly flavored food that may trigger or contribute to the infant’s discomfort. Fortunately, most infants outgrow colic at about 3 to 4 months of age.
VOMITING & DIARRHEA
Description: It is typical for young infants to spit up and /or vomit. The muscle (sphincter), positioned at the stomach opening, is responsible for keeping stomach contents in place. This sphincter takes longer to develop and to function properly in some young infants causing them to spit up after almost every feeding. Acute diarrhea due to an infection, and characterized by accompanying fever, must be attended to immediately. The infant’s physician should be contacted for advice and consistent efforts should be made to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
Causes: Common causes include food allergies or food sensitivities, overfeeding, infections: systemic or food-borne, eating food that the baby is not yet ready for, incorrect formula preparation, use of fruit juice, swallowed air, reflux.
Remedy: Fluid and electrolyte replacement is a primary consideration when an infant has repeated vomiting and diarrhea. Infants who experience diarrhea should receive approximately 3 oz of fluid per pound of body weight. There are also numerous ready to feed (RTF) rehydrating formulas available; parents should check with their health care provider before giving infants these solutions. Fruit juices carbonated beverages, tea, or adult electrolyte formulas are not recommended because of their high sugar and low electrolyte content.
Description: Inadequate iron intake can result in low-hemoglobin-type anemia that may delay the growth process and cause the infant to be lethargic.
Causes: Iron stores present at birth are usually exhausted by 6 months of age unless the infant is on an iron-fortified formula.
Remedies: Adding iron-enriched cereals to an infant’s diet at about 5 to 6 months of age is usually sufficient to prevent anemia from developing.
BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY (BBDT)
Description: Infants who are allowed to recline or sleep with a bottle or breast in their mouth may develop baby bottle tooth decay.
Causes: This condition is characterized by a high rate of tooth decay caused by the pooling sugar-containing formula, breast milk, or juices in the baby’s mouth.
Remedies: Infants should finish feeding and have their gums cleaned before going down to sleep. Weaning infants to a cup at about 8 months of age also reduces the risk of developing this problem.
Causes: Propping the bottle up so the infant may lie down and feed without being held can