Mohave County WIC

Infant Feeding Myths

By the end of this lesson you will be able to

Identify at least four infant feeding myths.
Learn where to get appropriate nutrition information.
Plan a strategy  to handle nutrition advice in the media.

 

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Today's understanding of nutrition is based on years of scientific study, yet we hear many myths regarding how to feed an infant.  To make wise food choices, you need sound nutrition information.  What we hear, what we know and what we don't know just may surprise you!  Let's take a look at some common myths about infant nutrition.

 

Activity 1:

What infant feeding myths have been presented to you?

 

 

Myth: You need to have a good diet to breastfeed your baby or your milk won't nourish the baby properly.

Reality: Studies have shown this to be untrue. Even women who are getting poor nutrition can usually produce adequate quality milk. However, women who have good eating habits tend to produce more milk. Needless to say, it's best to eat right during pregnancy and while you're breastfeeding. 

 

Myth: Small-breasted women won't have enough milk.

Reality: Either large or small, breast size has NOTHING to do with the amount of milk a woman will produce.  If a women is getting plenty of liquid, adequate rest and relaxation, and lots of physical contact with their baby she will produce enough milk. In fact, many women who believe they are not producing enough milk are mistaken. The important thing to remember is the more the baby nurses, the more milk your breasts will be stimulated to produce milk. If you begin supplementing with formula, your breasts will not receive adequate stimulation and your milk supply will decrease.  

Click Here for more information about Breastfeeding.

Myth: It's OK to give your infant cow's milk if you run out of formula.

Reality:  Cow's milk should not be introduced to your infant before 11 months of age.  Cow's milk has too much protein for your infant which makes it harder for him to digest.  It also has too many minerals that can be hard on the baby's kidneys.  Cow's milk is low in vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and copper which are important to baby for growth.

 

Myth: It's OK to give your infant goat's milk.

Reality:  The same applies for goat's milk when it comes to supplementing milk.  Goat's milk should not be introduced to your infant before 11 months of age. 

 
Myth: Iron-Fortified formula causes colic and constipation.

Reality:  The fact is, the iron in formulas contain a relatively small amount or iron - only about 12 mg per quart.  But it's enough iron to keep a baby from becoming iron deficient and anemic.  Low iron formulas do not contain enough iron to prevent  this deficiency nor does it prevent constipation.  In a study where parents didn't know which formula they were using, either iron-containing or  low-iron formulas, there was no difference in the digestive tract symptoms.  If parents choose to bottle feed their infants, they should use iron-fortified infant formulas as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

 

Click here for more information about Iron Deficiency Anemia.

Activity 2:

True or False:
1. If you're breastfeeding you should not eat any sweets. True False
2. Breast size does not determine the amount of milk that will be produced. True False
3. Cow's milk is high in iron and vitamin C. True False
4. Iron-fortified formula may help prevent iron deficiency anemia. True False

 

 

Myth: Infants need juice.

Reality:  Offering juice early is unnecessary.  Juice does not offer nutritional value to infants; it contains no protein, calcium, fat, or iron.  Juice is mostly water and sugar.  Because juice is sweet, too much leaves the child with little appetite for the high-nutrient foods that kids need to support their rapid growth and development.  Wait until a child is drinking from a cup to introduce juice.  There is no need to offer juice from a bottle at all; it may start a habit that is hard to break or even lead to dental caries.  Until the first birthday, limit juice to four ounces per day.  For toddlers, limit juice to six ounces per day.

 

Myth: Dental caries cannot start until an infant has teeth.

Reality:  Decay or cavities can start before your baby even has teeth. You can start the prevention decay at birth!  Wiping your infant's gums at least once a day with a clean, damp washcloth or gauze pad will help reduce plaque build up.

 

Click here for more information about Tooth Decay.

Myth: Infants should be introduced to solid foods when they start getting fussy, even before 4-6 months.

Reality:  When infants are fussy, it doesn't always mean they're hungry.  It might be that baby needs his diaper changed, he's tired or just wants physical contact.   Introducing solids before baby is physically or developmentally ready is harmful.  It can lead to allergies or at the very least "wasted" nutrition.

Here is a reference to feeding your infant:

Infant Feeding Guidelines
Birth to 4 months Breast milk or formula
*4-6 months Breast milk or formula.  Add iron-fortified rice cereal.  Mix 1-2 tablespoon of cereal with breast milk or formula and offer two times daily.
5-6 months Breast milk or formula; iron-fortified rice cereal.  Add plain strained baby vegetables (such as peas, carrots, squash, and green bean) and strained baby fruits (such as bananas, applesauce, peaches, pears, and apricots).  Offer 1-2 tablespoons 2-3 times daily.  Offer one new food every 3-7 days and watch for signs of intolerance (rash, spitting up, or diarrhea).
6-8 months Breast milk or formula; iron-fortified rice cereal- increase to 4 tablespoons or more daily.  Add plain, strained baby meats (such as beef, veal, lamb, turkey, chicken, or egg yolk).  Offer ½ to 1 tablespoon one to two times a day.  Again, try one new meat every 3-7 days and watch for signs of intolerance.  Increase both strained vegetables and fruits to 2 tablespoons or more per day.  You may offer 2-4 ounces of fruit juice, either plain or fortified with vitamin C in a cup.
8-9 months Breast milk or iron-fortified formula; iron-fortified cereal.  Begin trying junior foods (half jar) or mashed and chopped table foods (4 tablespoons or more per day), such as meat, poultry, potato, and well-cooked pieces of vegetable.  Chopped canned fruit may replace strained fruit. Offer 1 to 2 small servings of bread, crackers or toast.
10-12 months Breast milk or formula; continue iron-fortified cereals (4 tablespoons or more per day).  Add cooked, cut-up pieces of vegetables and soft fruits (4 tablespoons or more per day), and tender meats.  Casseroles with pasta or rice may be offered.  Increase amounts according to baby's hunger.

*Only if baby is developmentally ready.  Baby stops pushing food out of mouth with tongue and can support head and sit up with help.

Remember, every baby differs, some may be ready for these foods somewhat later.  Check with your baby's doctor.

Click here to print out The Infant Feeding Guidelines!

 

Myth: Infants need to take a vitamin supplement.

Reality:  Almost all infants get the recommended amounts of nutrients they need simply from breastmilk, or iron-fortified formula, alone during the first four to six months.  After six months, appropriate solids foods will add the extra nutrients needed.  Simply follow the guidelines WIC provides for introducing solids to your infant.   Infants should not be given any supplements unless instructed by your physician.

 

Click here for more information about Infant Feeding Guidelines.

Activity 3:

True or False:
1. Juice supplies empty calories to your infants diet such as sugar. True False
2. Dental carries will not begin until after your infant has teeth. True False
3. Fussy babies are always hungry. True False
4. Solely breastfeeding will supply adequate nutrients until about 4 months. True False

 

Where can I learn more about nutrition information?

You may ask your local WIC nutritionists for nutrition education materials.  Or you may log on to the following websites:

www.eatright.org

http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/

http://www.nutrition.gov/

www.nutritionexplorations.org

 

Plan a strategy to handle nutrition advise in the media.
If you hear nutrition information in the media you can always contact a professional in  nutrition to determine whether it is legit or not.  You may contact any of the WIC nutritionists to better serve you. 

 

 

Let's Review!

List 4 infant feeding myths:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Where can you get appropriate nutrition information?

What is your strategy on determining legitimate nutrition information.

 

 

Which WIC Office do you go to?

Bullhead City
Kingman
Lake Havasu City

Where are you taking today's lesson?

        

Congratulations!!!

You have completed the lesson on "Infant Feeding Myths”.  If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail one of our nutritionists.  We’ll be glad to answer any of your questions.  Continue scrolling to check your answers.

In Kingman you may contact a Nutritionist at kngnutr@co.mohave.az.us
In Bullhead City you may contact a Nutritionist at bhcnutr@co.mohave.az.us
In Lake Havasu City you may contact a Nutritionist at lhcnutr@co.mohave.az.us

Answers:

Activity 2: 1. False
2. True
3. False
4. True
Activity 3: 1. True
2. False
3. False
4. True

* If you have an extra minute, please fill out our survey on the WIC home page (where you chose this class) so we can better serve you.  Thanks. 

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