Summer is a special season when you have an opportunity to strengthen a child’s health significantly and improve child’s host defences. At the same time, summer is also an insidious season, as the risk of contracting different infections, especially enteric ones, increases during hot periods of the year.
The best food for babies up to one year old is still breast-feeding. However, even during the period of breast feeding the child should be offered 20-50 ml. of water in 1-1.5 hour after feeding. If the baby is thirsty, it will drink, if it is not thirsty, it will refuse.
The diet of the nursing mother herself should also be a right one. “Fruits and vegetables should be introduced depending on the season; exotic ones that are not typical for our region should be avoided. Each new product should be introduced gradually, in 3-4 days; the new one should be tested only afterwards. If a baby has allergic reaction to some product, it should be immediately excluded from the baby’s diet for at least 6 months”, – Oksana Chernyshova, pediatrician of American Medical Centers, advises.
If the baby is given artificial or mixed feeding and is used to some adapted milk mixture, it should remain part of baby’s feeding in summer.
Many babies lose appetite when it is hot, especially in the afternoon. This should not scare you, as it is also connected with insufficient secretion of digestive juices. In such situations, simply give the baby solid food later in the day (18:00-19:00), when it is not so hot, and feed the baby with mother’s milk or adapted milk mixture in the afternoon.
Normally, an adult needs about 40 ml. of water per 1 kg. of body weight per day. The children, especially babies at breast, need much more water. The daily need of liquid is the following: for babies up to 6 months old — up to 120-150 ml.; 6 months-1 year old — 200-300 ml.; 1-1.5 year old — 300-450 ml.; 1.5-2 years old — 450-600 ml.; 2-3 years old — 600-800 ml.; 3-5 years old — 800-1000 ml.; 5-8 years old — 1000-1200 ml.
«It is recommended to give babies freshly boiled water cooled down to room temperature, non-carbonated table mineral water or weak tea. Instant teas made of herbal extractions – fennel or chamomile – can also be recommended, as they improve work of bowels and have sedative effect”, – Rosa Gazin, family doctor of the Clinic, says.
Water for children of preschool and school age should be placed well visibly so that the child can quench the thirst when he/she needs. Children of this age should also be actively explained the harm of sweet carbonated drinks that are constantly advertised in the shops and at mass media. Overuse of such drinks can lead to gastritis, obesity and pancreatic diabetes.