Naked Science Forum

Life Sciences => Physiology & Medicine => Topic started by: Polaris on 27/03/2014 00:49:06

Title: How does weaning affect infant digestion?
Post by: Polaris on 27/03/2014 00:49:06
When an infant is introduced to solids first times, there might be digest problems like constipation.

Is that normal? by NORMAL I do not mean that most babies have that these days only because of the certain feeding pattern of the parents in the modern society. I mean NORMAL biology wise.

Does the ability of digestion need to be "trained" and then gets mature, and will it never outgrow its in-mature by itself?

Or does the digestion problem mean it is too early for solids and there will be the time when they are ready for solids?

Title: Re: Digestion ability of an infant
Post by: evan_au on 27/03/2014 10:15:19
Babies tend to stick anything they can reach in their mouths. If you leave edible food around, they will put it in their mouths.
However, we tend to leave inedible things where babies can reach them - and they still put them in their mouths!

Milk is very good for little babies, but humans need to make a gradual changeover from milk to other foodstuffs. In some societies, this is encouraged by the slow decline in functionality of the lactase gene when the infant reaches a few years old, making it harder to digest milk. In other societies, it is accelerated by putting the child into day care (or father care) while the mother returns to her day job.

In this transition, the child will learn what his parents eat - but initially softened due to the lack of teeth. There are indications that babies respond more favourably to foods that the mother ate before the baby was born. And the baby needs to develop gut biota that are capable of assisting digestion of this new diet. Eventually a child gets to the point where they start collecting food for themselves (but for many westerners today, that will be from a supermarket). There are strong indications that children are more favourably disposed to foods they see on TV advertisements. So I guess there is a process of "training" for a baby to deal with new food in a more mature way.