In different countries and societies there is a variety of successful weaning practices.
This empirical observation leads immediately to the conclusion that there is
a range of practices—qualitative, quantitative, and temporal—within which infants
Weaning should not be an abrupt process with enforced abstinence of infants
from the breast and counter attractions in the form of solid foods. There is nothing,
either nutritionally or emotionally, to recommend such a process. Sudden weaning
by stopping other sources of milk is equally undesirable.
It is well established that the functional capacity of the kidneys is lower in
newborns and young infants than in children and adults. This concept, put forward
many years ago by the pioneering work of Barnett (1) and McCance (2), has been
considerably expanded in recent years, owing to the application of more precise
techniques of renal physiology.
Against a complex and ever-changing background of stimulation by self and nonself
antigens, T lymphocytes have two main groups of functions—immunoregulatory,
both for help and suppression, and effector.
I hope to demonstrate in this chapter that early pre- and postnatal nutrition and
other factors have lasting effects on the further development of the individual.
Finally, I shall marshall the meager evidence pertaining to humans to show that
possibly the same, or at least similar, responses can be found in our species.
The current concern that hypertension in adulthood might be initiated by early
feeding experience has its origins in the 1960s. By then the drift away from breastfeeding
had led to a parallel development in technological expertise for producing
artificial milk formulae from cow's milk.
The way in which beikost is introduced to infants varies considerably in the
affluent European societies. The tendency, from the 1940s to the 1970s—coinciding
with an important decrease in the rate of breast-feeding in many countries—was
to introduce more and more early an alternative to milk.
The many remarkable changes in attitude of mothers in the United States regarding
the feeding of their infants have, during the past 50 years, provided fascinating
examples of how rapidly folklore can be modified or abandoned in an affluent
Literature concerning the growth of breast-fed infants is abundant, but still it
remains difficult to come to a definite conclusion. Several books and articles have
been published about breast-feeding and infant growth (1-7).
It is now well accepted that breast-feeding is the best form of infant feeding for
all segments of population in all countries (1,2).
About 400 B.C. Hippocrates said, "The physician must know and must bear
great pains to know what man is in relation to food and drink and habits generally
and the relation of each to each individual."
The weaning period has always been looked at as a dangerous process in developing
countries, since strictly speaking this is the time when any food other than
breast milk is introduced into the baby's diet. A normal child fed by a well-nourished
mother has all its nutrients and energy provided by breast milk for at least the first
4 to 6 months of life.
With regard to infant feeding practices, one can identify two distinct periods
during the first year of life; one during which breast milk or a substitute is given,
and a second one during which supplementary foods (solids but also liquid foods
such as cow's milk) are given.
Acid balance, see pH
Allergy, food, see also Immunity
and beikost, 143-144
and breast milk, 91,143
and formula, 89-90
Antidiuretic hormone, 66—