As summarized elsewhere,1 at the time of birth infants appear able to distinguish between sweet, sour, and bitter tastes and between differences in sweetness of a solution. Newborn breastfed infants also appear able to distinguish between the presence and absence of garlic or alcohol in the milk. The ability to detect saltiness may not develop until about 4 months of age.
Although short-term feeding studies beyond the newborn period (eg, single-feeding crossover studies) suggest that infants can distinguish between rather minor degrees of sweetness, in longer-term studies only quite large differences in sweetness have been associated with differences in food consumption. The difference between short-term and long-term studies in this regard may reflect the infant's tendency to limit energy intake. Although this tendency can be overridden by the individual responsible for feeding, there is considerable evidence that the infant, at least the older infant, exerts a major level of control over energy intake. When infants were fed formulas similar in composition except for energy density (133 vs 37 kcal/dl), energy intake was greater in 8- to 41-day-old infants fed the energy-dense formula but not in 42- to 111-day-old infants.2
Evidence on the influence of the salt content of beikost on food consumption by infants is conflicting.1 In single-feeding, 4- to 6-month-old infants consumed more of a salted than an unsalted cereal but in longer-term studies with an assortment of beikost items no effect of salt content on food consumption could be demonstrated. The difference in findings may reflect a difference between short-term and long-term effects, between the foods fed, between the method of feeding (neutral third party or mother) or unidentified factors.
Which beikost items best supplement the energy and nutrient intakes of breastfed infants under prevailing conditions in various countries and regions?
What quantity of these items is desirable for breastfed infants at various ages?
How can these items achieve priority in the diets over items that contribute less to the nutritional needs of breastfed infants?
- Fomon SJ. Energy. In: Fomon SJ, ed. Nutrition of Normal Infants. St Louis, MO: Mosby; 1993:103–120
- Fomon SJ,
- Filer, LJ Jr, Thomas LN, Rogers RR, Proksch AM
- Copyright © 2000 American Academy of Pediatrics