Nutrition to Support Healthy Growth | 5
What It MeanS
The teachers in this program understand there’s a delicate balance in the
way they communicate with parents, especially parents of very young
children. Parents are often conflicted about going back to work after the
birth of a child, and a respectful relationship with solid communication is
important not only for the nutritional benefit of the infant but also for the
emotional health of the parents. While meeting with the parents in person
before the infant starts care may seem time-consuming, the development
of a supportive caregiver-parent relationship is worth it in the long run.
Meeting with parents has been known to prevent miscommunication and
While being supportive of breast-feeding, early childhood professionals
must also respect and accommodate the needs of mothers and families
who choose not to breast-feed their infants. For infants who are not
breast-fed, iron-fortified infant formula is the only acceptable alternative
to breast milk (American Academy of Pediatrics 2005). Iron-fortified for-
mula may be fed as a supplement to breast milk in some circumstances,
especially for older infants when breast-feeding is well-established. Some
parents believe iron in formula causes stomachaches or constipation, but
research has not confirmed this.
Caregivers who participate in the United States Department of Agri-
culture’s (USDA) Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) should
be aware that iron-fortified infant formula is a required component of
the meal pattern for babies who are not breast-fed (see appendix 2).
Breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula is the only milk that should
be fed to babies for their whole first year of life. Unmodified cow’s milk,
evaporated or condensed milk, goat’s milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond
milk, and nondairy creamers are not acceptable substitutes for breast
milk because they do not have the proper balance of nutrients.
Standard rules for storage and pre-feeding preparation of formula
are similar to the rules presented earlier in this chapter for breast milk:
Always label bottles with the baby’s name and the date and •
time it was prepared.
Keep bottles of formula in the refrigerator until feeding •
time, and use refrigerated bottles within forty-eight hours.