Proper nutrition during infancy and childhood is essential to providing your child with the resources they need to develop and grow. The first few years of life is the critical period for ensuring normal growth and development of your child through optimal nutrition and feeding. Poor nutrition in childhood can lead to developmental delay and restricted growth, long-term body weight, metabolic programming and immune response issues. By starting a good routine of healthy eating, you can positively impact your child’s relationship with food for the rest of their life.
For premature babies and babies with acute illness, nutrition is vital in maintaining proper health and maintaining growth standards for your child’s age. For infants, breastfeeding for the first 6 months can aid your child’s optimal growth and overall development. Thereafter, introducing solid food is a milestone that Dr Koekemoer can help you manage. Dr Koekemoer is able to educate you on the dietary needs of your child, how to make sure your child is getting the right amount of energy, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins, when and how to transition to solid foods as well as related food behaviours, appetites and mealtime habits of children at each age. He is able to advise you on diets for children with food allergies, diabetes, diets for highly athletic children and fussy eaters, packing nutritional school lunches, as well as dealing with a child with an eating disorder.
For moms with babies, Dr Koekemoer will be able to advise you on all aspects of breastfeeding and feeding your newborn and how to obtain and maintain proper feeding from birth. Bottle feeding and the introduction of cow’s milk will be discussed with you during the next few visits as and when Dr Koekemoer sees fit. Later on, he will also be able to advise parents of babies when to move on to solid food and what to begin introducing into your child’s diet and at what time as baby’s digestive systems are only able to digest certain food types at certain developmental stages.
Parents of babies and toddlers will be guided by Dr Koekemoer in terms of diet and nutrition, food behaviours that may be present, how to deal with fussy eaters and mealtime habits to expect of children at each age. This guidance from a paediatrician becomes very useful for parents and caregivers to understand what to expect, what is normal and what is problematic concerning their child’s eating and nutrition.
As your child enters early childhood, food habits, appetites, preferences and nutrition requirements change and your child’s nutrition during school becomes vital to keeping your child’s mind and body going throughout the day. Middle childhood usually has an increase in physical exercise and athletic activities and thus diet and nutrition will need to be altered to fit your child’s lifestyle to keep up with growth requirements.
Generally, babies can start eating solid food from around 4 months old. It is important, however, to monitor how your child responds or reacts to food to make sure they are tolerating it well. This will be discussed at the routine 3 month follow up before introducing solids.
It’s important for children to eat balanced and nutritious food to aid their growth and development. Protein, fruit and vegetables, grains and dairy are all important. Limiting sugary foods is also advisable.
Consultation will enable the doctor to do a holistic assessment and examination, after which advice on treatment options, investigations and referrals if necessary will be given.