Excessive nourishment during a newborn’s postnatal period could precipitate significantly adverse health consequences.
Definition of Postnatal Period
Members of the medical community differ on the exact duration of a newborn’s postnatal period. Certain healthcare professionals opine that the period lasts from birth through the first few weeks of the child’s life. Others suggest that this crucial stage extends up to a month-and-a-half following birth. Regardless of the duration, the care the infant is administered can have a critical effect on his or her life and health as the baby ages.
Excessive Nutrition Overview
One of the most crucial factors impacting a newborn during the postnatal stage is proper nutrition. Everyone understands the negative health effects that could result should a baby fail to receive appropriate nutrition. However, some mothers fail to realize that feeding newborns excessively during the postnatal period might also yield adverse health consequences.
A specific newborn’s exact nutritional needs will often vary and depend on several factors such as the child’s sex, weight, and overall health. New mothers are strongly encouraged to consult with their physician, obstetrician, or pediatrician to formulate a proper feeding schedule filled with the nutrients the child will need to develop physically and mentally.
Potential Health Risks Associated With Excessive Postnatal Nutrition
There are a few potential risks to be aware of when it comes to excessive postnatal nutrition:
- Illnesses and Serious Hormonal Alterations – Recent scientific research has concluded that overfeeding newborn laboratory mice may increase the risk of the development of serious health problems such as diabetes later in life. Additionally, researchers concluded that excessive nutrient intake in the immediate afterbirth period can precipitate unhealthy hormonal changes that a newborn body is not prepared for and will experience difficulty adjusting to.
- Accelerated Aging – Research studies on laboratory mice also concluded that excessive feeding of a newborn during the child’s first several weeks of life might stimulate early and more rapid aging. Scientists found that creatures fed exorbitant amounts of food experienced changes in their genetic makeup that could bring about a more rapid aging of cells and could render the subjects more susceptible to contracting a host of illnesses.
Scientists who oversaw these examinations believe the knowledge they gained is promising. However, they still caution that a significant amount of research is still necessary, especially on human subjects, before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Preventive Measures New Mothers Can Initiate
Members of the scientific community still stress that the postnatal stage is among the most important phases of a newborn’s development, and adhering to a proper nutritional plan can be an important action in preventing future health problems.
Doctors and nutritionists opine that mothers of newborns should work in conjunction with their healthcare providers to establish a nutritional plan that will not lead to excessive caloric or nutrient intake. They urge mothers to consider creating some type of outline prior to bringing the newborn home. Based on factors such as the infant’s sex, weight and health status, a daily caloric maximum can be established. Moreover, other important guidelines can be started, which should include the specific nutrients the child’s food should contain, as well as how many feedings should be administered per day.
Related Content: The Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping
In the past, the common practice was to pass Dad the surgical scissors and have him perform a quick snip just before the newborn babe was whisked away to be cleaned, measured and dosed with vitamin K. Any delay in cord cutting was viewed as unnecessary in promoting general health for the baby or mother. However, recent research suggests that a delay of even three minutes can have a significant positive impact on infants.