Growth and development from toddler through to preschoolers and school age children is one of the most important stages of development of life. This period is marked by increase rate of growth in all dimensions of life. This is matched with increased demand of nutrients. To understand growth and development and correlated nutrient demand throughout this period, it is important to look at each and every stage independently.
During infancy, the child undergoes a rapid growth and development. Infancy is a critical period of development since the body is experiencing a rapid growth of some body organs. There is a high demand of energy and proteins due to rapid rate of growth. Since the child is born with nutrients reserves, the child should be exclusively breastfed as breast milk contains all the nutrients the child needs for the first six months. Breast milk also contains immunoglobins which strengthen the immune system and is safe to the mother. AT the age of six month, most nutrient reserves, especially iron are depleted and the child will require weaning to supplement nutrients in breast milk. Complementary feeding should be introduced from six months and each food at a time to track its effect on the child. By the age of 12 months, the child should be consuming most of the table foods.