This lexicon brings together most of the technical information regarding infant nutrition to help you better understand the nutritional needs of the pregnant woman and those of the newborn baby.
Polyunsaturated essential fatty acid of the omega-3 family. The body can not synthesis this acid, which has to come from our food. It is contained in vegetable oils (rapeseed, soya). It is important for the infant’s development.
Protein constituent. 20 different amino-acids exist. Some of them are called essential as our organism is unable to produce them.
Calcium, major mineral constituent of bones and teeth, fixes itself to the protein matrix and ensures the strength of the skeleton. It also plays a role in blood clotting, nervous transmission and muscular activity. Food such as milk, dairy products, certain types of green vegetable and certain mineral waters contain high levels of calcium.
Energy unit of food. One protein gram represents 4 calories, one carbohydrate gram 4 calories and one lipid gram 9 calories.
These nutrients mainly supply energy as they are totally burned by the organism. There are 2 types of carbohydrates: the simple carbohydrates (glucose, fructose, saccharine, lactose) whose sugar is quickly assimilated by the body and the complex carbohydrates (cereals, starch, glycogen) which are diffused slowly. 1 carbohydrate gram corresponds to 4 energy calories.
Major constituent of cow’s milk proteins.
Abbreviation for docosahexaenoic acid. Polyunsaturated fatty acid from the omega-3 family found in oily fish.
Chain of changes enabling the human body’s cells to use the eaten food. During this process, eaten food is transformed in easily assimilated molecules called nutrients.
All infant food which are not breast milk or infant food (e.g. jars, gruels, homemade food). These different types of food will enrich the exclusive milk infant food and then progressively change its consistence.
The human body needs energy to maintain all its functions. Carbohydrates, lipids and proteins are the nutrients supplying energy (calories, joules)
Lipid constituents important for nutrition (source of energy) and structural elements… they can be saturated or have one or more double connexions (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acid). Omega-6 acids (contained in all oils) and omega-3 acids (present in rapeseed oil, nut oil, soya oil and oily fish) are polyunsaturated fatty acids. They are important for the cardiovascular system functions. Our food has to provide them as our organism can not produce them itself. They are crucial to the infant’s brain development and are provided by breast milk or formula milk.
Fibres are complex sugars from the wall plant, essential to the gut’s functions. The gut can not absorb them as our digestive system does not have the enzymes needed to dissipate them. They stimulate transit and are divided into 2 categories: soluble ones (pectin, gums,…) and indissoluble ones (cellulose, lignin,…). They are more or less fermentable. Some of them have a pre-biotic effect to maintain the intestinal flora.
This trace-element plays a major role against tooth decay by stimulating the hardening of the teeth enamel.
See Vitamin B9.
Simple glucose (monosaccharide), naturally present in various fruits, certain vegetable and honey and commonly known as “fruits’ sugar”.
Hypoallergenic infant food
Infant food containing hydrolysed cow’s milk proteins (i.e. which have been separated into smaller elements). These protein pieces are not recognised as strangers by the organism anymore and therefore reduce the risks of allergy to cow’s milk proteins.
Organism’s defence system producing antibodies (defence substances in the blood) against substances strange to the organism such as viruses or bacteria. Antibodies identify the stranger substances and neutralise them.
All the natural bacteria present in your intestine.
Trace-element constituent of the thyroid hormones. Sea fish and shell fish, dairy products and iodised salt are rich in iodine.
Major trace-element constituent of emoglobin and enzymes participating to the energy metabolism. Meat, eggs, certain vegetable are rich in iron. It is systematically contained in infant milk as young children are very much threatened by iron deficiency until the age of 3 years.
Major soluble protein between all cow’s milk’s soluble proteins.
Disaccharide formed by glucose and galactose. Specific milk sugar.
Intolerance to the sugar contained in the milk (lactose). The digestive enzyme called lactase is deficient or is not efficient enough.
Essential constituents of fats whose basic molecules are the fatty acids. They are our cells’ “fuel” helping to meet the energy needs as they are rich in calories and the preferred energy reserves. They transport fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K). 1 gram of lipid is equivalent to an energy of 9 calories.
Mineral acting in the nervous exchange phenomena together with calcium and potassium.
Our organism is unable to produce these essential nutrients, which are important constituents of the skeleton and the teeth. Minerals are involved in many metabolism mechanisms. Examples of minerals: calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium.
Food which can be assimilated directly and completely by living cells without being necessarily digested before hand. Nutrients assimilated thanks to nutrition. They supply the organism’s cells with the necessary tools for their structure, maintenance and development. Nutrients are classified into 2 categories: the macronutrients (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins) and the micronutrients (Vitamins, minerals, trace-elements).
These needs in nutrients are individually defined by gender, age, weight, height and each one’s physical activity. They correspond to the quantity of one or more nutrient needed to maintain normal physiological functions, to stay healthy and to overcome specific periods of life such as growth, pregnancy, breastfeeding…
Mineral important for bones and teeth formation and for the acid base. It is an essential constituent of the cells and the biological walls, acting to stock up and transport energy.
Mineral important to the acid base, water balance and nervous, muscular and cardiac functions. Mineral mainly contained in the interior of the cells.
Proteins are nutrients formed of amino acids. Essential muscular elements, they are essential for the organism’s development and constant renewing. 2 categories of proteins exist: animal proteins, rich in amino acids and plant proteins, which can lack of certain amino acids. These 2 types of proteins should be necessarily represented in a well-balanced diet. 1 gram of protein corresponds to an energy of 4 calories.
Recommended Daily Intake. It represents the daily quantity of a certain nutrient, ensuring a sufficient supply for the average population. A healthy well-balanced diet guarantees that the recommended daily intake is reached. Taking these recommendations into account prevents from deficiencies. RDIs do not consider age, gender, physical activity…
Your baby is said to suffer from regurgitations when he brings up contents from his tummy to his mouth effortless, most of the time after his meal. This is due to an increase of the abdominal pressure compared to the thoracic pressure. Regurgitations are frequent with infants and naturally disappear with the first year after birth.
Mineral mainly supplied by salt and crucial to the body’s water balance. It plays an important role in the nerve and muscle impulses.
Although these minerals are contained in food in minor quantities, they are crucial to the enzymes’ activity. The main ones are: iron, copper, zinc, fluorine, selenium, chrome, iodine.
Essential substances, supplied in small quantities by food, for the organism to function properly. They are classified into 2 categories: the liposoluble vitamins (soluble in fats) such as vitamin A, D, E and K and the water-soluble vitamins such as vitamins C and B.
Also known as retinol. Important in the infant’s growth and development, in vision (i.e. it’s name coming from retina) and skin and mucosal tissues. Sources: liver, butter, eggs, cheeses, orange plants (carrots, apricots,...) and dark green plants (spinach, beans,...)
Also known as thiamin. Important in the metabolism of carbohydrates and the nervous and muscular functions. It can be found in many types of food but in very small quantities. Nutritional yeast, wheat germs, liver, kidneys, whole wheat bread, lentils contain vitamin B1 in higher amounts than average.
Also known as riboflavin. Important in various reactions of the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. Can be found in many types of foods, especially coming from animals (liver, cheese, eggs, dairy products...). The B2 deficiency is called beriberi.
Vitamin B3 or PP
Or niacin. Supplies all the organism’s metabolic reactions with energy and is crucial to growth. Sources: in most foods except fat. Liver, meat, fish, whole wheat bread, and lentils are the best sources.
Or pantothenic acid. Participates to a healthy state of the skin, mucosal tissues and hair and helps the healing. Sources: In most foods of animal and plant origin. Particularly concentrated in meat, fish and eggs.
Important in many reactions of our organism, especially the metabolism of proteins, the synthesis of emoglobin and the red blood cells’ pigment. Sources: nutritional yeast, wheat germs, liver, meat, fish, beans, lentils, bananas...
Or biotin. Important in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. Sources: Liver, kidneys, eggs, mushrooms, lentils, meat, fish, whole wheat bread, dairy products...
Or folic acid. Crucial to the formation of nucleic acids and cells’ reproduction (red/white blood cells, nervous cells,...) Very important for the foetus to the proper closure of the neural tube. Sources: Highly concentrated in leafy greens (spinach, cress, mache. Other greens , dried vegetable and matured cheeses contain folic acid.
Or cobalamine. Participates to the red blood cells' synthesis (anti-anaemia vitamin) and to many metabolic reactions. Crucial to protein and nucleic acids’ synthesis. Preserves the skin and nervous cells. Sources: liver, kidneys, fish, meat and eggs.
Or ascorbic acid. Helps fight minor infections and participates to repair the connective tissues (bones, vessels, ligaments...). Has anti-oxidant effects (protects against free radicals). Sources: blackcurrant, kiwi, citrus, strawberries, cabbages,... Vitamin C is also found in liver and kidneys in smaller quantities.
Essential to calcium assimilation by the bones. Our organism synthesises it partly through the skin, thanks to the sun. The rest has to be supplied by food. Sources: oily fish (salmon, sardine, mackerel...), egg-yolk, liver.
Has an anti-oxidant role: protects against the free radicals (Substances produced by our organism when aging or being stress). Prevents from oxidation of our cells’ walls thus maintaining the tissues in a healthy condition. Sources: oils, margarines, nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, butter and oily fish.
World Health Organisation