The Metabolism and Digestion of Babies

The Metabolism and Digestion of Babies

Babies go through incredible changes as they eat and grow. With a fully-functional digestive system, babies consume food and break it down chemically to get the nutrients out of it. The main reason that doctors recommend soft foods for infants is that their digestion processes happen slightly differently than adults. The metabolism of a baby depends on genetics as well as breastfeeding. Breast fed infants are less likely to be obese when they get older. While the infant is still young, their organs don’t perform as well as an adult’s, which causes different foods to be digested differently.

The enzymes that infants release in their saliva are vital to appropriate digestions. Infants have larger tongues in relation to their cranial capacity. Extra fats in the mouth help them suck on bottles and for breastfeeding. The infant’s stomach can only hold between 60 and 90 milliliters of fluids at a time. Adult stomachs can comfortably hold up to 14 cups at a time.

With less fluids going through their bodies than adults, the babies need slower metabolisms to help retain fluids longer. The small intestine truly is small in babies, as they measure between 250 to 300 centimeters in infants. Adult small intestines can be as long as 700 to 800 centimeters. Adult babies can produce, store, and metabolize fluids at larger volumes and faster rates than infants.

Feeding a baby too much can slow their metabolisms even more, in addition to causing digestion problems. Quick growth occurs between 6 months and 2 years for babies in terms of their metabolic rates and processes. Digestion issues in infants can cause pain and irritation. Some formulas exist to help babies deal with digesting food easier at their younger ages. Gas buildups cause pressure and bloating, a baby may be crying to get you to help them relieve their symptoms.

Babies can’t exercise much in the beginning stages of their lives. Their metabolic rate at this point is totally dependent on what they eat and how their bodies process it. Adults can lift weights, perform cardiovascular exercises, and do many more things to help speed up metabolic rates. Healthy diets are even more important for infants than adults for this reason.

Certain foods are off limits for babies because the enzymes in their saliva aren’t yet strong enough to aid in digestion. Foods have to be broken down as quickly as possible before they reach the stomach to avoid irritation, and babies can’t do that. Taking care of a baby means watching their nutrition carefully.

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