It is important for a paediatrician to determine that such events are not epileptic (see EPILEPSY). Generally they require no treatment other than reassurance, as recovery is spontaneous and rapid – although a small number of severely a?ected children have been helped by a PACEMAKER. Parents should avoid dramatising the attacks.... Medical Dictionary
The commonest cause of acute diarrhoea is food poisoning, the organisms involved usually being STAPHYLOCOCCUS, CLOSTRIDIUM bacteria, salmonella, E. coli O157 (see ESCHERICHIA), CAMPYLOBACTER, cryptosporidium, and Norwalk virus. A person may also acquire infective diarrhoea as a result of droplet infections from adenoviruses or echoviruses. Interference with the bacterial ?ora of the intestine may cause acute diarrhoea: this often happens to someone who travels to another country and acquires unfamiliar intestinal bacteria. Other infections include bacillary dysentery, typhoid fever and paratyphoid fevers (see ENTERIC FEVER). Drug toxicity, food allergy, food intolerance and anxiety may also cause acute diarrhoea, and habitual constipation may result in attacks of diarrhoea.
Treatment of diarrhoea in adults depends on the cause. The water and salts (see ELECTROLYTES) lost during a severe attack must be replaced to prevent dehydration. Ready-prepared mixtures of salts can be bought from a pharmacist. Antidiarrhoeal drugs such as codeine phosphate or loperamide should be used in infectious diarrhoea only if the symptoms are disabling. Antibacterial drugs may be used under medical direction. Persistent diarrhoea – longer than a week – or blood-stained diarrhoea must be investigated under medical supervision.
Diarrhoea in infants can be such a serious condition that it requires separate consideration. One of its features is that it is usually accompanied by vomiting; the result can be rapid dehydration as infants have relatively high ?uid requirements. Mostly it is causd by acute gastroenteritis caused by various viruses, most commonly ROTAVIRUSES, but also by many bacteria. In the developed world most children recover rapidly, but diarrhoea is the single greatest cause of infant mortality worldwide. The younger the infant, the higher the mortality rate.
Diarrhoea is much more rare in breast-fed babies, and when it does occur it is usually less severe. The environment of the infant is also important: the condition is highly infectious and, if a case occurs in a maternity home or a children’s hospital, it tends to spread quickly. This is why doctors prefer to treat such children at home but if hospital admission is essential, isolation and infection-control procedures are necessary.
Treatment An infant with diarrhoea should not be fed milk (unless breast-fed, when this should continue) but should be given an electrolyte mixture, available from pharmacists or on prescription, to replace lost water and salts. If the diarrhoea improves within 24 hours, milk can gradually be reintroduced. If diarrhoea continues beyond 36–48 hours, a doctor should be consulted. Any signs of dehydration require urgent medical attention; such signs include drowsiness, lack of response, loose skin, persistent crying, glazed eyes and a dry mouth and tongue.... Dictionary of Tropical Medicine
Examination of the ear includes inspection of the external ear. An auriscope is used to examine the external ear canal and the ear drum. If a more detailed inspection is required, a microscope may be used to improve illumination and magni?cation.
Tuning-fork or Rinne tests are performed to identify the presence of DEAFNESS. The examiner tests whether the vibrating fork is audible at the meatus, and then the foot of the fork is placed on the mastoid bone of the ear to discover at which of the two sites the patient can hear the vibrations for the longest time. This can help to di?erentiate between conductive and nerve deafness.
Hearing tests are carried out to determine the level of hearing. An audiometer is used to deliver a series of short tones of varying frequency to the ear, either through a pair of headphones or via a sound transducer applied directly to the skull. The intensity of the sound is gradually reduced until it is no longer heard and this represents the threshold of hearing, at that frequency, through air and bone respectively. It may be necessary to play a masking noise into the opposite ear to prevent that ear from hearing the tones, enabling each ear to be tested independently.
General symptoms The following are some of the chief symptoms of ear disease: DEAFNESS (see DEAFNESS). EARACHE is most commonly due to acute in?ammation of the middle ear. Perceived pain in this region may be referred from other areas, such as the earache commonly experienced after tonsillectomy (removal of the TONSILS) or that caused by carious teeth (see TEETH, DISORDERS OF). The treatment will depend on the underlying cause. TINNITUS or ringing in the ear often accompanies deafness, but is sometimes the only symptom of ear disease. Even normal people sometimes experience tinnitus, particularly if put in soundproofed surroundings. It may be described as hissing, buzzing, the sound of the sea, or of bells. The intensity of the tinnitis usually ?uctuates, sometimes disappearing altogether. It may occur in almost any form of ear disease, but is particularly troublesome in nerve deafness due to ageing and in noise-induced deafness. The symptom seems to originate in the brain’s subcortical regions, high in the central nervous system. It may be a symptom of general diseases such as ANAEMIA, high blood pressure and arterial disease, in which cases it is often synchronous with the pulse, and may also be caused by drugs such as QUININE, salicylates (SALICYLIC ACID and its salts, for example, ASPIRIN) and certain ANTIBIOTICS. Treatment of any underlying ear disorder or systemic disease, including DEPRESSION, may reduce or even cure the tinnitis, but unfortunately in many cases the noises persist. Management involves psychological techniques and initially an explanation of the mechanism and reassurance that tinnitus does not signify brain disease, or an impending STROKE, may help the person. Tinnitus maskers – which look like hearing aids – have long been used with a suitably pitched sound helping to ‘mask’ the condition.
Diseases of the external ear
WAX (cerumen) is produced by specialised glands in the outer part of the ear canal only. Impacted wax within the ear canal can cause deafness, tinnitis and sometimes disturbance of balance. Wax can sometimes be softened with olive oil, 5-per-cent bicarbonate of soda or commercially prepared drops, and it will gradually liquefy and ‘remove itself’. If this is ineffective, syringing by a doctor or nurse will usually remove the wax but sometimes it is necessary for a specialist (otologist) to remove it manually with instruments. Syringing should not be done if perforation of the tympanic membrane (eardrum) is suspected. FOREIGN BODIES such as peas, beads or buttons may be found in the external ear canal, especially in children who have usually introduced them themselves. Live insects may also be trapped in the external canal causing intense irritation and noise, and in such cases spirit drops are ?rst instilled into the ear to kill the insect. Except in foreign bodies of vegetable origin, where swelling and pain may occur, syringing may be used to remove some foreign bodies, but often removal by a specialist using suitable instrumentation and an operating microscope is required. In children, a general anaesthetic may be needed. ACUTE OTITIS EXTERNA may be a di?use in?ammation or a boil (furuncle) occurring in the outer ear canal. The pinna is usually tender on movement (unlike acute otitis media – see below) and a discharge may be present. Initially treatment should be local, using magnesium sulphate paste or glycerine and 10-per-cent ichthaminol. Topical antibiotic drops can be used and sometimes antibiotics by mouth are necessary, especially if infection is acute. Clotrimazole drops are a useful antifungal treatment. Analgesics and locally applied warmth should relieve the pain.
CHRONIC OTITIS EXTERNA producing pain and discharge, can be caused by eczema, seborrhoeic DERMATITIS or PSORIASIS. Hair lotions and cosmetic preparations may trigger local allergic reactions in the external ear, and the chronic disorder may be the result of swimming or use of dirty towels. Careful cleaning of the ear by an ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat) surgeon and topical antibiotic or antifungal agents – along with removal of any precipitating cause – are the usual treatments. TUMOURS of the ear can arise in the skin of the auricle, often as a result of exposure to sunlight, and can be benign or malignant. Within the ear canal itself, the commonest tumours are benign outgrowths from the surrounding bone, said to occur in swimmers as a result of repeated exposure to cold water. Polyps may result from chronic infection of the ear canal and drum, particularly in the presence of a perforation. These polyps are soft and may be large enough to ?ll the ear canal, but may shrink considerably after treatment of the associated infection.
Diseases of the middle ear
OTITIS MEDIA or infection of the middle ear, usually occurs as a result of infection spreading up the Eustachian tubes from the nose, throat or sinuses. It may follow a cold, tonsillitis or sinusitis, and may also be caused by swimming and diving where water and infected secretions are forced up the Eustachian tube into the middle ear. Primarily it is a disease of children, with as many as 1.5 million cases occurring in Britain every year. Pain may be intense and throbbing or sharp in character. The condition is accompanied by deafness, fever and often TINNITUS.
In infants, crying may be the only sign that something is wrong – though this is usually accompanied by some localising manifestation such as rubbing or pulling at the ear. Examination of the ear usually reveals redness, and sometimes bulging, of the ear drum. In the early stages there is no discharge, but in the later stages there may be a discharge from perforation of the ear drum as a result of the pressure created in the middle ear by the accumulated pus. This is usually accompanied by an immediate reduction in pain.
Treatment consists of the immediate administration of an antibiotic, usually one of the penicillins (e.g. amoxicillin). In the majority of cases no further treatment is required, but if this does not quickly bring relief then it may be necessary to perform a myringotomy, or incision of the ear drum, to drain pus from the middle ear. When otitis media is treated immediately with su?cient dosage of the appropriate antibiotic, the chances of any permanent damage to the ear or to hearing are reduced to a negligible degree, as is the risk of any complications such as mastoiditis (discussed later in this section). CHRONIC OTITIS MEDIA WITH EFFUSION or glue ear, is the most common in?ammatory condition of the middle ear in children, to the extent that one in four children in the UK entering school has had an episode of ‘glue ear’. It is characterised by a persistent sticky ?uid in the middle ear (hence the name); this causes a conductive-type deafness. It may be associated with enlarged adenoids (see NOSE, DISORDERS OF) which impair the function of the Eustachian tube. If the hearing impairment is persistent and causes problems, drainage of the ?uid, along with antibiotic treatment, may be needed – possibly in conjunction with removal of the adenoids. The insertion of grommets (ventilation tubes) was for a time standard treatment, but while hearing is often restored, there may be no long-term gain and even a risk of damage to the tympanic membrane, so the operation is less popular than it was a decade or so ago. MASTOIDITIS is a serious complication of in?ammation of the middle ear, the incidence of which has been dramatically reduced by the introduction of antibiotics. In?ammation in this cavity usually arises by direct spread of acute or chronic in?ammation from the middle ear. The signs of this condition include swelling and tenderness of the skin behind the ear, redness and swelling inside the ear, pain in the side of the head, high fever, and a discharge from the ear. The management of this condition in the ?rst instance is with antibiotics, usually given intravenously; however, if the condition fails to improve, surgical treatment is necessary. This involves draining any pus from the middle ear and mastoid, and removing diseased lining and bone from the mastoid.
Diseases of the inner ear
MENIÈRE’S DISEASE is a common idiopathic disorder of ENDOLYMPH control in the semicircular canals (see EAR), characterised by the triad of episodic VERTIGO with deafness and tinnitus. The cause is unknown and usually one ear only is a?ected at ?rst, but eventually the opposite ear is a?ected in approximately 50 per cent of cases. The onset of dizziness is often sudden and lasts for up to 24 hours. The hearing loss is temporary in the early stages, but with each attack there may be a progressive nerve deafness. Nausea and vomiting often occur. Treatment during the attacks includes rest and drugs to control sickness. Vasodilator drugs such as betahistine hydrochloride may be helpful. Surgical treatment is sometimes required if crippling attacks of dizziness persist despite these measures. OTOSCLEROSIS A disorder of the middle ear that results in progressive deafness. Often running in families, otosclerosis a?ects about one person in 200; it customarily occurs early in adult life. An overgrowth of bone ?xes the stapes (the innermost bone of the middle ear) and stops sound vibrations from being transmitted to the inner ear. The result is conductive deafness. The disorder usually a?ects both ears. Those a?ected tend to talk quietly and deafness increases over a 10–15 year period. Tinnitus often occurs, and occasionally vertigo.
Abnormal hearing tests point to the diagnosis; the deafness may be partially overcome with a hearing aid but surgery is eventually needed. This involves replacing the stapes bone with a synthetic substitute (stapedectomy). (See also OTIC BAROTRAUMA.)... Medical Dictionary
The outer coat consists of the sclera and the cornea; their junction is called the limbus. SCLERA This is white, opaque, and constitutes the posterior ?ve-sixths of the outer coat. It is made of dense ?brous tissue. The sclera is visible anteriorly, between the eyelids, as the ‘white of the eye’. Posteriorly and anteriorly it is covered by Tenons capsule, which in turn is covered by transparent conjunctiva. There is a hole in the sclera through which nerve ?bres from the retina leave the eye in the optic nerve. Other smaller nerve ?bres and blood vessels also pass through the sclera at di?erent points. CORNEA This constitutes the transparent, colourless anterior one-sixth of the eye. It is transparent in order to allow light into the eye and is more steeply curved than the sclera. Viewed from in front, the cornea is roughly circular. Most of the focusing power of the eye is provided by the cornea (the lens acts as the ‘?ne adjustment’). It has an outer epithelium, a central stroma and an inner endothelium. The cornea is supplied with very ?ne nerve ?bres which make it exquisitely sensitive to pain. The central cornea has no blood supply – it relies mainly on aqueous humour for nutrition. Blood vessels and large nerve ?bres in the cornea would prevent light from entering the eye. LIMBUS is the junction between cornea and sclera. It contains the trabecular meshwork, a sieve-like structure through which aqueous humour leaves the eye.
The middle coat (uveal tract) consists of the choroid, ciliary body and iris. CHOROID A highly vascular sheet of tissue lining the posterior two-thirds of the sclera. The network of vessels provides the blood supply for the outer half of the retina. The blood supply of the choroid is derived from numerous ciliary vessels which pierce the sclera in front and behind. CILIARY BODY A ring of tissue extending 6 mm back from the anterior limitation of the sclera. The various muscles of the ciliary body by their contractions and relaxations are responsible for changing the shape of the lens during ACCOMMODATION. The ciliary body is lined by cells that secrete aqueous humour. Posteriorly, the ciliary body is continuous with the choroid; anteriorly it is continuous with the iris. IRIS A ?attened muscular diaphragm that is attached at its periphery to the ciliary body, and has a round central opening – the pupil. By contraction and relaxation of the muscles of the iris, the pupil can be dilated or constricted (dilated in the dark or when aroused; constricted in bright light and for close work). The iris forms a partial division between the anterior chamber and the posterior chamber of the eye. It lies in front of the lens and forms the back wall of the anterior chamber. The iris is visible from in front, through the transparent cornea, as the ‘coloured part of the eye’. The amount and distribution of iris pigment determine the colour of the iris. The pupil is merely a hole in the centre of the iris and appears black.
The inner layer The retina is a multilayered tissue (ten layers in all) which extends from the edges of the optic nerve to line the inner surface of the choroid up to the junction of ciliary body and choroid. Here the true retina ends at the ora serrata. The retina contains light-sensitive cells of two types: (i) cones – cells that operate at high and medium levels of illumination; they subserve ?ne discrimination of vision and colour vision; (ii) rods – cells that function best at low light intensity and subserve black-and-white vision.
The retina contains about 6 million cones and about 100 million rods. Information from them is conveyed by the nerve ?bres which are in the inner part of the retina, and leave the eye in the optic nerve. There are no photoreceptors at the optic disc (the point where the optic nerve leaves the eye) and therefore there is no light perception from this small area. The optic disc thus produces a physiological blind spot in the visual ?eld.
The retina can be subdivided into several areas: PERIPHERAL RETINA contains mainly rods and a few scattered cones. Visual acuity from this area is fairly coarse. MACULA LUTEA So-called because histologically it looks like a yellow spot. It occupies an area 4·5 mm in diameter lateral to the optic disc. This area of specialised retina can produce a high level of visual acuity. Cones are abundant here but there are few rods. FOVEA CENTRALIS A small central depression at the centre of the macula. Here the cones are tightly packed; rods are absent. It is responsible for the highest levels of visual acuity.
The chambers of the eye There are three: the anterior and posterior chambers, and the vitreous cavity. ANTERIOR CHAMBER Limited in front by the inner surface of the cornea, behind by the iris and pupil. It contains a transparent clear watery ?uid, the aqueous humour. This is constantly being produced by cells of the ciliary body and constantly drained away through the trabecular meshwork. The trabecular meshwork lies in the angle between the iris and inner surface of the cornea. POSTERIOR CHAMBER A narrow space between the iris and pupil in front and the lens behind. It too contains aqueous humour in transit from the ciliary epithelium to the anterior chamber, via the pupil. VITREOUS CAVITY The largest cavity of the eye. In front it is bounded by the lens and behind by the retina. It contains vitreous humour.
Lens Transparent, elastic and biconvex in cross-section, it lies behind the iris and in front of the vitreous cavity. Viewed from the front it is roughly circular and about 10 mm in diameter. The diameter and thickness of the lens vary with its accommodative state. The lens consists of: CAPSULE A thin transparent membrane surrounding the cortex and nucleus. CORTEX This comprises newly made lens ?bres that are relatively soft. It separates the capsule on the outside from the nucleus at the centre of the lens. NUCLEUS The dense central area of old lens ?bres that have become compacted by new lens ?bres laid down over them. ZONULE Numerous radially arranged ?bres attached between the ciliary body and the lens around its circumference. Tension in these zonular ?bres can be adjusted by the muscles of the ciliary body, thus changing the shape of the lens and altering its power of accommodation. VITREOUS HUMOUR A transparent jelly-like structure made up of a network of collagen ?bres suspended in a viscid ?uid. Its shape conforms to that of the vitreous cavity within which it is contained: that is, it is spherical except for a shallow concave depression on its anterior surface. The lens lies in this depression.
Eyelids These are multilayered curtains of tissue whose functions include spreading of the tear ?lm over the front of the eye to prevent desiccation; protection from injury or external irritation; and to some extent the control of light entering the eye. Each eye has an upper and lower lid which form an elliptical opening (the palpebral ?ssure) when the eyes are open. The lids meet at the medial canthus and lateral canthus respectively. The inner medial canthus is ?xed; the lateral canthus more mobile. An epicanthus is a fold of skin which covers the medial canthus in oriental races.
Each lid consists of several layers. From front to back they are: very thin skin; a sheet of muscle (orbicularis oculi, whose ?bres are concentric around the palpebral ?ssure and which produce closure of the eyelids); the orbital septum (modi?ed near the lid margin to form the tarsal plates); and ?nally, lining the back surface of the lid, the conjunctiva (known here as tarsal conjunctiva). At the free margin of each lid are the eyelashes, the openings of tear glands which lie within the lid, and the lacrimal punctum. Toward the medial edge of each lid is an elevation known as the papilla: the lacrimal punctum opens into this papilla. The punctum forms the open end of the cannaliculus, part of the tear-drainage mechanism.
Orbit The bony cavity within which the eye is held. The orbits lie one on either side of the nose, on the front of the skull. They a?ord considerable protection for the eye. Each is roughly pyramidal in shape, with the apex pointing backwards and the base forming the open anterior part of the orbit. The bone of the anterior orbital margin is thickened to protect the eye from injury. There are various openings into the posterior part of the orbit – namely the optic canal, which allows the optic nerve to leave the orbit en route for the brain, and the superior orbital and inferior orbital ?ssures, which allow passage of nerves and blood vessels to and from the orbit. The most important structures holding the eye within the orbit are the extra-ocular muscles, a suspensory ligament of connective tissue that forms a hammock on which the eye rests and which is slung between the medial and lateral walls of the orbit. Finally, the orbital septum, a sheet of connective tissue extending from the anterior margin of the orbit into the lids, helps keep the eye in place. A pad of fat ?lls in the orbit behind the eye and acts as a cushion for the eye.
Conjunctiva A transparent mucous membrane that extends from the limbus over the anterior sclera or ‘white of the eye’. This is the bulbar conjunctiva. The conjunctiva does not cover the cornea. Conjunctiva passes from the eye on to the inner surface of the eyelid at the fornices and is continuous with the tarsal conjunctiva. The semilunar fold is the vertical crescent of conjunctiva at the medial aspect of the palpebral ?ssure. The caruncle is a piece of modi?ed skin just within the inner canthus.
Eye muscles The extra-ocular muscles. There are six in all, the four rectus muscles (superior, inferior, medial and lateral rectus muscles) and two oblique muscles (superior and inferior oblique muscles). The muscles are attached at various points between the bony orbit and the eyeball. By their combined action they move the eye in horizontal and vertical gaze. They also produce torsional movement of the eye (i.e. clockwise or anticlockwise movements when viewed from the front).
Lacrimal apparatus There are two components: a tear-production system, namely the lacrimal gland and accessory lacrimal glands; and a drainage system.
Tears keep the front of the eye moist; they also contain nutrients and various components to protect the eye from infection. Crying results from excess tear production. The drainage system cannot cope with the excess and therefore tears over?ow on to the face. Newborn babies do not produce tears for the ?rst three months of life. LACRIMAL GLAND Located below a small depression in the bony roof of the orbit. Numerous tear ducts open from it into predominantly the upper lid. Accessory lacrimal glands are found in the conjunctiva and within the eyelids: the former open directly on to the surface of the conjunctiva; the latter on to the eyelid margin. LACRIMAL DRAINAGE SYSTEM This consists of: PUNCTUM An elevated opening toward the medial aspect of each lid. Each punctum opens into a canaliculus. CANALICULUS A ?ne tube-like structure run-ning within the lid, parallel to the lid margin. The canaliculi from upper and lower lid join to form a common canaliculus which opens into the lacrimal sac. LACRIMAL SAC A small sac on the side of the nose which opens into the nasolacrimal duct. During blinking, the sac sucks tears into itself from the canaliculus. Tears then drain by gravity down the nasolacrimal duct. NASOLACRIMAL DUCT A tubular structure which runs down through the wall of the nose and opens into the nasal cavity.
Visual pathway Light stimulates the rods and cones of the retina. Electrochemical messages are then passed to nerve ?bres in the retina and then via the optic nerve to the optic chiasm. Here information from the temporal (outer) half of each retina continues to the same side of the brain. Information from the nasal (inner) half of each retina crosses to the other side within the optic chiasm. The rearranged nerve ?bres then pass through the optic tract to the lateral geniculate body, then the optic radiation to reach the visual cortex in the occipital lobe of the brain.... Medical Dictionary
Breast feeding Unless there is a genuine contraindication, every baby should be breast fed. The nutritional components of human milk are in the ideal proportions to promote the healthy growth of the human newborn. The mother’s milk, especially colostrum (the ?uid secreted before full lactation is established) contains immune cells and antibodies that increase the baby’s resistance to infection. From the mother’s point of view, breast feeding helps the womb to return to its normal size and helps her to lose excess body fat gained during pregnancy. Most importantly, breast feeding promotes intimate contact between mother and baby. A ?nal point to be borne in mind, however, is that drugs taken by a mother can be excreted in her milk. These include antibiotics, sedatives, tranquillisers, alcohol, nicotine and high-dose steroids or vitamins. Fortunately this is rarely a cause of trouble. (See also main entry on BREAST FEEDING.)
Arti?cial feeding Unmodi?ed cows’ milk is not a satisfactory food for the human newborn and may cause dangerous metabolic imbalance. If breast feeding is not feasible, one of the many commerciallly available formula milks should be used. Most of these are made from cows’ milk which has been modi?ed to re?ect the composition of human milk as closely as possible. For the rare infant who develops cows’-milk-protein intolerance, a milk based on soya-bean protein is indicated.
Feeding and weight gain The main guide as to whether an infant is being adequately fed is the weight. During the ?rst days of life a healthy infant loses weight, but should by the end of the second week return to birth weight. From then on, weight gain should be approximately 6oz. (170g) each week.
The timing of feeds re?ects social convention rather than natural feeding patterns. Among the most primitive hunter-gatherer tribes of South America, babies are carried next to the breast and allowed to suckle at will. Fortunately for developed society, however, babies can be conditioned to intermittent feedings.
As the timing of breast feeding is ?exible – little or no preparation time being required – mothers can choose to feed their babies on demand. Far from spoiling the baby, demand feeding is likely to lead to a contented infant, the only necessary caution being that a crying baby is not always a hungry baby.
In general, a newborn will require feeding every two to four hours and, if well, is unlikely to sleep for more than six hours. After the ?rst months, a few lucky parents will ?nd their infant sleeping through the night.
Weaning Weaning on to solid foods is again a matter of individuality. Most babies will become dissatis?ed with a milk-only diet at around six months and develop enthusiasm for cereal-based weaning foods. Also at about this time they enjoy holding objects and transferring them to their mouths – the mouth being an important sense organ in infants. It is logical to include food items that they can hold, as this clearly brings the baby pleasure at this time. Introduction of solids before the age of four months is unusual and best avoided. The usual reason given for early weaning is that the baby appears hungry, but this is unlikely to be the case; crying due to COLIC, for example, is more probable. Some mothers take the baby’s desire to suck – say, on their ?nger – as a sign of hunger when this is, in fact, re?ex activity.
Delaying the start of weaning beyond nine months is nutritionally undesirable. As weaning progresses, the infant’s diet requires less milk. Once established on a varied solid diet, breast and formula milks can be safely replaced with cows’ milk. There is, however, no nutritional contraindication to continued breast feeding until the mother wishes to stop.
It is during weaning that infants realise they can arouse extreme maternal anxiety by refusing to eat. This can lead to force-feeding and battles of will which may culminate in a breakdown of the mother-child relationship. To avoid this, parents must resist the temptation to coax the child to eat. If the child refuses solid food, the meal should be taken away with a minimum of fuss. Children’s appetites re?ect their individual genetic structure and a well child will eat enough to grow and maintain satisfactory weight gain. If a child is not eating properly, weight gain will be inadequate over a prolonged period and an underlying illness is the most likely cause. Indeed, failure to thrive is the paediatrician’s best clue to chronic illness.
Advice on feeding Many sources of con?icting advice are available to new parents. It is impossible to satisfy everyone, and ultimately it is the well-being of the mother and infant and the closeness of their relationship that matter. In general, mothers should be wary of rigid advice. An experienced midwife, health visitor or well-baby-clinic nursing sister are among the most reliable sources of information.
Protein Fat per Sugar Calories per cent cent per cent per cent
Human milk 1·1 4·2 7·0 70 Cows’ milk 3·5 3·9 4·6 66
Composition of human and cows’ milk... Medical Dictionary