Many people underestimate the role of a pediatric nutritionist in a child’s life. Others assume that nutritionists are only helpful in matters of healthy eating and weight loss. But nutritionists play more health roles than that. A pediatric nutritionist specializes in infants’ and children’s feeding habits, a critical field because children constantly grow and develop.
Additionally, some specific health diagnoses in infants and children may require a pediatric nutritionist’s help. Let’s look at some roles of a pediatric nutritionist in a child’s life.
Breastfeeding guidance and support
A mother should learn as much as possible about breastfeeding education that a pediatrician nutritionist provides during pregnancy. Pediatric dieticians specialize in pediatric nutrition and can provide specific training on breastfeeding infants.
They play a significant role in educating and training mothers on how to breastfeed, what to expect, different breastfeeding techniques, and continued support for new parents. Even after the baby’s birth, a pediatric nutritionist can continue to provide training, troubleshoot breastfeeding problems and perform bodyweight checks to ensure the infant is getting enough to support their growing body.
If the baby shows some signs of intolerance, a pediatric nutritionist can help the mother adjust to their diet to prevent the allergies.
Identify and address food sensitivities.
Infants and children are delicate and prone to food sensitivities and allergies. Unfortunately, food sensitivities in infants can be hard to diagnose, even with blood tests. You may notice that your child has chronic symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, aversion to food, fussiness, eczema, runny nose, diaper rash, and ear infections.
Thankfully a pediatric nutritionist can guide you towards eliminating foods that might be causing such symptoms and help you develop a nutritionally sufficient diet plan.
Nutrition care for digestive problems
You can often alleviate and eliminate digestive problems in babies by making diet changes. A pediatric nutritionist can recommend diet changes to address babies’ constipation, diarrhea, stomach upsets, bloating, and reflux. They are also trained to manage nutrition for unique digestive problems and GI disorders like IBS, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, etc.
Special nutrition care for preemies
As you may already be aware, preemies have special nutrition needs than babies born full term. Some of them, especially those born at or below 34weeks, may have challenges breastfeeding and may not be taking sufficient volumes to suit their growth needs. This is where a pediatrician nutritionist comes in to strategize and ensure the baby gets enough nutrition. This support is critical as a baby transitions to solid foods and during their toddler years when they tend to be picky.
Nutrition care for children with special needs
Pediatric nutritionists also have the proper training and skills to handle nutrition for children with special needs and different conditions in which nourishment, feeding, and growth are affected. Some include cerebral palsy, chronic respiratory issues, developmental disabilities, tube feedings, cardiac defects, etc.
We cannot underestimate the role of a pediatric nutritionist in a child’s life. They can help with breastfeeding, weaning, and nutrient care for preemies and children with special needs, among other roles.