The tale of two digestive systems – young children vs. adults – and what it means for mums

Mums, knowledge is power! If you understand the differences between the digestive system of a young child and an adult, you will be able to decide what is best for your baby in terms of food and nutrition.

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Are you the mum of a young child?

If yes, you must be giving her some kind of milk. But do you know what’s best for her?

Mum, knowledge is power, and if you understand the differences between the digestive system of a young child and an adult, you will be able to choose the best source of nutrition for your child.

The Digestive System of a Young Child

The digestive system of a young child is still in the process of maturing, and that makes it different from an adult’s digestive system.

“Infants and children are not simply small adults, especially when it comes to feeding and nourishing their little bodies,” says Lawrence B. Palevsky, MD, FAAP, DABHM.

“They are less able than adults to receive, transform and assimilate the nutrients given to them. Infants and children are born with immature digestive systems. Digestive enzymes are not as plentiful and efficient. Intestinal materials, including undesirable particles, are more readily absorbed into the bloodstream through the porous lining of the digestive tract.”

What’s more, children’s digestive systems are weaker than an adult’s. That means parents need to be extra careful with the food they choose to give their kids. According to Palevsky, “Their digestive capacity may be weakened and impaired due to an early exposure to poor dietary choices and environmental stressors. This weakness can persist well into adulthood increasing the likelihood of chronic childhood and adult illnesses.”1

 

Digestion of Lactose and Protein in Toddlers

In her early life, your baby's digestive system is still developing. For example, it will go through many changes before it develops the ability to produce adequate enzymes to digest some kinds of food. This includes the nutrients found in milk, such as lactose and protein.

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Since young children can't digest protein and lactose as well as adults, they find it harder to digest milk. If they do drink milk, this may cause symptoms of digestive discomfort such as vomiting , gas, diarrhoea, and irritability.

What Does This Mean for Your Child’s Nutrition?

Since the big part of nutrition for most young children is milk, parents should be smart in choosing milk for their children. Parents’ choice of milk may have a significant impact on a child’s digestive system.That’s why it makes sense for young children to switch to one formulated with smaller protein molecules and low lactose – to help support their maturing digestive system.

Support Your Baby’s Maturing Digestive System

With the latest advances in paediatric nutrition, Enfamil A+ Gentlease Stage 2 and Enfagrow A+ Gentlease Stage 3 are formulated with partially hydrolyzed protein and low lactose content for easier digestion.

Mums, now that you know the difference between an adult’s and an infant’s digestive systems, you will appreciate the crucial role your choice of milk for your child plays in supporting her delicate tummy. 

Reference:

1https://www.northportwellnesscenter.com/palevsky/pdf/Holistic_Perspectiv.pdf