If you’ve read my previous post in collaboration with SMA Nutrition, you’ll know that I’m working with them on a great campaign.
They are aiming to help educate new parents and parents-to-be on the importance of protein and nutrition in the first 1000 days of a child’s life- from conception through to the age of two.
Protein is a key component of breast milk and actually the levels decrease as your baby grows, making sure they get the exact amount of protein needed to support healthy growth and development. Getting the right amount of protein can reduce their chance of becoming overweight or obese in later life.
Two years sounds like a long time, but trust me it whizzes by.
On my previous post I asked if any of you had any questions regarding early childhood nutrition so that I could pass them on to Dr Ellie Cannon; the spokesperson for SMA Nutrition. Here are a selection of questions and answers she was able to answer.
Thank you to those of you that left questions, and I hope you find the answers helpful.
Q1: From a nutritional view-point is cow’s milk better than toddler follow on milk? What is the difference and is follow on milk a necessity? My health visitor says it isn’t.
A1: Cows’ milk is a suitable drink from 1 year onwards and is rich in nutrients such as calcium, vitamin A, iodine and riboflavin. The Department of Health states that a good dietary supply of iron is essential from 6 months of age because baby’s iron stores deplete at this time despite their iron requirements increasing. Follow-on milks are specifically designed for the specific needs of babies from 6 months of age as part of a varied weaning diet. Toddler milks are fortified milk drinks specifically designed for the needs of toddlers from 1 year onwards, and are one way to provide your toddler with their dietary intake of Vitamin D, which alongside calcium helps to support normal growth and development of bones. Whatever you decide to choose it is important to ensure a good balanced diet in order to make sure your little one is getting what they need.
Q2: I still give my twins stage one formula. I did breastfeed for about 4 months but found it hard to keep up. They are now 19 months old. My midwife told me to keep them on stage one formula for longer because they were born a bit early due to being twins. I’ve therefore not switched them over to cows milk or the next stage of formula. When am I supposed to make the switch? They use normal milk in food and with cereal but I’m not comfortable with the idea of changing although my husband thinks they’re more than old enough.
A2: Cow’s milk is a suitable drink from 12 months, and it contains lots of important nutrients such as calcium, vitamin A, iodine and riboflavin. However, switching over is a personal decision, and if you are more comfortable using a fortified milk then toddler milks are suitable from 12 months onwards and these contain increased amounts of vitamin D and iron. You can check with your health visitor for more information on switching.
Q3: You mention the first six months of breastfeeding but I’ve been advised to breastfeed for at least two years. It that still the preferred method after six months?
A3: It is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that you breast feed exclusively for at least six months, however giving your baby breast milk alongside family foods for the first two years, or for as long as you and your baby want, will help them grow and develop healthily. There is no set age for when you should stop.
I really wish I had had access to this kind of information before I had Little London, because knowing what I do now I really would have tried harder I think to make sure my meals were nutritionally balanced during pregnancy.
Post birth I do think I suffered with the baby blues and possibly even post-natal depression. I think the combination of a traumatic birth coupled with no resting led to me being unsuccessful at breast-feeding. Everything was too overwhelming for me to handle.
I don’t begrudge putting my son on the bottle, I did after all breast feed for as long as I possibly could have so he definitely got those vital first feeds. But had I been honest about how I was feeling, I think those around me would have allowed me the bed rest I really needed, and with that recovery I would have felt stronger about approaching the task of breast-feeding.
I hope you have found this collaboration useful, and don’t forget if you have any more questions or you’re looking for more answers on the importance of protein in the fist 1000 days then you can find out more here. You can access free help and advice as well as friendly support should you need it on all aspects of early childhood nutrition.
(Disclosure: In collaboration with SMA Nutrition)