The First 1,000 Days.. Your Questions Answered!

You may remember that I recently posted a post all about protein and early life nutrition when it comes to the first 1,000 days of a baby's life (from conception to 2 years old), and I spoke about my own experience with Ethan and now Logan. 

As I mentioned in my recent post, protein is a key nutrient for little ones and can be found within breast milk. As the baby grows, the level of protein in breast milk decreases to support a steady rate of growth. The days from conception until baby’s 2nd birthday are really important in their development.  Making sure they get the right amount of nutrients can help shape how they grow now and also their future health. Some other bloggers taking part in the SMA Nutrition campaign had asked for questions surrounding protein and early life nutrition for Dr Ellie Cannon to answer.

I personally didn't breastfeed my boys myself, but if you did or are thinking about doing so you may find the following questions answered by Dr Ellie Cannon, from other bloggers taking part in the campaign interesting.. 

I am 5 months pregnant and would love some must have information of how to make sure my baby gets the best start in life. 

From the moment of conception, your baby starts growing fast. At this first stage of your 1,000-day journey, make sure your pregnancy diet provides the energy and nutrients you need, by eating a variety of different foods every day, including plenty of protein, dairy products, oily fish, fruit and vegetables. This all helps your baby to get the best start. For the first 6 months of your baby's life, breast milk is the only food they need. The nutrients and protein in milk your baby drinks are the foundation for their cells, muscles, bones and brain as they develop and grow. At around 6 months you’ll start introducing complementary foods to provide additional nutrients. At this stage, your little one needs the right amount of protein and nutrients to maintain a steady growth and good health.

Is there an age that you should breast feed till? Do they still need milk after this time? When should you stop giving toddlers milk at bedtime?  

There is no set age for when you should stop breastfeeding. Giving nothing but breast milk is recommended for about the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby's life. After that, 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. 

Toddler milks are suitable for children aged 1-3 years, Cows’ milk can be used as a drink from 1 year.  Milk at bedtime is part of a routine from newborns that often toddlers continue until at least 2 years of age. Don’t forget to brush their teeth after drinking milk! Milk at bedtime is a very personal decision for you and them, and most toddlers will naturally wean off milk as their bedtime routine changes. 

At what point does the protein levels in breast milk decreases? Is that before or after the 6 months’ mark when babies start weaning and getting extra nutrients from food? And does it decrease to insufficient levels to cover the baby’s requirements? 

Breast milk is dynamic - in the beginning it contains lots of high quality protein because your baby needs to grow very fast and, later on, as the baby’s needs change, the amount of protein in breast milk decreases. The protein content of breast milk decreases from the first week and every week thereafter until it starts to level out at around 3 months. Breast milk gives your baby exactly what they need for their healthy growth and development, and provided the mum is well nourished, will cover the baby’s requirements. Ensuring your baby gets the correct quality and quantity of protein can help them to grow at an appropriate rate, which could contribute to a lower risk of becoming overweight or obese in later life. 

If you'd like to, you can find out more about the importance of protein in the 1st 1000 days at www.smamums.co.uk.


In association with SMA

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