Your questions answered with #SMAnutrition

You may have read my post a few weeks ago in which I shared some information from SMA nutrition about the importance of getting the right nutrition for your baby in their first 1,000 days – from conception to two years old. It’s especially important that your baby gets the right amount of protein – their protein needs decrease as they grow – as this can help to ensure that they grow at a steady rate.

We are now well into our first few weeks of weaning with Gabe and he’s really enjoying trying lots of different foods – even though he’s not actually managing to eat very much yet! I know though that he is still getting all the nutrition he needs from his milk at the moment. There’s a saying that ‘food is for fun until they’re one’ – for now weaning is all about trying new tastes and textures and just getting used to the mechanics of eating. I’m trying to make sure that Gabe gets plenty of chance to try different things and I’m sure it won’t be long until he really gets the hang of it!

Baby corn

In my last post I asked if you had any questions for medic and weekly health columnist Dr Ellie Cannon and below you can find the answers to some of the questions that were asked by some of the other bloggers who wrote about the first 1,000 days too…

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.

Have you any tips on how I can factor in bottles of expressed milk too? Do I need to stick to my pregnancy diet during breastfeeding months (no soft cheese etc.)?

Bottles of expressed milk are a popular choice for mums who are breastfeeding. It is also good to have the convenience of both bottle and breastfeeding, for those unexpected mummy absences! A nice time to give a bottle of expressed milk is a dream feed, (dream feed is a calm, quiet feed around 10.30/11pm. It is called the dream feed as your baby is usually fast asleep and will probably take the feed with her eyes closed), or an evening when dad is at home to join in. Once you have banked up enough breast milk, you could make that a part of your regular routine.

When you are breastfeeding, your diet is really important for nourishing yourself and your little one. A healthy diet includes eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day, starchy foods, plenty of fibre, protein, dairy foods and drinking plenty of fluids.  Eating fish while breastfeeding is good for your health and your baby’s, but while you’re breastfeeding you should have no more than two portions of oily fish a week. Also, caffeine can reach your baby through your breast milk and may keep them awake. It’s advised that pregnant and breastfeeding women restrict their caffeine intake to less than 300mg a day (just over two mugs of filter coffee).  While breastfeeding, it’s recommended you take supplements containing 10 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin D each day. You can get all the other vitamins and minerals you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

My question would be: if mothers do not breastfeed their child does formula contain the same amount of protein as breast milk? Breast milk protein is unique and adapts to your baby’s growth and relative requirements, this means the level of protein can increase or decrease based on the baby’s needs, unlike in baby formula where the level will stay the same.

Feeding your baby, from the early newborn days until they are toddlers telling you what they do and don’t like (and beyond) can seem like such a minefield sometimes but I think as long as you follow your instincts and make sure your child is eating a healthy, balanced diet then you can’t go too far wrong. And if there is anything you aren’t sure about then there is plenty of help and information available from your health visitor and on line in places like the SMA nutrition website.

*This post is in association with SMA nutrition

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