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01st Oct 2019

This is how many Irish mums are unaware of how much protein their babies need

Trine Jensen-Burke

When you are a new mum, one of the things you will probably fret over the most is your baby’s nutrition and growth.

It is no wonder, really, that so many mums find this part of motherhood a little overwhelming and confusing.

According to a study conducted by iReach on behalf of SMA® Nutrition, approximately half of us turn to our healthcare professionals when we have questions about our baby’s nutrition, while the other half rely on the internet for finding information about our baby’s health.

One thing many mums admitted to not even being aware of is that, on average, babies are consuming too much protein during their early development – something which can negatively impact their health in later life. In fact, according to the 2017 study of 996 women, a whopping 90 percent of mums were unaware about how their baby’s protein needs changes over time, and only 19 percent knew that breastfed babies grow at a steadier rate than bottle fed babies.

This is what dietician and mum Aveen Bannon had to say:

As a baby develops, the level of protein in breast milk decreases to meet a baby’s changing needs. According to SMA® Nutrition research, just 10% of mums are aware of this. Some 61% of respondents believed that the level of protein either increased or that it remained the same. For both breast and bottle fed babies, it is essential their protein intake changes to meet their requirements at different stages in their development. Research has proven that on average breastfed babies grow at a steadier rate than bottle fed babies and protein intake is a big factor in this. This growth rate is associated with better health outcomes in later life, for example, a reduced risk of being overweight or obese in later life.”

Nuala Collins, dietician and General Operations Manager, SMA® Nutrition, explains: “As a dietician, I believe it is worth noting that three-quarters (76 percent) of mums do not feel informed about their baby’s changing protein requirements, and our research revealing that the majority of mums said that they give their baby’s future nutritional needs a lot of consideration.”

Collins tells Irish mums to not be afraid to ask the experts when you feel uncertain about any aspect of your baby’s wellbeing.

“We would suggest mums speak to their healthcare professional who will provide them with expert advice,” Collins explains.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: We recommend that you speak to your healthcare professional when deciding on your choice of feeding your baby. Professional guidance should also be sought on the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding. If you do choose to breastfeed, it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Infant formula is intended to replace breast milk when mothers choose not to breastfeed or if for some reason they are unable to do so. A decision not to breastfeed, or to introduce partial bottle-feeding, will reduce the supply of breast milk. If for any reason you choose not to breastfeed, do remember that such a decision can be difficult to reverse. Using infant formula also has social and financial implications which must be considered. Infant formula should always be prepared, used and stored as instructed on the label, in order to avoid risks to a baby’s health.