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Protein: the right amount for baby?

Meeting your baby’s protein needs in the crucial first 1000 days is important. Fortunately, breast milk has the right amount of protein for your baby. 

2 mins to read Dec 28, 2021

The best thing you can do to ensure your baby gets the right amount of protein is to breastfeed. It’s the ideal source of protein, and overall nutrition, for babies because it adapts to meet their changing needs. This means you need not worry that your breast milk will have too much (or too little) protein.

Preventing health problems now and in the future

“Breastfed babies are less likely to develop common childhood infections such as diarrhea, serious colds, or ear and throat infections. And there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that breastfeeding is linked to a baby’s healthy growth, including his brain development, and later speech, intelligence, and academic performance,” explains Dr. Evelyn Spivey-Krobath, PhD, Nutrition Scientist at Nestlé Nutrition. Breast milk protein plays an important role in your baby’s health by providing immune factors, as well as amino acids for brain development.

Perfect portions

“Breastfeeding is associated with a healthy, desirable rate of weight gain during infancy and can help your baby stay on an appropriate growth curve. This is partly because of the tailored level of protein breast milk contains. Breastfeeding also provides a moderate but consistent protective effect against later obesity,” explains Dr. Spivey-Krobath.

The length of time you breastfeed for also has an effect. “The longer a child was breastfed, the lower his risk of being overweight or obese at the age of five to six,” adds Dr. Spivey-Krobath. Public health experts have identified tackling childhood obesity and weight issues as a crucial way to reduce health problems in later childhood and adulthood. “Breastfeeding your baby is the best way of ensuring your baby grows up healthily.”

Your action plan

[] Do… breastfeed your baby exclusively in the first six months. Breast milk contains the right amount and quality of protein to meet your baby’s changing needs as he grows. 

[] Do… wait until your little one is at least 9 months of age and eating a variety of iron-rich complementary foods before giving them whole cow’s milk.

Sources

  • Joint Statement of Health Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Birth to Six Months. 2012. Joint Statement of Health Canada, Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada, and Breastfeeding Committee for Canada. Nutrition for Healthy Term Infants: Recommendations from Six to 24 Months. 2014.  

  • Agostoni C, Braegger C, Decsi T et al. Breast-feeding: A commentary by the ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2009; 49(1):112–25.  

      

  • Victora CG, Bahl R, Barrios AJ et al. Lancet Breastfeeding Series Group. Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. Lancet 2016; 387(10017):475-90. 

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