For over 90 years, SMA® Nutrition have been leading the way in terms of research into infant nutrition. At yesterdays Mums of Today Event at Dublin’s Westin Hotel, their latest findings were released, and there were more than a few surprises awaiting the assembled journalists, many of whom are parents themselves.

It was revealed that over 90% of Irish mothers are unaware of the protein needs of their baby. This may lead one to the assumption that infants are receiving inadequate amounts of protein but, in fact, the reverse is true. 93% of mums are unaware that, on average, babies are consuming excessive amounts of protein during their early development.

Adult protein requirements are markedly different from those of babies and infants. While an adult can successfully use large amounts of protein, and can excrete any excess, the same is not true of young children, due to the difference in muscle mass. Excessive protein intake during the critical first 1000 days of an infant’s life has been linked to rapid growth. In turn, rapid growth in early childhood has been linked to health issues in later life, including obesity. SMA® Nutrition want to bring this to the attention of Irish parents in order to drive home the importance of ensuring babies receive the necessary quantity and quality of protein, in order to help them grow at a steady rate.

According to Aveen Bannon, dietician, blogger, and mother, who spoke at today’s event, “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 breast fed 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 SMA® Nutrition ’s General Operations Manager, urged mothers who felt that felt they were provided with insufficient information regarding their baby’s protein requirements to seek advice from their healthcare professional.

“As a dietician, I believe it is worth noting that three quarters (76%) of mums do not feel informed about their baby’s changing protein requirements. Our research reveals that the majority of mums said that they give their baby’s future nutritional needs a lot of consideration. While half of mums use the internet to find information, we would suggest they speak to their healthcare professional who will provide them with expert advice. In addition, SMA® Nutrition has a free Careline which is available 24/7. An expert team of mums can answer questions parents may have on their baby’s wellbeing and development, as well as their nutritional needs.”

For further advice and information on infant nutrition, please contact your healthcare professional. You can get in touch with SMA® Nutrition’s Careline team free of charge at 1800 931 832. See https://www.smababy.ie/sma-careline/ for further details.

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