Tuesday 23 January 2018

Over 90% of Mums unaware that on average babies are consuming too much protein

• Over 90% (93%) of mums are unaware that on average babies are consuming too much protein during their early development

• Almost 1 in 5 mums (19%) are aware that on average breastfed babies grow at a steadier rate than bottle fed babies

• Just 10% of mums know that protein levels in breast milk decrease during a baby’s early development

• Half of mums (50%) use the internet as a source of information on their baby’s health, with just 10% finding information from other sources such as books and educational knowledge

SMA® Nutrition is calling on Irish mums to be aware that during a baby’s early development, they require the right quality and quantity of protein to help them to grow at a steady rate. They released research which reveals that 93% of mums are unaware that on average babies are consuming too much protein during their early development. While almost 1 in 5 mums (19%) know that breastfed babies grow at a steadier rate than bottle fed babies. The research highlighted that only 9% of mums were aware that too much protein in the first 1000 days may cause rapid growth, with 42% thinking this was false.

Aveen Bannon, dietician and mum spoke at the SMA® Nutrition 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.”

SMA® Nutrition also asked mums where they find information on their baby’s needs. 55% of mums turn to healthcare professionals for advice with half (50%) of surveyed mums using the internet as a source of information. In contrast, just 10% of mums used other sources e.g.  books and educational knowledge to find information on their baby’s nutritional needs. The majority of mothers, 76%, said that they were not provided with adequate information regarding their baby’s protein requirements.

Speaking at the event, Nuala Collins, dietician and General Operations Manager, SMA® Nutrition said, “The Mums of Today Event is about opening dialogue around babies protein needs. 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.”

During the event, a review of protein requirements during the human lifecycle was referenced by speakers. Research Fellow Dr Caoileann Murphy found that older adults require additional protein in later life to preserve their muscle mass and function. As we grow from birth through to adulthood, we need to adjust our protein intake to get the optimum levels of protein for our needs. Older people need more protein, while babies need less than was previously thought for healthy growth.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The best way to feed a baby is to breastfeed, as breast milk provides the ideal balanced diet and protection against illness for your baby and also many non-nutritional benefits for both baby and mother. 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.

Further information on babies protein needs can be found here. Further information on the SMA Careline® can be found here For further information on dietary intakes of Irish infants and toddlers, can be found here

This research was conducted by iReach on behalf of SMA® Nutrition. The fieldwork dates for this project ran from 12th to 22nd January 2017. 996 working female respondents completed this research. Academic Reference: Dietary protein for optimal health: a focus on infancy and old age. Dr Caoileann Murphy, UCD Research Fellow (Review unpublished).Academic Reference: Dietary protein for optimal health: a focus on infancy and old age. Dr Caoileann Murphy, UCD Research Fellow (Review unpublished).

ZRI459b/05/17                      SMA® Nutrition Ireland

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