With so many new and expecting Mum’s out there, I thought I would post a little about supplementation of infant formulas.
Whilst I am not a mother myself, I am a female - so a) I am aware of the pressures surrounding body image, and b) having some beautiful close friends with newborns I can see that breast feeding is by no means an easy feat for all.
There is an enormous amount of pressure on new Mum's that breast is best and you can often set your self-expectations high that if for some reason you cannot breast feed, you feel that you have failed. This post is not to promote one option over the other, but to provide some information on what to look for should you choose to formula feed.
The ideal and preferred food in providing optimal nutrition for healthy term infants is through human milk. It has a complex fat structure that is critical for infant growth. Use of formula for infants is becoming an increasingly new option, but not all formulas are created equal or mirror the complete nutritional profile of breast milk.
The major long chain poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) in human milk are; docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA). These are recognised as a nutrient fundamental to the development of an infant’s central nervous system, brain and visual acuity. They are also a fundamental components in cell membrane and signal transmission.
Deficiencies of long chain PUFA’s in infants can lead to poor growth and impact both brain and eye development. Deficiencies are more common in pre-term infants, or those with very low birth weight. This is due to 80% of the total amounts of DHA and AA present in neonatal tissues being accumulated during the last trimester of pregnancy.
Studies comparing the effects of supplementation of formula with long chain PUFA’s compared to formula without these has shown increased visual acuity, retina development and cognitive function and brain development of infants, particularly those that were pre-term or of low birth weight
So, whilst breast milk is the preferred food for providing optimum nutrition for healthy term infants, if using infant formula, opt for one that has been supplemented with long chain poly-unsaturated fatty acids. This will be beneficial as these are essential for optimal visual and brain development in your little one. x
This sweet little bundle of joy in the photo is my gorgeous friends baby Rose, taken by the talented Erin Hardy Photography #HeartMelted