Foetal life, infancy, and childhood are a time of rapid growth and development that requires the right energy and nutrition. This is the time in a young life when nutrition can have an impact that lasts a lifetime. Early life nutrition has a significant role on the brain and immune system development, as well as how the body metabolically reacts to foods or nutrients, that in turn may influence the likelihood of developing conditions such as obesity, allergy, heart disease and diabetes in later life.
Smart nutrition planning starts in preconception and continues through a child’s first few years. At each stage of a young life, Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition is dedicated to improving the generations of today and tomorrow through early life nutrition with expertise, support and advice.
First 3 Months
Nutritionally complete, breast milk is the only food a baby needs until around six months. It can also help to create a special bond between mother and baby.
Find out more at: AptaNutrition - Our Expertise - The Science of Breast Milk.
A key benefit of breast feeding is that it helps to establish and improve the newborn's gut micro flora. This is important for the development of their immune system as two-thirds of immune system cells are located in the gut.
Find out more at: American Society of Nutrition.
By consuming enough iodine when breast feeding, a mother can help support the development of her baby’s brain and nervous system.
270µg per day
It’s important that a breast feeding mother gets enough folic acid, as this supports her baby’s normal growth and development.
500µg per day
Vitamin D is important for normal bone structure, can prevent Rickets (the softening of bones) and may reduce a child's risk of developing allergy. Most breast fed infants receive enough vitamin D through breast milk & casual exposure to sunlight. However, if concerned about a child's vitamin D level, consulting a healthcare professional is prudent.
In Australia, it is currently recommended that solids are introduced at around six months, but not before four months. This is necessary to meet a child's nutritional and developmental needs. A wide variety of food - with an appropriate range of texture and consistency - should be introduced so that, by 12 months, the child is consuming a range of their family's food.
Find out more at: Better Health.
First foods should be iron-enriched to replace a baby’s iron stores. This can help the infant to form blood, and to transport oxygen around their body. Examples of iron-enriched foods include iron-enriched baby cereals, as well as pureed meats, poultry & fish.
Nuts can be a choking hazard for small children due to their size and consistency. As such, they shouldn’t be given to children under three years. However, nut pastes and nut spreads can be offered from around six months.
Find out more at: Eat For Health
While cows' milk should not be given to a baby under the age of one year, it can be used as an ingredient in cooked foods. Until a child’s first birthday, breast milk or a scientifically formulated breast milk substitute (infant or follow-on formula) should be used in their cereal.
Solid food will not fulfil a child’s full nutritional needs, so continuing breast feeding or using a scientifically formulated breast milk substitute (infant or follow-on formula) is necessary during this phase.
If required, at six months of age an infant can be given cooled, boiled tap water.
Vitamin C can help an infant to absorb iron from solid food. Therefore babies on solids should be encouraged to eat fruit to meet their daily requirements, although fruit juices and drinks are not recommended at this age.
Nutrition for toddlers