Milk for babies – breast, formula or plant based milks?

There’s been a bit of a social media blow up over milk for babies (bottle vs breast vs plant based), so I thought I’d briefly say something on the topic.

🍼 Fed is best. There is so much pressure on parents these days to be perfect and parent perfectly. And everyone has an opinion.

Do what’s best for you and your baby, get advice when you need it and realise that what works for you and baby#1 is not necessarily the answer for someone else or even baby #2!

🤱 We all know the benefits of breast feeding: great storage, perfect nutrition, no wastage etc

🍼 But! There are many, many reasons why a mum chooses or has to use the bottle with formula or an allergy specialist feed. Your reasons are your own and you’re doing great, mama.

🤱 Formulas for babies under 1 have very strict rules and laws around what they are made of, how the nutrient profile looks, and how they are advertised and marketed. This is because babies solely rely on milk for their nutrition needs. Formula’s are any milk that is designed and sold as a breast milk alternative, that includes dairy, soy and other plant based products.

🍼 after 1, babies nutrition needs change and they need more food, less milk. This is a gradual process and will depend on your baby.

🤱 plant based milks such as almond, oat, rice and soy are low in calcium (unless fortified), low in protein, low in fat and low in energy. Because of a baby’s reliance on milk for their main source of nutrition, these milks are not recommended for kids under 2.

🍼 babies and infants have the highest calorie needs per kg of body weight, than anybody else, including teenagers! So imagine your baby was the size of a teenager and they needed more food than that to keep them healthy. That’s why it’s so important that bubs milk is full of fat, protein and energy. They have little bellies that fill easily and incredibly high nutrition needs.

🤱 Want to introduce a plant based milk to your kids diet? Here’s some things to think about:

🥛 how well is bubs eating?
🥛how old is bubs?
🥛is your child a picky eater?
🥛any allergies or intolerances?
🥛is baby growing well and in an expected way for them?
🥛have you or do you need to see an appropriate medical professional for advice and support?

If bubs is 2 or older, eating well and has no growth concerns, then go for it.

If bubs is under 2, or not growing as expected, or is a picky eater or has a medical condition then speak to your Gp, peadiatric dietitian, specialist or plunket nurse first.

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