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Major new dietary recommendations for babies

New research says it’s time for some big changes in our baby’s diets.

Baby care is never going to be a linear thing because new research and studies are popping up every day with new information to help us give our kids the best start ever.

It can be a bit daunting to new mums when we have to adapt and change and it can be baffling to the older generations who tell you: “That’s not how we did things.”

But we should be grateful that we have the amazing knowledge at our fingertips because it’s going to be brilliant for our kids in the long run. 

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It’s going to be brilliant for our kids in the long run! Picture: iStock

Today’s update is all about food and babies

This week the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in the US put together it’s first-ever guidelines for babies in the first two years of life. They want people to think carefully about everything they feed their baby because: “Every bite counts.”

The report says: “Nutritional exposures during the first 1,000 days of life not only contribute to long-term health but also help shape taste preferences and food choices.”

Breastfeeding

The report backed up research that breastfeeding may reduce the risk of overweight or obesity, type 1 diabetes, and asthma, compared to never being breastfed. Evidence also suggested that a longer duration of any breastfeeding is associated with lower risk of type 1 diabetes and asthma. 

When it comes to Mum’s diet during breastfeeding, the report suggested that it was best for Mum to eat a diet high in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as fish.

Want more stories like this? Learn about baby-led weaning or why you should avoid fruit juice for kids.

Caucasian blonde little girl drinking natural juice

Breastfeeding can help reduce asthma. Picture: iStock

Bad news on sugar

The report says nearly every baby and toddler in the US is eating too much sugar. Now that might be surprising, because we don’t exactly hand our kids lollies for every meal, but added sugar is hiding everywhere. 

“Avoid foods and beverages with added sugars during the first 2 years of life,” the committee stated. “The energy in such products is likely to displace energy from nutrient-dense foods, increasing the risk of nutrient inadequacies.

“Moreover, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked with increased risk of overweight or obesity.”

You get that? Juice for toddlers or babies is a total no-no. 

Allergies and vitamins

The report found no evidence to suggest solids should be introduced any earlier than four months of age, and maintains babies should be exclusively breastfed or formula fed until that point. When it comes to introducing solids and allergies nothing should be held back and nuts and eggs should be introduced early to reduce the risk of allergies.

“The Committee’s review indicated that introducing peanut and egg, in an age-appropriate form, in the first year of life (after age 4 months) may reduce the risk of food allergy to these foods. The evidence for such protective effects is less clear for other types of foods, but the Committee found no evidence that avoiding such foods in the first year of life is beneficial with regard to preventing food allergies or other atopic diseases.” 

When it comes to vitamins, the report found that many babies and toddlers aren’t getting enough vitamin D or Zinc (two things that breastfeeding alone does not provide) and this should be supplemented in their diet. 

“The reviews also support guidance to provide foods that are rich in iron and zinc during the second 6 months of life among breastfed infants, and the need to provide CFBs that contain adequate amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids.” 

Remember to speak to your GP about any concerns you have about your baby’s diet and don’t make any big changes without speaking to an expert first!

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