When your baby is a newborn, they are going to depend on you for every little thing. Growing babies need nutrients like proteins, fats and vitamins to grow. They derive these nutrients from breast milk. In fact, breast milk contains all the nutrients that a baby needs in an easily digestible and absorbable form.
Breastfeeding is enough for the first 6 months:
When a baby is still under 6 months, all the nutrition they need can be obtained from breast milk alone. There is no need to supplement the breast milk with anything else. What you need to do is consume enough protein-rich food, to ensure that breast milk itself is protein-rich. The recommended dietary allowance of protein for this age group of infants is 1.69 gm/kg per day.
Breast milk is thus sufficient to fulfil the protein and other nutritional requirements of your baby.
Mothers often worry that breast milk may not meet their baby’s protein requirements, and thus look for alternatives with excess protein, believing that more protein means more growth. But it is important to know that this is wrong. Excessive protein intake can not only strain your baby’s delicate organs, but it also increases the risk of problems like unhealthy weight gain.
Why Breast Milk Is Enough
Breast milk contains the right type of protein in the quantity that your baby needs for healthy growth. It contains both whey and casein proteins - whey is gentler on the tummy, while casein is tough to digest, especially for a baby. But the high proportion of whey to casein makes breast milk gentle on a baby’s tummy, allowing the absorption of protein for functions like growth and tissue development.
Moreover, the consumption of too much protein in early life, resulting in abnormally high growth, has been linked to a higher risk of obesity later in life. The right growth rate for your baby is a steady and a proportional increase in both height and weight. Giving your little one the right quantity and quality of protein can thus help them grow at a healthy rate while supporting overall development.
In conclusion, breastfeeding your baby will give them the protein they need. It is ideal if you exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months, and continue to breastfeed until your little one is 2 years old, to ensure optimal health and development, the best gift you can give your baby.
Disclaimer: All the information provided in the blog is for reference purposes only. Please do not consider this as a medical advice. Start Healthy Stay Healthy programme is for educational purposes only, in partnership with doctors. Always consult a doctor if you have any questions related to your own health or the health of your child.