Baby formula is made to come as close to breast milk as possible. At the same time, manufacturers must follow guidelines to ensure that your baby gets all of the nutrition they need to grow and thrive. Ingredients may vary according to brands or dietary needs (hypoallergenic, hydrolyzed formula, etc.) but the balance of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are very important.
When it comes to baby formula, how do you know that your baby is getting enough? When you you need to make sure that the protein increases at the right time as your baby grows?
Even though your baby is consuming breast milk or baby formula exclusively for the first six months of life, it doesn’t mean that they are not getting protein in their diet. The purpose of protein is the build and repair all of the tissues in the human body. Since your baby is growing and growing at a steady rate, it is an important component. Protein also helps carry oxygen in the blood. In simplest terms, protein helps the muscles grow, develop properly, and supports the immune system as well as other systems in the body that include the heart and lungs.
There are numerous studies regarding protein for babies and toddlers. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics follows the guidelines that babies between 7 and 12 months need 11 grams per day. Once they become toddlers, 13 grams is enough for their needs.
Some may see this as a low number. It is actually quite conservative. The maximum that toddlers needs to meet their energy needs is between 30 and 45 grams depending on how much energy they typically spend.
Why are pediatricians conservative? An excess amount of protein, particularly dairy protein found in milk, cheese, and yogurt, has been linked in studies of children being at a higher risk of being overweight or obese as they get older. The concern is not so much with breast milk and baby formula, but with the introduction of proteins in solid foods.
When you are looking at your baby’s protein intake, be confident that they are getting enough with every bottle of formula or every time you nurse. As they develop an interest in solids, be sure to maintain that balance with a variety of fruits and vegetables as well as meats, cheeses, and dairy.