The importance of protein for babies during the first 1000 days

Protein For Babies

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There are so many things you have to remember to do when you’re pregnant. 

You need to take your folic acid and multivitamins, make sure you rest, don’t lift heavy objects and definitely don’t overdo it. You also need to avoid eating certain foods and make sure you get enough vitamins through food like iron.

What I wasn’t told whilst pregnant, was the importance of protein during the first 1000 days. The first 1000 days includes the moment of conception right through until your child’s second birthday. 

Thanks to SMA Nutrition, I now understand why protein is so crucial during those first 1000 days.


What Is Protein?

Protein is made from a substance called amino acids and is considered one of the most valuable nutrients for the growth and development of your baby.

Did you know that approximately 20% of the human body is made up of protein?

Proteins are made from long chains of smaller molecules called amino acids. If you want to get really scientific, proteins are polymers that are built up in cells when monomers (amino acids) join together, end to end.

Your body can make 11 amino acids, but the body actually needs 20. The 9 additional amino acids, known as essential amino acids, come from the protein in the food you eat.

During Pregnancy

A good supply of protein during pregnancy means that your baby’s cells will function well from the start. This begins the building blocks of good health. All growth and development after that then has a strong foundation to build upon throughout childhood and beyond.

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Protein also helps the development of a healthy brain. A baby’s brain development is fastest from around the middle of pregnancy to around their first year. This is known as the brain growth spurt. At its peak there are around 2 million new connections per second! This is why the protein found in breast milk is so important for your babies’ growth and development

During those 1000 first days, protein is crucial for the foundation of the development of a baby’s brain, muscles, cells and other tissues.

Protein In Breast milk

When your baby is born and you choose that breast feeding is the right option for you, you can be rest assured that your baby will still receive the amount of protein s/he needs to continue growing healthily. Breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby.


According to the NHS, 73% of Mums make the choice to breastfeed in the UK and here are some of the reasons why.

The protein in breast milk is very high quality and adjusts naturally over time to what your baby needs.

When your baby is young, the quantity of protein is high to support your baby’s fast growth rate.

Over time, the amount of protein in your breast milk gradually reduces as your baby’s growth rate slows. This is because you baby requires less. This promotes healthy and natural growth with a view to reducing the risk of becoming overweight later on in life.

Did you know that the amount of protein in breast milk can also change between a day and night feed?

Breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months (if possible), has been proven to support an appropriate rate of growth in infancy according to the UK World Health Growth Charts.

It has been proven that the protein in breast milk can also help reduce future allergies such as eczema and asthma is your baby.


The NHS also states that the Protein in breast milk and breast feeding in general can reduce the risk of:

  • Infections
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Childhood Leukemia
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular Disease later on in life

So in conclusion, we already knew that breast milk is feeding method preferred by professionals. But did you know just how awesome breast milk really was, especially the protein?

Did you know how important protein was for the first 1000 days?


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