Nutrition for babies aged 0-3 months
The first three months of your newborn’s life is a time of intensive growth and development. Breast feeding is best for babies.
Your baby's first three months of life is the most intensive
period of growth and development. A baby's need for energy and
protein will be higher at this point than at any other time. To
meet this demand around half of your baby's total calorie intake
comes from fat.
Key nutrients found in some infant formulas include:
- Long Chain Polyunsaturates
LCPs are part of the omega-3 and omega-6 series of fatty acids
and are important for the development of your baby's brain,
eyesight and nervous system1,2. The most important of
these is an omega-3 LCP called docosahexaenoic acid, known as
You can boost the amount of LCPs in your breast milk by eating
foods that are naturally rich in them, such as oily fish.
Some infant formula ranges contain two LCPs. One is DHA. The
other is an omega-6 fatty acid called arachidonic acid (AA).
Nucleotides are naturally present in breast milk and play a
vital role in helping the body create new cells3. And
because your baby grows faster in their first two years than at any
other time in their life, a good supply of nucleotides is
important. Some nucleotides may be added to infant formulas.
Bacteria is not all bad. In fact, there are good ones called
bifidobacteria and lactobicilli which live in the digestive tract
and may guard against infection and illness. Prebiotics such as
Galacto-Oligosaccharides, are naturally present in breast milk and
may support your baby's digestive system, helping the friendly
bacteria to flourish and helping to soften stools4.
Some infant formulas contain Oligosaccharides.
BetapolTM, which is derived from vegetable oils and
may be present in some infant formulas, may help to reduce
constipation in formula-fed infants5 and may
contribute to increased calcium and fat
Protein is essential to growth and development at all ages but
especially during your baby's first few months when they are
growing so rapidly. Alpha-lactalbumin is a high quality
protein present in breast milk that provides your baby with just
the right amount and type of protein they need7.
Alpha-lactabumin may be added to some infant formulas.
Vitamins and minerals
Here are some of the key vitamins and minerals and some of the
ways in which they may benefit your baby.
- Vitamin A: For healthy skin and eyesight
- B Vitamins: This group of vitamins helps convert food to
- Vitamin C: Helps your baby absorb iron and works at producing
- Vitamin D: Helps calcium to be absorbed from the diet and is
needed for healthy bone formation
- Vitamin E: Helps to protect, form and maintain body cells
- Vitamin K: Helps the blood to clot effectively
- Calcium: Plays a major role building healthy bones, teeth and
- Iron: Needed for healthy red blood cells
- Magnesium: Needed for healthy bones and teeth and helps nerves
and muscles function
- Zinc: Helps to support a healthy immune system
All these vitamins and minerals are found naturally in breast
- Virgilio P Carnielli, Manuela Simonato, Giovanna Verlato,
Ingrid Luijendijk, Mario De Curtis, Pieter JJ Sauer, and Paola E
Cogo. Synthesis of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in
preterm newborns fed formula with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty
acids Am J Clin Nutr (2007) 86:1323-1330.
- Birch, Eileen E.; Hoffman, Dennis R.; Uauy, Ricardo; Birch,
David G.; Prestidge, Claude. Visual Acuity and the Essentiality of
Docosahexaenoic Acid and Arachidonic Acid in the Diet of Term
Infants. Pediatr Res (1998) 44:201-209.
- José Maldonado, Joaquín Navarro, Eduardo Narbona and Angel Gil.
The influence of dietary nucleotides on humoral and cell immunity
in the neonate and lactating infant. Early Hum Dev
- Xiao-Ming Ben, Juan Li, Zong-Tai Feng, Sheng-Yun Shi, Ya-Dong
Lu, Rui Chen, Xiao-Yu Zhou. Low level of galacto-oligosaccharide in
infant formula stimulates growth of intestinal Bifidobacteria and
Lactobacilli. World J Gastroenterol (2008) 14(42):
- Marloes EJ Bongers, Fleur de Lorijn, Johannes B Reitsma,
Michael Groeneweg, Jan AJM Taminiau and Marc A Benninga.The
clinical effect of a new infant formula in term infants with
constipation: a double-blind, randomized cross-over trial. Nutr J
- Kathy Kennedy, Mary S Fewtrell, Ruth Morley, Rebecca Abbott,
Peter T Quinlan, John CK Wells, Jacques G Bindels and Alan
Lucas. Double-blind, randomized trail of a synthetic
triacylglycerol in formula-fed term infants: effects on stool
biochemistry, stool characteristics and bone mineralization.
Am J Clin Nutr (1999) 70: 920-7.
- Lien, E L, Davis, A M, Euler, A R. Growth and safety in
term infants fed reduced protein formula with added bovine
alpha-lactalbumin. J Paediatr Gast Nut (2004)