Research by SMA Nutrition reveals importance of the right nutrition in a baby's first 1000 days

To Press Releases listFeb 23, 2016

Findings from new SMA Nutrition survey reveals:

  • 46% of mums aren’t aware that nutrition in the first 1,000 days (day of conception to 2nd birthday) is  key in determining a baby’s life-long  health
  • 48% of mums don’t know the potentially negative impact that too much protein may have on their baby’s  growth
  • 80% of mums are unaware as to whether or not infants and young children are consuming the right amount of  protein
  • Just 9% of mums know that the protein level in breastmilk decreases over the first 6 months of their baby’s life
  • In response, Dr Ellie Cannon says a clearer understanding of the nutritional impact of protein could decrease the chances of babies being overweight or obese


Thanks to a wealth of information available, mums say they feel confident as to the types of nutrients babies need to receive to aid healthy growth and development. In fact, in a recent study by SMA Nutrition, 94% of mums agreed that the right nutrition during the first two years is extremely important with 91% claiming they understand the role of Omegas and Vitamin D.

However, new research from SMA Nutrition suggests there is still confusion about the role of protein in the first 1,000 days, with 80% of those questioned unaware as to whether or not infants and young children are consuming too much.


A report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) states that the appropriate levels of protein during the first two years of a baby’s life may show long term health benefits including some protection against being overweight and obesity in childhood*.

Protein is a key component of breast milk that supports healthy growth and development. The right quality and quantity of protein is provided to the baby, which helps them to grow at an appropriate rate. Interestingly, the level of protein in breast milk decreases as your baby grows - a fact that just 9% of mums fully understand.

Dr Ellie Cannon, media medic and spokesperson for the SMA Nutrition Protein Awareness Campaign, said:

“Although mums know that breastfeeding is best for babies’ growth, they don’t necessarily know what this means and what nutrient to attribute that to. This changing protein composition of breast milk, helps ensure that babies follow an appropriate rate of growth, which decreases their chances of being overweight or obese.

"A better understanding of protein could help to ensure that mums are giving their baby appropriate nutrition at each stage of their baby’s development”


With over 90 years’ experience in infant nutrition, SMA Nutrition  has gained a deep understanding of the importance of protein and the role it plays in a baby’s development. Their experts are passionate about educating mums on protein during the first 1,000 days of a baby’s life, imparting this knowledge now can make a positive difference on babies  health that will last into their adult years.

The research showed that 51% of mums wished there was more information available on the importance of protein in the first 1,000 days, and 45% wanted more insight into the appropriate rate of growth in this time.
As a result SMA® Nutrition has produced a hub of articles and a video on protein in the first 1,000 days. More information can be found at


The best way to feed a baby is to breastfeed, as breast milk provides the ideal balanced diet and protection against illness for your baby and also many non-nutritional benefits for both baby and mother. We recommend that you speak to your healthcare professional when deciding on your choice of feeding your baby. Professional guidance should also be sought on the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding. If you do choose to breastfeed, it's important to eat a healthy, balanced diet.

A decision not to breastfeed, or to introduce partial bottle-feeding, will reduce the supply of breast milk. If for any reason you choose not to breastfeed, do remember that such a decision can be difficult to reverse.


Notes to editors:

Research methodology
Online research conducted by ICM Unlimited with 1,000 pregnant women and mothers with children under the age of 2 throughout Great Britain. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14.12.15 and 17.12.15. The raw data and regional statistics can be provided on request.