Nutrition needs are greater when breastfeeding than any other time in a woman's life, including pregnancy, yet new research reveals diet alone may not be enough to meet the high nutritional needs during this important time for mom and baby.
Abbott, the maker of Similac® and experts in infant nutrition for nearly 90 years, studied the diets of more than 80 lactating women to assess how their nutritional intake compared to dietary recommendations. The research found few lactating women consistently consume enough key nutrients, like DHA, lutein and vitamin E, through their diet.
Abbott's new Similac Breastfeeding Supplement is specially designed to enhance the levels of DHA, lutein and vitamin E in breast milk. These key nutrients are important for nourishing baby's brain and eyes during this critical time of development. The supplement should be taken with a prenatal vitamin or multivitamin to help fill moms' dietary gaps.
″Moms are first encouraged to focus on food to obtain ideal nutrition,″ said Christina Sherry, Abbott Research Scientist who led the study. ″But as demonstrated by our study, the reality is that many women find it difficult to eat a well-balanced diet while adjusting to caring for a newborn. And even though many women may continue to take a prenatal vitamin during this time, many prenatal vitamins do not have, or have enough, DHA, lutein and vitamin E.″
As an example, to achieve the desired levels of DHA, lutein and vitamin E in their diets, women would need to eat four 3-ounce servings of salmon a week as a source of DHA, 1 ounce of almonds or peanuts a day as a source of vitamin E and 2 cups of cooked broccoli a day as a source of lutein. In the study, only one out of 10 breastfeeding moms on average got 100 percent of the desired levels for DHA, lutein and vitamin E from their diet. Only two moms in the study came close to consuming desired levels of lutein and they consistently reported eating about 2 cups of leafy greens and vegetables almost every day.
Furthermore, nutrient intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows that the average diet of women who are child-bearing age is at least 50 percent below the desirable levels of DHA, lutein and vitamin E. The Similac Breastfeeding Supplement contains levels of these important nutrients that are desired in moms' diets. The clinical evidence showed moms who took one Similac Breastfeeding Supplement a day had increased levels of DHA, lutein and vitamin E in their breast milk compared to mothers who did not take the supplement.
As noted in The Journal of Nutrition in June, given ″the importance of lutein as an antioxidant and in eye health, it is prudent that lactating women consume adequate lutein from the diet or supplements to ensure adequate concentrations in breast milk for infant growth and development.″
Additional research in a 2010 report in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that children whose mothers received modest amounts of DHA during the first four months of breastfeeding performed better on a test of sustained attention. DHA, which helps support baby's brain development*, is highly susceptible to damage from oxidation and vitamin E protects important fatty acids, like DHA, from oxidation.
The Similac Breastfeeding Supplement, available at Babies″R″Us, contains a 30-day supply (30 softgels) and costs $9.99. For more information, visit Similac.com.