Early Life Nutrition

Your child’s first few years are filled with rapid growth and development. From the moment they’re conceived, right through to toddlerhood, your child will need the right balance of energy and nutrition to support these changes.

Due to this, early life nutrition plays such an important part in their young lives, supporting the ongoing development of their brain and immune systems, as well as impacting how their body reacts to foods or nutrients.

Beginning in the earliest days of pregnancy, optimal nutritional planning should continue through your child’s first few years. At each stage, Nutricia offers expertise, support and advice in early life nutrition to help support your child’s progress.

Please note: You should always check with your healthcare professional before relying on any information posted on this site.

Toddler

12-24 months

Introduction of other drinks

 

After your child turns one, you can introduce drinks other than breast milk, formula or water. This can include cows’ milk or toddler nutritional supplements or diluted juice.

Find out more at: Nutrition Australia

Did you know?

If you decide to give your baby juice, make sure it’s diluted, as high levels of fructose can cause restlessness, gas and stomach distress in toddlers.

Sue, Nutritionist

What is a toddler nutritional supplement?

 

Toddler nutritional supplements are especially formulated for toddlers from the age of one year for when their diet is inadequate. They are cows’ milk based and contain essential vitamins and minerals for growth and development.

Find out more at: NHMRC

Did you know?

A toddler's stomach is much smaller than an adults and therefore they require small frequent meals of nutrient rich foods.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

Role of toddler nutritional supplements

 

Toddler nutritional supplement drinks are scientifically formulated for toddlers from the age of one year. They are supplemented with essential vitamins and minerals for growth and development, from when dietary intake may be inadequate.

Find out more at: NHMRC Nutrient Reference Values for ANZ

Did you know?

1/3 of Australian children aged 1- 3 years have low iron stores.

Sue, Nutritionist

Nutrition and the Immune System

Some toddler nutritional supplement drinks provide additional support, such as prebiotics, for your child's developing immune system.

When can a formula-fed toddler move to cows' milk?

 

From 1 year of age, toddlers can begin drinking cows’ milk. It is recommended that this be full fat milk, and that low fat or skim milks are avoided.

500mL per day

Find out more at: Parenting & Child Health

Did you know?

Toddlers should be getting the majority of their nutrition through solid food. Their consumption of cows' milk (or a toddler nutritional supplement) should be limited to no more than 500mL per day so they continue to eat their meals.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

Rapid growth during the toddler years

 

A toddler grows more in the first three years of life than they will at any other time. Their stomach though is still very small, limiting the volume of food they can consume. This is why a toddler's nutrition is so important.

Did you know?

A toddler will grow double their height and five times their weight in the first 3 years of life.

Sue, Nutritionist

Main nutrient gaps in a toddler's diet

 

In Australia and New Zealand there is a prevalence of vitamin D, iodine, selenium and iron deficiency in toddlers. All of these are important for growth and development.

Find out more at: NHMRC Nutrient Reference Values for ANZ

Did you know?

Good sources of iron include red meats, liver, fish, chicken, legumes, tofu, green leafy vegetables and dried fruits.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

Toddler diets

 

It is important that toddlers receive a variety of foods from the four main food groups:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Breads and cereals
- Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans and other alternatives
- Milks, yoghurts, cheeses and/or alternatives

Find out more at: NHMRC

Did you know?

Toddlers should be encouraged to eat a family meal rather than anything specially prepared.

Sue, Nutritionist

Omega 3 DHA fatty acids for toddlers

 

Omega 3 DHA fats are important for brain and eye development. They are predominantly found in oily fish such as mackerel, herrings, sardines, salmon and tuna. They are also added in some toddler nutritional supplement drinks.

40mg per day

Find out more at: Omega 3 Centre

Did you know?

Fats in the diet are important as they aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

Iron for toddlers

 

Iron is important for brain development in toddlers. Low iron in toddlers can have an impact on learning behaviours and can cause the toddler to become very tired.

9mg per day

Find out more at: NHMRC Nutrient Reference Values for ANZ

Did you know?

Red meats, liver, fish, chicken, legumes, tofu, green leafy vegetables and dried fruits are good sources of iron. Toddler nutritional supplements also contain iron.

Christine, Registered Dietitian

Immunity during day care

 

Your child getting sick and missing day care is a reality for working mums. Providing good nutrition to support their immune system will help minimise the number of days off from day care.

Nutrition and the Immune System

70% of the immune system lies in the gut which is why nutrition is so important for toddlers.

What are the best sources of calcium for toddlers?

 

Calcium is important for bone development in toddlers. The best sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk (cows’ milk or toddler nutritional supplement), cheese and yoghurt.

500mg per day

Find out more at: NHMRC Nutrient Reference Values for ANZ

Did you know?

Vitamin D and exercise are also important factors in bone development.

Sue, Nutritionist

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