How much protein do babies need?

Will G
April 10, 2024
5 min read

So, how much protein does your baby actually need?

You may have noticed a recent tendency to associate “high protein” foods with being healthy, and yes, dietary proteins are necessary for tissue growth and maintenance. But there is a but…Babies have very different energy requirements to adults. Think about it, they’re basically doubling in size every few years and their brains are like little sponges!As a result, a higher proportion of healthy fats and carbs are needed for them to fuel this growth.

Here are the details:

The reference nutrient intake for 1-3-year-olds in the UK is 14.5g/day. This is likely to meet the needs of 97.5% of children but most children in the UK far exceed this and surveys have shown that children aged 12 to 18 months consume 37.7g per day, which is more than 2.5 times the RNI! The most recent SACN report ‘Feeding young children ages 1-5 years’ found that higher total protein intake in children aged 1 to 5 years is associated with higher BMI in childhood and evidence from RCTs and observational studies indicates that higher protein intake in infancy (for example, through infant formula feeding) promotes rapid weight gain and later risk of obesity.

Piri Chicken from V&Me
Piri Chicken from V&Me

How much protein your baby needs:

Children aged 1-4 should be offered 2-3 portions of protein-rich food a day (3 portions if they are vegetarian). Milk does contain protein but it’s generally classed under the dairy food group. In addition to the 2 servings of protein-rich food children also need 3 servings of calcium-rich food (milk, yoghurt, cheese).  

In practice portion sizes of protein-rich foods:

  • 40g pulses = 2 tablespoons beans/pulses
  • 50g egg = 1/2-1 boiled egg or 2 tablespoons scrambled egg
  • 40g red meat
  • 45g chicken
  • 40g fish or 1/4-1/2 small fillet.
Sea Bream from V&Me
Sea Bream from V&Me

18-month-old daily intake of protein:

Let’s take an example of an 18-month-old having 3 servings of protein-rich food a day. This is ok (but we wouldn’t recommend going over this though) - just make sure to watch the portion sizes. Offer a maximum of 1 egg in the morning but try keeping breakfast varied so cook the eggs in different ways also offer porridge, fortified cereals, toast or fruit and yoghurt.

Milk is also fine to offer during the day as it will be providing calcium but if your little one is having yoghurt and cheese as well, these all count towards the 3 servings of dairy. Try to offer no more than 400mls milk/day (milk serving size would be 100-120ml) but less if they are having yoghurt/cheese. Try to move away from offering milk in a baby bottle after 12 months and use a cup instead.So if you’re worried your baby isn’t getting enough protein, hopefully, this blog will help to reassure you and help you understand the typical daily intake that little ones should be getting of protein!

About V&Me

V&Me delivers fresh baby meals in London every day to busy parents. All the meals are cooked fresh from scratch in Battersea and are fully planned out by leading paediatric experts to ensure your little one is getting the optimal nutrition they need during their most formative years.This means that all the macro and micronutrients found in the meals have been planned with growing bodies in mind to ensure they have all the right nutritional goodness to reach their full potential!

How to sign up?

If you’re a London parent and you want to join the growing number of mums and dads getting fresh baby food deliveries to their doorstep, click the link below and get your first delivery now!We are now delivering to almost all central London postcodes, including popular areas like Notting Hill, Hampstead, Muswell Hill, Stoke Newington, Hackney, Canary Wharf, Canada Water, Nunhead, Brixton and Clapham.

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Will G
April 10, 2024
Contributors
Phoenix Baker
Product Manager

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