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 at preconception, 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.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet when you’re pregnant, and taking a pregnancy supplement regularly, should give you and your baby all the nutrients you need. Unless your healthcare professional advises otherwise, other supplements are not necessary.
Folic acid, which is derived from folate, is a B-group vitamin that’s important for the healthy development of the foetus in early pregnancy. If you’re of child-bearing age, are pregnant, or planning on getting pregnant, it’s recommended you take extra folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects (NTD), such as spina bifida. If there is a family history of neural tube defects then you need to discuss further with a health care professional as your needs may be higher.
The folic acid recommendation in New Zealand is to take a supplement containing 800µg of folic acid for 4 weeks prior to conception and for 12 weeks after conception.
Your thyroid uses iodine to produce hormones that are important for the normal development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. So it’s very important that you consume enough iodine when you’re pregnant.
150µg is recommended daily via a supplement when pregnant or breast feeding
Find out more at: NHMRC Nutrient Reference Values for ANZ
Nausea and vomiting, or ‘morning sickness’, affects up to 2/3 of pregnant women. Eating regular small meals, avoiding fatty and spicy foods, and eating small snacks such as crackers and fruit may help.
Find out more at: Ministry of Health.
Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth. When you’re pregnant, your calcium needs don’t actually increase: 1,000mg daily (for women aged 19–50) and 1,300mg daily (for adolescents or women over 51). Dairy foods (such as milk, cheese and yoghurt) and calcium-fortified soymilk are excellent dietary sources of calcium.
1000mg per day
Although it’s important to continue to eat fish when you’re pregnant, you need to be careful about which fish you choose. Some types of fish contain mercury levels that can harm your baby’s developing nervous system. These include Lake Trout from geothermal regions, Southern Bluefin Tuna and Cardinal Fish. Instead opt for fish such as Kahawai, Tarakihi, Hoki and Cod.
Find out more at: Ministry of Primary Industries.
Increasing your intake of iron - either through your diet or by taking a supplement - can help build your baby's iron stores. Iron helps support their blood formation, which helps transport oxygen around their body.
When you’re pregnant, there are some foods that you are recommended to avoid. This is usually because the food has a higher risk of containing bacteria such as listeria or salmonella.
Foods to avoid: Unpasteurised milk or any foods made from unpasteurised milk, liver and patés, raw seafood, raw meats, raw or runny eggs, cold cooked chicken, processed meats, soft cheeses, pre-packed salads and alcohol.
Foods to limit: Shark, Swordfish, Lake Trout from geothermal regions, Southern Bluefin Tuna and Cardinal Fish. You should also limit your caffeine intake.
Find out more at: Ministry of Primary Industries
If you’re pregnant or breast feeding, you don’t need to avoid consuming nuts for fear of causing an allergic reaction in your baby. You only need to avoid nuts if you are allergic to them.
Find out more at: Ministry of Health
There’s no need to eat more food during the first trimester of pregnancy. For the first trimester, your energy intake should stay about the same as it was before you were pregnant. During the second and third trimesters, your energy requirements will probably increase by about 1,400kJ - 1,900kJ a day. Increasing your diet with small snacks such as an additional piece of fruit, a sandwich or a tub of yoghurt will give you the extra energy you need.
1,400kJ - 1,900kJ extra a day
Find out more at: NHMRC Nutrient Reference Values for ANZ.
Irregular bowel movements can be quite common during pregnancy. To help, it's recommended you
Find out more at: Ministry of Health
Nutrition for babies