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The Importance of DHA for Babies

The Importance of DHA for Babies

Learn the ABCs of DHA and why it's important for your baby’s development.

Medically reviewed by a board-certified pediatrician

Maybe you’ve heard about DHA for babies, maybe you haven’t. We’ll break down what you need to know about DHA benefits for babies, its importance during your baby’s first few years, and how they can get it.

What is DHA for Babies?

DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is an omega-3 fatty acid. It's a building block for your baby's brain and eyes. While many people take supplements, DHA occurs naturally in foods such as salmon, sardines, and eggs.

Why is DHA Important for Babies?

During the first two years of life, your baby’s brain develops faster than it ever will. In fact, the brain grows 175% in the first year. That's why many experts believe it's important for babies to receive DHA during this time of rapid brain development.

Babies get DHA in the womb. After birth, breastfed babies get DHA from their mother's breast milk. Many scientists believe that DHA is most important during the last trimester of your pregnancy through your child’s second year. This is when their brain and eyes rapidly develop.

How to Include DHA in Your Baby's Diet

According to experts, pregnant and nursing women should eat foods rich in DHA. These include salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. If you're not breastfeeding, an infant formula that has DHA is recommended. Experts recommend that DHA should account for 0.2% to 0.36% of total fatty acids in the formula. For example, Enfamil NeuroPro™ has 0.32% of total fatty acids as DHA, similar to the average amount found in world-wide mature breast milk.

Once an infant outgrows infant formula, DHA continues to be important during the first years of life. Toddlers only get about 25% of the expert-recommended amount of DHA*. Enfagrow PREMIUM™ Toddler Transitions® or Enfagrow PREMIUM™ Toddler Nutritional Drink can help fill the gap in your toddler’s daily diet.

For more information, read more on DHA benefits for your growing toddler and the common foods you’ll find it in.

*experts recommend 70–100 mg of DHA per day for toddlers

All information Enfamil, including but not limited to information about health, medical conditions, and nutrition, is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for a healthcare professional's medical identification, advice, or management for specific medical conditions. You should seek medical care and consult your doctor or pediatrician for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment, care, or help because of information you have read on Enfamil .