A Review of Early Life Nutrition

Susan Finn, Eamonn Culligan, William J Snelling, Roy Sleator

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nutritionally, the first 1,000 days of an infant’s life – from conception to two years –has been identified as a highly influential period, during which lasting health can be achieved. Significant evidence links patterns of infant feeding to both short and longterm health outcomes, many of which can be prevented through nutritional modifications. Recommended globally, breastfeeding is recognised as the gold standard of infant nutrition; providing key nutrients to achieve optimal health, growth and development, and conferring immunologic protective effects against disease. Nevertheless, infant formulas are often the sole source of nutrition for many infants during the first stage of life. Producers of infant formula strive to supply high quality, healthy, safe alternatives to
breast milk with a comparable balance of nutrients to human milk imitating its composition and functional performance measures. The concept of ‘nutritional programming’, and the theory that exposure to specific conditions, can predispose an individual’s health status in later life has become an accepted dictum, and has sparked important nutritional research prospects. This review explores the impact of early life nutrition, specifically, how different feeding methods affect health outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience Progress
Issue number4
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Jul 2018


  • Infant
  • breastfeeding
  • Formula feeding
  • nutrition


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