MOTHER AND BABY One of the most important sources of the omega-3s is the oil from fish, and fish has traditionally been regarded as food for the brain. Only now is the scientific research coming up with the explanation for this. There is accumulating evidence to demonstrate the importance of omega-3s in the development of the unborn child in the womb and the newly-born infant.
Required throughout pregnancy, the omega-3s are particularly important during the last three months and during early infancy for the proper development of the eyes, and the brain and nerves.
Since the unborn baby cannot make its own omega-3s, its needs must be met by its mother. Pregnancy drains omega-3s from the mother which may not only damage her own health, but also drains the supply to the baby.
It is therefore very important to ensure that pregnant women receive an adequate supply of this essential oil. Evidence suggests that a good omega-3 supply (either from fish several times weekly, or from daily supplements) should begin early in pregnancy or even before conception.
AND BABY A large part of the baby’s brain growth takes place during the last three months of pregnancy. Babies born prematurely run the risk of not getting all the omega-3 needed to complete this process. Scientists stress the value of breast feeding as breast milk contains a natural supply of omega-3s.
Research on both premature and full-term infants has shown that brain and eye development in breast-fed babies is superior to that of bottle-fed babies. This is considered to be because bottle-feed formulas may not contain the omega-3 that is found naturally in breast milk.
Giving omega-3 supplements to breast-feeding mothers results in omega- 3 enriched milk which successfully transfers to the baby.