DHA & ARA: Formula decoded

  • DHA and ARA pass from Mom to baby during pregnancy.
  • DHA and ARA are fatty acids that support brain and eye development.
  • DHA and ARA can be found in breastmilk and are added to some infant formulas.

About 60% of your baby’s brain is made of fat. Two of these fatty acids that play an important role in supporting both your baby’s brain and eye development are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid).

Sources of DHA & ARA

  • Moms pass DHA and ARA to her baby through the placenta during the third trimester.
  • Breastmilk is another source of DHA and ARA, which is one more reason breastfeeding moms should eat a healthy diet that includes a wide variety of foods like fish (avoiding those known to be high in mercury). 
  • Most routine infant formulas and some infant cereals and baby food are formulated with DHA and ARA, in varying levels.

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