As young fathers, Michael and George Lytas often took care of night-time bottle feeds for their children, and like all new parents, they wanted to know if the formula they were using was helping their babies develop and sleep. They had heard from their wives and mum that breast milk composition changed across the day, which made them wonder why all infant formula was seemingly the same.
Michael’s work as a technical sales expert for manufacturing companies gave him insight into infant formula production, which was largely focused on operational efficiencies. This gave the brothers a hunch that formula could be optimised to better mirror human milk.
After consulting with medical experts, nutritionists and researchers, Michael and George learned that human milk has been shown to alter its composition, depending on time of day*. These important changes promote growth and energy during the day and support sleep at night.
Determined to ensure bottle-fed infants also receive the right nutrients at the right time, the brothers’ family business Austral Foods created NiMera, a scientifically formulated Day and Night Formulas for infants and toddlers.
Austral Foods co-founder, George Lytas says, “Backed by Australian research and development, NiMera was developed following careful evaluation of food science and technology and the latest research into infant nutrition. The research established that circadian (night/day) rhythms in nutrient requirements demand a response in relation to the delivery of vitamins, nutrients and minerals that are essential for developmental growth and optimised sleep cycles of infants. Research shows that breast milk is dynamic in nature, so we customised our formulas to offer the levels of nutrients needed for development and growth during the day, and development, growth and better sleep at night.”
Chloe McLeod*, a leading Sydney dietitian and nutrition consultant says, “The human body is incredible with breast milk changing its composition during the day and night, delivering the right nutrients babies need, when they need them. While breast milk is best for the infant and undoubtedly preferred, it’s not always an option for parents due to physiological or other reasons. Parents who are bottle-feeding want to know their child is getting the right nutrients to optimise sleep cycles, growth and development.”
Human milk is a powerful form of chrononutrition, communicating important time-of-day information to the infant. Research* shows that, unlike cow’s milk, which is static, human milk contains higher levels of cortisol and activity-promoting amino acids during the day to promote alertness, feeding behaviour and catabolic processes in infants, while night milk contains high levels of melatonin and tryptophan to foster sleep, relax digestion and support cell restoration.
Studies* have revealed that sufficient levels of tryptophan in infant formula can have a significant benefit on babies’ sleep/wake cycles. This amino acid is a building block of melatonin, a hormone that promotes healthy sleep cycles.
NiMera Night Formula contains αlpha lactalbumin (‘a-lactalbumin’), a protein that is rich in tryptophan. In human breast milk, the concentration of α-lactalbumin is much higher than that of cow’s milk or whey-based formula.* The higher levels of a-lactalbumin in the NiMera Night Formula have been designed to reflect the peak of tryptophan in breast milk that occurs at around 3am. The Day Formula reflects the lower concentration of tryptophan in mid-afternoon.
“Ask any new parent and getting their baby’s sleep ‘right’ is a high priority when it comes to adjusting to the significant changes that come with becoming a parent. Developing a positive sleep routine is not just essential for the baby, but for parents as well,” says George.
“Many parents may need to turn to infant formula at some point but are often using the same formula both during the day and night. NiMera Night Formula aims to support sleep and will hopefully set babies and parents up for a positive sleep routine.”
NiMera’s Day and Night formulas comply with all relevant standards in the Australia New Zealand Food Standard Codes. They include complete profiles of healthy nutrients balanced with protein, carbohydrate and fat.
Specially formulated nucleotides (compounds that play a key role in a wide range of intracellular chemical processes, including building DNA and RNA) have been customised for NiMera Day and NiMera Night to best capture their effect on development during the day and support better sleep at night.
Essential fatty acids omega-3 (DHA) and omega-6 (ARA) are included to support long-term heart health, immune system and lung function. They are paired with choline to enhance brain development.
OPO has also been added to promote bone strength and intestinal health, as well as the absorption of calcium and fatty acids to relieve constipation. A synbiotic blend of prebiotics and probiotics also enhance nutrient absorption, digestion and immune health.
Creating the innovative time-based formulas posed a practical challenge for the brothers. With years of technical experience in manufacturing, co-founder Michael Lytas is acutely aware of the focus on efficiencies in milk powder production, which makes formula variation difficult.
“Infant formula manufacturing adopts a one-size-fits-all approach. We knew this was going to be a potential issue, so with our business partners, we established our own manufacturing business, The Infant Nutrition Company of Australia. In this new state of the art milk powder facility, we can ensure the two distinct formulas could be manufactured without compromise,” Michael says.
The brothers’ focus on quality products for families is evident in the name they chose for their innovative formula.
“Our Greek heritage means family is central to our lives,” explains George. “The name NiMera comes from the Greek words ‘nyx’ for night and ‘mera’ for day. This reflects the sleep-wake cycle between night and day, while nodding to our Greek heritage and love of family. We believe our research-backed, circadian rhythm-designed formulas make NiMera the best choice for formula-fed babies.”
NiMera Day formula is recommended for day-time feeds from 6am to 6pm, and the NiMera Night formula is for use from 6pm to 6am.
To find out more, visit: www.nimera.com.au
*Chloe McLeod was commissioned by Austral Foods to assess the NiMera formulation.
Sanchez, 2013, Hahn-Holbrook, 2019
Cubero, 2007; Cubero 2006; Lien, 2003
Breastfeeding is the natural and superior method of feeding infants as it provides the optimal balance of nutrition and protection for an infant during their growth and development. Good maternal nutrition is important in the preparation for and maintenance of breastfeeding. If you are considering bottle-feeding please consult a health care professional as introducing bottle-feeding may have negative effects on breastfeeding by reducing the supply of milk and may be difficult to reverse the decision not to breastfeed. Please consider the social and financial implications when using infant formula. For safe use of infant formula please follow the preparation instructions. Improper use of an infant formula or inappropriate feeding methods may present a health hazard. NiMera is supplying this information for general information purposes.