The first 1000 days of life, a unique window of opportunity for lifelong health

The first 1000 days of life include the period between the first day of pregnancy up to the child’s 2nd year of life. This period is a golden opportunity to ensure a healthy life span. For this reason, proper nutrition plays a crucial role in this period.

Due to the very rapid development at the first 1000 days of life, the child has special nutritional needs at each stage of the fetus, breastfeeding, weaning, and the toddlerhood. Therefore, ensuring that all mothers and children have access to proper nutrition throughout this era is very important.

It is noteworthy that improper nutrition during this period increases the likelihood of a child affected with NCDs, such as obesity, shortness of height, diabetes, allergies, and heart disease.

Proper nutrition in the first 1000 days of life has many benefits for the child, including:
  • Reducing differences between people in terms of health, education, and earning potential
  • Save more than a million children each year
  • A viable investment for the future of children, families, and communities
  • The growth and development of the baby’s brain and energy supply for his/her proper growth
  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes during life
  • Child’s readiness to go to school and reaches academic achievements
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Nutrition during Pregnancy
During pregnancy, the fetus has a significant growth, and during this time, the various organs of the body of the fetus develop fully. During pregnancy, the mother should have a healthy diet to get all the nutrients needed for growing fetus and supply her body with needed nutrients for lactation.
The baby needs special nutrients for healthy growth and development, including the following nutrients:
• Folic acid for the brain and spinal cord health
• Vitamin D and calcium for bone growth
• Essential omega-3 fatty acids for brain development
• Iron for hematopoiesis and proper functioning of the mother's immune system
Nutrition during Breastfeeding
Surely breastfeeding is the best and the most natural nutrition for an infant. Some of the things that are important in breastfeeding include:
• Physical contact between the baby and the mother stimulates the production of certain antibodies in mother's body and secretes them in her milk.
• Breastfeeding enhances emotional communication between mother and child.
• Lactating mothers need more energy and micronutrients such as zinc and iodine than their normal state, as these micronutrients play an important role in the metabolism and growth of the baby.
• Breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and maternal obesity.
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The Best Time to Start a Supplement Food
In order to cater for the growing needs of the growing child, which is constantly changing, appropriate auxiliary foods should be used. Although during this time milk should be considered as the main food for the baby, its familiarity with the taste and texture of new food is important for the following reasons:
• Create healthy baby food habits
• Learn the right tongue and mouth movements
• Encouraging the child to eat without the help of others
• Encouraging the child to share the food with other members of family
Nutrition in Toddlers
The child's need for energy and nutrients is completely different from that of an adult. The nutritional requirements of the child can be up to 7 times that of an adult. On the other hand, the stomach volume of a child is about one fifth of an adult's stomach. Therefore, each spoon of baby food should contain more nutrients than an adult's diet.
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Did you know that your child in the first two years of life:

Adds 1 gram to his brain weight daily?
His weight reaches 4 times of its initial weight?
Grows more than 50% of its initial height?
“If you want to read more about the importance of nutrition in the first thousand days, you can go to the blog page”