For Baby, the First 1000 Days May Make All the Difference
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Perhaps the most common connection we make between pregnancy and food is the whacky cravings that moms-to-be request at all hours of the day and night: ice cream and pickles anyone? But there’s a more serious connection between pregnancy—and the first two years of a child’s life—and nutrition.
According to science, what a mother eats during her pregnancy and what she feeds her baby during the first two years of life can impact the child’s lifelong health, brain development, and immune system robustness. It seems that even a person’s predisposition to obesity and certain chronic diseases can be set during this critical window.
Malnourishment early in life, which can be caused by lack of food or by eating nutrient-empty foods, can lead to a diminished capacity to learn, stunted physical growth, and a greater susceptibility to infection and disease, including adult-onset health issues like heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancers.
During pregnancy, mothers are the sole source of nutrition for their babies, and there are definitely foods that will work for you and your baby and others that will work against you and your child:
A variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
Plenty of protein such as beans, lean meats, and dairy products
Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal
Foods or supplements with folic acid
During infancy, breastfeeding is best and at six months, your baby is ready to add solid foods to her diet. Offer your baby a healthy mix of veggies, whole grain cereals, and meat in baby food form.
As a baby moves from infancy to toddlerhood, there’s a tremendous amount of physical and cognitive growth that parents need to support with a wide variety of healthy foods.Toddlers should be eating three meals a day with one to two healthy snacks in between. It is essential that a toddler’s diet include a wide variety of fruits, whole grains, legumes, and proteins. What they don’t need are sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas and fruit-flavored drinks and nutrient-poor foods and “snacks” that contain excessive sugar, fat and salt.
If you have any questions about nutrition during your child’s first 1000 days, just give us a call or stop in anytime.
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