The First 1000 days of Nutrition
You’ve probably heard about the concept of the first 1000 days. But what does it mean?
Good nutrition during pregnancy through the second birthday will play a foundational role in the learning and growing process of your child. See nutrition as a fuel to grow and develop.
There are more and more studies in the neuroscience world made available as the brain is the part in the organism that grow the fastest and will therefore need to get nourished with the right nutrients to develop correctly.
Let’s deep dive!
Three important steps
There are three crucial stages in the first 1,000 days: pregnancy, infancy and toddlerhood. At each stage during the 1,000 day window, the developing brain is vulnerable to poor nutrition—either through the absence of key nutrients required for proper development or through the “stress” experienced by a young child coming from food insecurity or bad relationship with food. Which is why it’s so important to be aware of the foundation of nutrition throughout pregnancy and beyond to create this healthy relationship to food!
Taking care of yourself during pregnancy and your baby’s early years will help them grow up healthy and strong.
What happens during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the human brain develops at an astonishing speed. It begins to grow very early on in pregnancy: the neural tube forms just 16 days after conception and by 7 months a child’s brain takes on a form that resembles that of an adult’s.
At the 4th week of pregnancy, the brain has an estimated 10,000 cells— by the 24th week, it contains 10 billion.
Several nutrients play an important role in building the brain during pregnancy. These include iron, protein, copper, folate, zinc, iodine and certain fats. It’s also why you are most likely taking prenatal vitamins to ensure you get all these nutrients.
But there’s also a lot you can do to nourish yourself and your baby through wholefood. Not only will it help for the development of their brain, but also help to develop their taste for future!
The foundation of nutrition
Nutrition for optimum health is not one-size-fits-all, and true wellness isn’t found in a generic diet.
Ultimately, the goal is to become more mindful and considerate about what you eat and knowing which foods are beneficial, which foods are healthy replacement for others foods that might need to be reduced is a great starting point.
Through consultation, Bébé Foodie can help clients identify a unique and personalized nutrition plan that best meets their unique needs and preferences.
What happens during infancy?
Infancy is also a time of remarkable brain development and growth, which is primarily fueled by the nourishment a baby receives. During this time, the brain is developing motor functions such as balance, coordination and posture. Healthy nutrition will enable the child to create and retrieve memories.
It starts with breastfeeding, which is often considered as a superfood: baby tastes everything and gets everything they need from the mother. If not breastfeeding, the adapted formula will also be sufficient to feed baby and provide all the necessary nutrients
And then it continues with the introduction to solid foods!
It’s crucial to remember that every baby is different, and first introductions don’t always equate to success. Most of a baby’s nutrition comes from formula or breast milk at four to six months, so it isn’t a concern if your baby doesn’t gravitate towards solids immediately.
Also, while some babies adjust to the transition to solids quicker than others, others may take longer to adapt. Whatever pace your baby decides to go, it’s completely normal. Therefore, solid foods must be introduced gradually and adapted to your baby’s development stages.
You can find a lot of information and resources in our getting started page.
What happens during toddlerhood?
The adventure continues throughout toddlerhood! Food provides the fuel for much of the extraordinary brain development that takes place in early childhood, and nutrition during this period remains critically important.
At this age also, your child will get all the nutrients from whole foods and breastmilk or formula is not necessary anymore.
Feeding your baby with breastmilk or formula after 1 year old is a personal choice, for your baby’s comfort, and for your own peace of mind too! A few things to keep in mind:
– In terms of quantity, the milk intake should not go above 16 oz a day as to not replace the now more than necessary nutrients from food intake.
– If possible, feedings should take place during the day so that we can brush Bébé’s little teeth before going to bed as milk contains a lot of sugar.
You can find more information on that in our article Everything you need to know about breastfeeding and formula