Parent as the champion of the 'First 1000 days of child's life'...
Maternal prenatal nutrition and the child's nutrition in the first 2 years of life (1000 days) are crucial factors in a child’s neurodevelopment and lifelong mental health.
- Calories are essential for growth of both fetus and child but are not sufficient for normal brain development.
- Key nutrients that support neurodevelopment include protein; zinc; iron; choline; folate; iodine; vitamins A, D, B6, and B12; and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Pediatricians should refer to existing services for nutrition support for pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants, and toddlers. Finally, all providers caring for children can advocate for healthy diets for mothers, infants, and young children in the first 1000 days.
First 1000 days is from the day of conception to 2 years of the child. The mother's diet is very critical through the pregnancy period and nutrition is critical for the mother and the child. The Child's brain development starts as early as 18th day after conception and primary structures are created during this period.
These structures and processes include the
- Sensory systems (especially auditory and visual),
- Hippocampus (declarative learning and memory),
- Myelination (speed of processing), and
- Monoamine neurotransmitter systems (affect, reward).
- Prefrontal cortex (planning, attention, inhibition, multitasking)
- Brain circuits involved in social development
Early supplementation of nutrients to children at risk for macronutrient deficiency improved neurodevelopmental outcomes over an extended period of life, beyond the period of supplementation.
Though there are numerous food charts and plans for the child, its advisable to visit the pediatric nutritionist to understand the requirements for your child. Every child is unique and the diet would be tailored to the developmental requirements of the child. Nuclear families have been increasing with increased globalization, and the family moving based on opportunities. Online consultation meets the need to the globe trotting families and also have the nutritionist available across the globe.
Nutritionist or Dieticians are qualified to understand the current environment and the child specific developmental requirements. Parents can reach the professional at any time and have support and guidance through the life of the child.