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The first 1000 days of life: the importance of good nutrition

Explore the importance of good balanced diet for babies during the first 1000 days of life, and its impact on their future development.

When talking about early childhood and early childhood nutrition, we often refer to the first 1000 days.

A mother’s nutrition during pregnancy and the nutrition a child receives in the first two years of life are vitally important influences in determining good health both now and into the future. These first 1000 days of life set us up for good health across our lives.

Ensuring babies have the right mix of nutrients in their first 1000 days helps them to better resist infections and allows their growing brains and bodies to realise their full developmental potential.

In some countries a healthy diet will dramatically reduce child malnutrition, infections, and in turn, child mortality, while in others getting early nutrition right will help to prevent a child’s life-long risk of developing non-communicable diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

While we’ve always known that an infant needs good nutrition to grow in their early years, the understanding that nutrition in the first 1000 days will influence health many years down the track is relatively new and our knowledge continues to grow.

In this video, Karen outlines the importance of good infant nutrition during the first 1000 days of life and how a child’s diet in their first 12 months of life impacts their future development.

Having said that, we can only do our best as parents with the information we have. If you already have older children and are expecting again, be assured that changes to better eating and nutrition are still possible and later in the course we’ll give you some advice on dealing with picky eaters.

Your task

Tell us about you and your family – are you expecting your first child, or do you already have a few?

What are some of the concerns you have about providing nutritious meals for your family? Share two or three and discuss them with other learners in the comments.

What, in your view, are some of the potential workarounds?

This article is from the free online

Infant Nutrition: from Breastfeeding to Baby's First Solids

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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