The First 1,000 Days: When Nutrition Matters Most
The world of childhood nutrition and wellness is riddled with conflicting advice. And yet, there is growing consensus around one topic: the importance of the first 1,000 days.
Here's What You Need To Know:
- The first 1,000 days (the period from conception to age 2) is the most important time in a person’s life for nutrition.
- By age 2, about 80% of the adult brain is formed.
- It is common for babies to be iron deficient, especially after 6 months when they have depleted their iron stores.
- Studies show that early exposure to a wide variety of texture, tastes, and vegetables can reduce fussiness and instill a love of healthy foods.
- Introducing solid foods too early (before 4 months) is linked to a higher risk of obesity.
- The sugars that a mother consumes while pregnant or nursing can be passed to her baby.
- Several studies have shown a correlation between proper nourishment and strong academic performance.
- Try to avoid feeding your child too much fruit and do not give juice before the age of 1.
From Pregnancy to Two Years Old:
In the last decade, scientists and researchers have circled the first 1,000 days (the period from conception to age 2) as the most important time in a person’s life for nutrition. The concept of the 1,000 days was first established in 2008, when The Lancet, an influential British medical journal, published a landmark series on maternal and infant nutrition. The report concluded that nutrition consumed during this period has a lasting impact through adulthood and that nutrient deficiencies can lead to “irreversible damage.”
“Research has shown that mom’s diet during pregnancy and what the baby eats in the first one to two years of life can have a long-term impact on not only baby’s health but also food preferences, behaviors, and even neural development,” says Nicole Avena, PhD, author of What to Eat When You’re Pregnant, research neuroscientist at the New York Obesity Research Center at Columbia University, and Yumi advisor.
Below is a look at three ways nutrition impacts your baby in the first 1,000 days: