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Early Life Nutrition

Early-life nutrition encompasses the first 1000 days of a child's life, from conception to their second birthday, as well as the toddler years.  As healthcare professionals, it is essential to understand the importance of early life nutrition in shaping the long-term health outcomes of infants and children. Nutrition during the critical period of conception to toddlerhood plays a crucial role in promoting optimal growth and development, as well as reducing the risk of chronic diseases later in life.


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During pregnancy, proper maternal nutrition is essential for fetal development. Adequate intake of macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals is necessary to support fetal growth and development, particularly of the brain and nervous system. Furthermore, poor maternal nutrition can increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as low birth weight and preterm delivery.


Breastmilk uniquely adapts to the infant's nutritional needs at each stage of their development, and is the ideal nutrition for infants, providing the optimal balance of nutrients and bioactive components to support their growth and development. The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, with continued breastfeeding alongside appropriate complementary foods for two years and beyond.

Toddlers, between the ages of 1 and 3, have unique nutritional requirements due to their rapid growth and high activity levels. Their nutritional needs differ significantly from those of older children and adults and require more calories and nutrients in each mouthful of food.


Understanding and providing appropriate early-life nutrition during this critical period is essential for reducing the risk of various health conditions including chronic diseases, and can have lifelong positive effects on a child's health and well-being.

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