Every year, the entire month of September is being celebrated as Nutrition month. This year, the theme is Rashtriya POSHAN MAHH and it focuses on the Prevention of Malnutrition & 1st 1000 Days.
The first 1000 days refers to the period that begins with pregnancy planning and goes up to when the child reaches her/his second birthday.
Why the first 1000 days really matter??
The care & nourishment for the first 1000 days (from conception until 2 years) has a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow learn & thrive. Foundation for their lifelong health is built on certain building blocks. They are:
- Nutritious (Balanced) diet for Mother during PREGNANCY –
This ensures good brain development, healthy birth weight for the baby & reduces the risk of anemia among mothers. So, a mother should include additional amounts of foods rich in folic acid, iron, vitamin D, calcium, vitamin B12 & protein.
- Exclusive Breastfeeding during the FIRST SIX MONTHS –
Breast milk uniquely tailored to meet the health needs of a growing baby & it enhances the baby’s immunity.
- Introduction of COMPLIMENTARY/WEANING foods at SIX MONTHS –
A weaning food must be:
- Locally available, culturally acceptable & prepared at home as it
- Help to address the micro-nutrient gap & energy
- Helps baby more towards an adult diet
- Helps develop food preferences
While weaning baby:
- Right time/frequency
- Adequate amount
- Appropriate diversity (in taste, texture, flavor & color)
- Safe& hygiene
- Low in salt, sugar & spices
- Start cow milk only after one year
- Introduce one new food at a time
- Avoid whole nuts as choking hazard
- Wean 2 times a day along with breastfeeding
- Weaning food must be in a puree/semi-solid form (rice, dal, carrot, apple, banana, etc).
- Wean three times a day along with breastfeeding
- Start all food groups (cereals, pulses, all types of vegetables, fruits, egg, fish, poultry) in semi-solid/solid consistency. Eg: Kichidi, mashed potato, boiled egg, etc. growing baby & it enhances baby’s immunity.
12-24 months (1-2 yrs):
- Introduce three meals a day + 1-2 healthy snacks in between along with breastfeeding
- Introduce finger foods (pick up with thumb & finger) solid form
- Discourage chips, cookies/biscuits, soft drinks, fruit-flavoured drinks & unhealthy fat-rich foods, etc.
“Journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step’’.