Feeding the first 1,000 days of baby’s life: what you should do (and what not)

The recommendations in infant nutrition have been changing a lot in the last ten years thanks to the spectacular advance of science. This means that we know more and more and adjust better to the needs of the population at each stage of life, but are parents aware of the importance of feeding during the first 1000 days of their baby’s life? “Not much, and it is extremely important to take care of nutrition during this period of life”, warns Elena Toledano, nutritionist and dietician at ROOTS Mindfoodness, the new proposal for infant feeding so that future generations grow strong and healthy while saving mothers time and parents in preparing recipes. What is the most relevant thing for parents to know? The most relevant thing is to know the basics of infant nutrition, which are these: -Eat fruit and vegetables every day several times a day -Eat legumes 3 times a week -Eat whole grains and tubers every or almost every day -Eat fruits dried, seeds 4 times a week -Use extra virgin olive oil -Make healthy cooking: boiled, iron, oven, stews, steam … Avoid fried and battered. -Cooking a varied and attractive diet -Avoid as much as possible: children’s cereals, cookies, pastries, juices, soft drinks, sweets, sugary dairy products and drinkable shakes, sweet flavored yogurts, pizzas, chips and salty snacks, sugar, white bread, meats processed (sausages, cold cuts), sauces, precooked … In my opinion, this advice is so important that it should be accessible from the pediatric service. Indeed, patient care services in health centers should have up-to-date recommendations on pediatric nutrition, as these are constantly changing. Authorities such as the WHO and the AEP always have up-to-date scientific evidence, so health professionals (pediatricians, nurses, nutritionists) should follow them to be able to disclose information that is not contradictory and confusing for parents. In addition, we are the only European country that does not have nutritionists in public health, so families have no way of accessing adequate nutritional education in any of their stages of life. They see the need to turn to us outside, which is not accessible to everyone. Something that is a basic health need is seen as a luxury, and more so in this important stage, such as the first 1000 days of life. Another serious problem is that there are conflicts of interest from the same health centers and professionals with the big brands that offer unhealthy products, so that the education of parents is skewed by this unhealthy and harmful information. In the end, what are the biggest mistakes made by Spanish families with young children? The advertising and marketing around children’s products make parents believe that what they are doing is insufficient or not appropriate for their young children, but they are simply strategies to make us believe that we need their unhealthy products. The current industrial offer offers products that are harmful to children’s health, they do not follow official nutritional recommendations, contain added sugars, large amounts of salt, hydrolyzed and dextrinated flours, poor quality oils and use ingredients to lower costs such as starches, water or potatoes. What are the recommendations for a healthy diet in young children? Our recommendations to follow a healthy diet in young children are: -Food based on fruits, vegetables, legumes, tubers, whole grains, accompanied by lean meats, white and blue fish, eggs, seeds … -Avoid soft drinks, sugar as much as possible , pastries, sugary dairy products, juices, cookies, precooked foods, sweets, salty snacks, children’s cereals, pastries … -It must not be rigid and strict, but flexible and respectful of the child’s demands -Food is not a bargaining chip: no We must use it neither to punish nor to reward, since it can generate a bad relationship with food in the future -Respect the speed, feelings of hunger and the child’s way of eating: they know more than anyone how much they need to eat, force them to finish it alone will create eating problems -Give an example: we cannot promote the consumption of fruit while we eat a bun -We must not get carried away by children’s advertising, this ut iliza our fears (the health of our children) so that we need to buy your products (without them being necessary) Why is it important to change the diet at the time of conception? At the time of conception, the uterus prepares to create an optimal environment for the fertilized egg. The nutritional status before pregnancy determines the development of the embryo and placenta, so it is important to take care of yourself before pregnancy as well. Pregnancy is a period of great fetal growth and development. The nutritional status of the woman when she becomes pregnant and during pregnancy can affect the development of the fetus, the quality of the placenta, the health of the mother, childbirth, postpartum and the subsequent lactation stage, with the activation of milk production. A deficiency in certain micronutrients such as calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin A or iodine can lead to complications in pregnancy, endangering the mother and the child, as well as insufficient weight gain due to The mother’s part would also increase the risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, and birth defects. Pregnant women who eat about 3 meals a day can meet the recommendations for pregnancy, but they will probably not meet the requirements of iron, vitamin D and choline, key micronutrients in this period. That is why it is important to take care of your diet before, during and after pregnancy. What should we take care of during breastfeeding? The main national and international scientific associations such as the WHO and the Spanish Pediatric Association (AEP) recommend that breastfeeding be the only food supply until 6 months of age, and then complement it with other foods, at least up to 2 years , being able to keep it as long as mother and child want. Breastfeeding has health benefits, as it reduces the risk of chronic diseases in the baby and is associated with a reduction in breast and ovarian cancer in the mother. It is considered the best and only recommended source of nutrients that the baby needs. During this period, the mother’s diet also modulates breast milk, so it is very important to follow certain guidelines at this stage. How to get a good nutritional status while breastfeeding? To achieve good nutritional status during breastfeeding, a woman has to increase her intake of nutrients. For example, if a mother’s diet is deficient in vitamins, her milk contains less of these nutrients, which can be detrimental to the baby’s growth. Likewise, there are foods that can pass into the milk and be harmful to the baby, so the following nutritional recommendations must be taken into account: -The consumption of vegetables should be 2-3 daily servings -The consumption of fruits should be daily also, 3-5 servings a day -Whole grains and tubers (rice, potatoes, quinoa, wholemeal pasta, …) should be included in each meal -The ration of natural nuts is a handful a day -The fish should be consumed 3-4 times a week, being half of blue fish -We should not include red meats, being lean meats (chicken, turkey, pork loin) without fat the most recommended, with 2-3 times a week would be enough. -Legumes are very important: they must be at least 3 times a week -Egg is a very interesting food, we can include it 2-5 times a week – Dairy products are not essential, but we can take 1 or 2 servings a day -To cook and dress we will always use extra virgin olive oil -Drink enough water and hydrate ourselves, about 2L per day -The iodine needs in lactating women are almost double those of a healthy adult, since in addition to covering their own needs has to ensure that the baby receives through the milk the iodine it needs for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, which is achieved using iodized salt. And what is discouraged during breastfeeding? Coffee, tea, infusions are not recommended during breastfeeding: the intake of 2 cups of coffee or tea a day is safe, but it is recommended to reduce it whenever possible. Herbal teas are safe, but there are certain herbs that can be dangerous, such as pennyroyal. Of course, alcohol, the recommended intake is zero. Fish with a high mercury content (bluefin tuna, swordfish, emperor, shark, pike …). And when starting complementary feeding at six months, how should we start to introduce it? Complementary feeding (CA) is considered a process by which solid or liquid foods other than breast milk or infant formula are offered to the infant as a supplement (not as a substitute for it). In recent years the recommendations have changed numerous times, being markedly different from the advice received by the previous generation. Inadequate CA can cause nutritional imbalances that lead to energy or macronutrient deficits such as protein or long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, important for growth and health. Furthermore, the secondary objective of CA is to prevent short, medium and long term diseases, in whose pathogenesis nutrition is decisive, such as allergies or celiac disease. There is no clear evidence that there is a certain order, but there are calendars that give us some introductory recommendations as a guide: Where to start at 6 months? -Vegetable foods that can be easily digested: tomato, onion, carrot, turnip, pumpkin, parsnip and yuc -Tubers and roots such as potato (without skin), sweet potato or sweet potato -Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, start without skin and then add with skin. -Fruits such as banana, mango or avocado. Apple, pear, apricot and peach too, but without skin and better cooked or micro steamed. -White fish: monkfish, hake, sole, sea bass, sea bream or turbot. Better wild fish and MSC certified (like ours from Papis). How can we fight against foods that are not really good for our children and that are in the supermarket? The foods that are in the supermarket such as: pastries, sweets, desserts, infant cereals, soft drinks, sugary dairy products, sweets, precooked products, sauces, smoothies, juices … They are all unhealthy and harmful to your health. And how do we as a country fight against it? Not buying them. Surrounding our children with healthy foods and not introducing what is harmful to them at home. As a general rule, nutritionists do not recommend completely isolating children from unhealthy products, because we must learn to live with these types of products, but neither surround them nor favor an obesogenic environment unnecessarily. And then what do they have to eat? Easy: healthy food. The same as adults: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, vegetables, meats, fish, nuts, eggs … The important thing is that unhealthy products are found in a timely manner without affecting your health. The problem today is that we give them pastries in the morning and sweets in the afternoon. Juices and sugary cereals for breakfast … There are a thousand options we can turn to: fruit, dehydrated fruit, dark chocolate, homemade cookies, yogurt, homemade smoothies, whole grains (corn, oatmeal), homemade pancakes, healthy snacks carrot sticks with hummus …

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