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Fuel for you + baby: The importance of mama’s diet the first 1,000 days

Those first 1,000 days offer a unique window of opportunity to positively impact the long-term health of a child. ?

Fuel for you + baby: The importance of mama’s diet the first 1,000 days

We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat,” but scientific research now shows that what a mother eats in the period from preconception through to postnatal—those first 1000 days of the baby's life—has such a great impact on the health of the baby that the baby is really what the mother eats!


In basic terms, a mother's health during this period where the baby is directly dependent on her for nutrition greatly impacts the long-term development and health of her child.

For most well-meaning parents, this knowledge opens a new dimension in their attempts to give their children the best possible start in life.

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Those first 1,000 days offer a unique window of opportunity to positively impact the long-term health of a child.

What is Early Life Nutrition?

The term “early life nutrition” is used to refer that critical window of opportunity in which you can positively influence a baby’s health through proper nutrition. The right nutrition—from preconception, pregnancy, infancy and through to toddlerhood—can have a profound impact on a child’s development and long-term health.

The early stages of life are about rapid growth and development. From the first day of pregnancy until about 2 years of age, all organs and tissues are being formed and educated. Therefore, what the mother does and eats in these first 1,000 days will make a difference for the rest of the child's life.

Nutritional deficiencies or malnutrition at this stage can cause irreversible damage to children’s brain development and can even put them at increased risk of developing illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancers later in life.

A person’s genetic makeup is said to influence at most 20 percent of lifelong health, that means that at least 80 percent of your risk of any disease is influenced by environmental factors, with nutrition and lifestyle being critical players in this complex dynamic.

As a mother, you can ensure that your baby gets the best start in life by ensuring that you are at optimal health at each stage of pregnancy.

Preconception

This is the ideal time to focus on your journey to optimal health. To prepare yourself for pregnancy, you should:

  • Follow a healthy diet.
  • Stop smoking and reduce your consumption of alcohol.
  • Ensure that any existing health conditions are being treated or under control.
  • Get to a weight that is healthy and ideal for your body type.
  • Focus on adding foods rich in folate to your diet.

Pregnancy

Baby will be depending on you, the only source of nutrition, for all the nutrients needed for optimal growth. It is therefore important that you:

  • Eat for two. This doesn’t mean eat twice as much, however.  It means to focus on getting nutrients that are essential for a growing baby and that help you meet the demands of pregnancy.
  • Find out what your ideal weight gain should be based on your pre-pregnancy weight and try to gain weight slowly and steadily during the duration of pregnancy. Research shows that mothers are twice as likely to gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy if they know how much weight to aim for.
  • Continue to monitor any preexisting medical conditions you have.
  • Focus on proper nutrition, physical activity and stress management.

Postpartum

New mothers need to replenish their bodies with nutrients that they have lost for the benefit of their new little one. Lactation requires an even higher number of nutrients than pregnancy so as a nursing mother you should ensure that you:

  • Consume nutrient-dense foods.
  • Breastfeed for as long as possible. Not all moms are able to breastfeed, but breastfeeding for as long as possible, even if it's only partially breastfeeding, is protective against a significant number of immune-related diseases such as asthma, diarrhea and respiratory infections.

You’ve got this, mama! ?

This story was originally published on Bump2Beyond.

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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