BTD – Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Nutrition — The Thousand Day Window of Opportunity

BTD - Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Nutrition — The Thousand Day Window of Opportunity

welcome to beyond the data I'm dr. Phoebe Thorpe and here with me today is Lucy Sullivan the executive director for 1000 days hi Lucy thank you so much for joining us hey Phoebe it's great to be here thank you for having me our session today was about maternal infant and childhood early childhood nutrition and about the thousand day window of opportunity what is the 1000 day window of opportunity and how did you get involved in it yeah so the 1000 a window of opportunity refers to the time between a woman's pregnancy and a child's second birthday and the reason we call it the window of opportunity is because it's a real chance to ensure that babies get a strong start to life nutrition during that first thousand days plays a critical role in ensuring mom and baby health and ensuring baby's development that they get a strong start in terms of brain development and setting the foundation for lifelong health the thousand day window was actually discovered if you will by The Lancet back in 2008 the British Medical Journal The Lancet that identified this – nine months a 24 month window and knee rolls the powerful role that nutrition plays in setting the trajectory for a child's health and a child's development and since then we have taken that that thousand days term and tried to really bring greater awareness to the importance of nutrition to ensure that every child throughout the world and in the u.s. gets the nutrition that they need to thrive and for me it was a professional passion and then became a personal passion when I became a mother of course of course so let's start with the pregnant weight gain during pregnancy very nutrition is very important part of that what and the amount of weight that women gave during pregnancy is very important what can health care providers do to help women understand the importance of that yeah I'm so glad you brought that up because in in the US many women are entering pregnancy at an unhealthy weight and it's really important that women start out pregnancy healthy eating a good diet and obviously managing their their weight and once a woman becomes pregnant it's also incredibly important to ensure that she's gaining the appropriate amount of weight and this is where the health care providers do play a very critical role in guiding women in terms of the the appropriate weight gain counseling women on nutrition on the importance of nutrition and the foods they should be eating and in this way access to affordable comprehensive health care is critically important for women to make sure that they have the opportunity to see doctors during their prenatal visits and and be followed up with in terms of are they gaining the appropriate amount of weight there's actually a Goldilocks zone if you will in terms of weight gain we want to make sure that women are gaining just the right amount of weight not too little and not too much because it's important for her for moms own health but also important for baby's health the amount of weight that a woman gains during pregnancy what she eats her nutritional stores during pregnancy really does have an impact on the developing child and can set the trajectory for that child later on in life what's happening in that nine months in pregnancy and then in the first few years of life really do impact a child's for example predisposition to certain kinds of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease and there's some interesting research showing that the quality of nutrition during that thousand day window and the amount of weight a woman gains as part of that really does have this this lifelong impact so there's also plenty of research about the importance of breastfeeding and the benefits of breastfeeding not and it's not just the research is not just about what for the baby but its for the mom both what can we do to help support breastfeeding more yeah I'm so glad you brought that up Phoebe and you're absolutely right breastfeeding is just as important for mom as it is for baby in Mom's it helps reduce the of breast cancer ovarian cancer and high blood pressure and so we want to make sure that moms have the support that they need to get breastfeeding started so that means a really skilled lactation support in the hospital's making sure that hospitals and and maternity care facilities are breastfeeding friendly and then that means when she goes to home with the baby that she then has the support that she needs from her partner from her community certainly from her workplace to continue breastfeeding one of the challenges and one of the big barriers that women have in this country is that there is not a national paid parental leave policy that covers all workers and so you have one in four women going back to work within two weeks of giving birth and it's very challenging for moms to continue to breastfeed in accordance with the AAP recommendations and the w-h-o recommendations that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first six months and then when they return to work employers need to ensure that there's access to lactation facilities so that when moms are pumping milk they have a safe clean space to do so and to store their milk as well so there's a lot more we can be doing to support mothers to breastfeed for their own health and then we haven't talked yet about the child health benefits of breastfeeding but it's incredibly important as you know as a pediatrician and that ranges from lower infections in terms of ear infections respiratory infections a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome which is a leading cause of infant mortality in the US and so breastfeeding really is an essential public health investment as a pediatrician I was delighted to hear about the peanuts and now there are new recommendations too for children who are at high risk for peanut allergy to introduce peanuts to them even as young as four months this is a hundred and eighty from the previous recommendations that were given even just a few years ago but there are many other important things to know about introducing foods to your infants can you tell me about some of those sure the most important thing is to introduce a variety of foods and textures into an infant's diet and that means fruits vegetables and meats meats are actually important from an iron standpoint iron is a key brain building nutrient and so we want to make sure that babies are getting enough iron in their diets when they start eating solid foods unfortunately one in four one year olds in this country one one two two year olds aren't getting enough iron and and that is certainly a concern and something we need to be watching the other thing that's that's important is that parents have the information that they need to make decisions about what they should be feeding and not feeding their babies and this is where I think the Dietary Guidelines that are currently under development will be incredibly helpful so for the first time ever the US government is developing a set of dietary guidelines for pregnant women and children under two and that is going to be I think a really helpful source of information for parents we a thousand days know that about half of parents we've surveyed get mixed messages on what to feed their baby and how to feed their baby so there definitely is a hunger for this kind of information those dietary guidelines are also going to serve in as important reference point for the women infant and Children Program which is a program that serves about half the babies born in this country and it's a critical program particularly for families that that are living in food insecurity and we know that food insecure families the diets tend to be a little bit less nutrient rich and so when we think about babies and toddlers living in low-income families we want to make sure that those babies are getting the wide variety of foods that we just talked about into their diets to ensure that they're they also have a strong start to life sure that makes sense so if people want to know more about all of these things where where would you tell them to look so a great place to start is of course the CDC website and the resources it's she has on breastfeeding and complementary feeding we at thousand days also have resources for parents to better understand what to feed your baby and and and how to feed your baby and when to feed your baby so you can check our resources on our website at thousand days org and then I think beyond that the women infant and Children Program the WIC program that serves so many families in the United States they have breastfeeding counselors and they are a great source of advice for nutrition information and a great resource for parents so hopefully the parents can find the information that they need and as I said the Dietary Guidelines forthcoming 2020 will be will be a question on the web – yes terrific resource Lucy thank you so much for joining us thank you Phoebe it's a pleasure being here and thank you so much for joining us for beyond the data we'll see you next month you

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