#First1000Days – Start healthy to stay healthy

Being a mom makes you realise how tough it actually is to raise kids and I am writing this because I have pledged to raise awareness about the most important developmental phase of our lives i.e. #First1000Days. First 2 years of everyone’s life (including pregnancy phase from the day of conception) and one of my kid is yet to reach that milestone.

I’ve suffered loss of my first baby who was born underweight and couldn’t survive neonatal jaundice. I took care of myself after conception but there were people who keep reminding you that pregnancy is just a “normal” thing and it’s nothing “special” to care about. But I tell you IT IS. You can’t figure out the reasons what and why it happened but an important factor was growth restriction. Although I looked fine and healthy but my body was lacking the essential nutrients for the new-born.

After that tough phase of my life I’ve been blessed again. My daughter was born with borderline weight because of iugr i.e. growth deficiency inside womb. I have to ensure adequate intake of nutritional supplements throughout the pregnancy. That day I realised how important it is to take care of yourself from the day you conceived, as first 1000 days of a precious life begins inside your womb.

Lack of nutrition definitely hinders growth and when it comes to developmental phase of a baby’s life, it is extremely crucial to provide them with the best available resources. Nestlé Pakistan conducted an awareness session inviting bloggers and youth from every walk of life to make them realise the importance of nutrition during first 1000 days. The session held at Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi under Nestlé’s initiative ‘Start Healthy, Stay Healthy’.

Dr. Huma Fahim, Medical Advisor in Nestlé Nutrition gave the audience an informative presentation followed by an interactive quiz. The session informed that environment experienced during pre and postnatal development have its effects on health later in life. In particular, the first 1,000 days of life (from conception until second year of life) is considered as a crucial period of life during which the nutrition one takes in plays an important role in determining the health of a person later in life.

Most of the brain development is completed by the age of two years and the height that a child has at 2 years is almost half the height that child will have as an adult. The nutritional aid like DHA, probiotic and ARA is what a child needs during first 1000 days. Feed them well because they deserve it but remember to consult a qualified doctor or nutritionist too.

Also it needs to be remembered that there’s no substitute for mother feed. Nutritional supplements can only aid development but mother feed shouldn’t be discontinued at least during first 1000 days. Don’t rely on desi totkay like ghutti and saunf podina paani or just gripe water. When your baby is on exclusive mother feed during first 6 months, make sure to consume wholesome balanced diet.

Waqar Ahmad, the Head of Corporate Affairs at Nestle Pakistan, said,

“Nestlé has an expertise in nutrition and believes it has a responsibility to share that expertise. We want to promote better health through good nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life. Research shows that children who don’t get proper nutrition in their early years can’t fully develop their physical and cognitive potential and are at an increased risk of poor health as adults.”

The event was attended by many influential bloggers and they all pledged to use their influence to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition in the First 1000 Days of a child’s life. Special mention for TDF, organisers of this well-managed event. Nestlé deserves applause too for not making it a brand advertising event and keeping it a great informative hangout.

You can be a part of this campaign too by passing it on to the people you know. Take good care of mothers-to-be and give the best nutrition to your child during first 1000 days so that they can  live a healthy life. If you can afford, look around and try to support nutritional needs of a baby. It could be your maid’s baby who can’t afford to buy nutritional supplements. Be there for such kids.

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