First 1,000 days of food vital to baby IQ

Fiona Dillon

AN early feeding clinic will offer nutritional advice to mums-to-be on the crucial first 1,000 days of life.

Parents are to be helped monitor their children's eating habits to ensure they start out on the best diet possible.

"The first 1,000 days of life have been recognised as the most important time in the health of babies and adults," said consultant dietician Sarah Keogh.

"Crucial brain development takes place in these early days and the nutrition available to babies from conception to two years, the first 1,000 days, has been shown to have an effect on children's behaviour, reading and verbal skills.

"In later life, risk of diseases such as heart disease and obesity as adults are also linked to the foods babies are exposed to before and after birth," she said.

She added that nutrition in the first 1,000 days can play a role in bone health, heart disease, gut problems and obesity in adults. It is not the only factor, but it is increasingly recognised as an important one," she said.

"It is amazing that the nutrition our babies are exposed to can have such a profound effect 40 and 50 years on."

The early feeding clinic at the Albany Clinic in Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2, will hold its first session today offering expert advice.

It will offer advice on pre-conception, including advice for couples who have been having difficulty getting pregnant, as well as nutrition during pregnancy and breast feeding.


Ms Keogh said that quite often she will see women for instance who are not getting enough protein. They may be vegetarian or vegan, and may think their diet is nutritionally adequate, but they may be lacking protein.

She explained that the early feeding clinic, which will be run by dieticians, was set up "to help parents wade through the mountains of nutritional advice that is out there on conception, pregnancy and child nutrition".

The clinic will also be offering help with bottle and breast-feeding issues, as well as offering a weigh-in service for babies if parents are worried about weight in the early days.

And advice is on hand also for parents of older children on issues such as how to deal with fussy eating.