The United Nations Children’s Fund has urged mothers to give priority to maternal nutrition and first 1,000 days of a child’s life, describing it as a golden window that must not be compromised.
UNICEF Nutritionist Specialist, Ada Ezeogu, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday, on the sideline of a Media Advocacy Meeting by the National Orientation Agency, in collaboration with UNICEF.
NAN reports that the two-day programme attended by no fewer than 50 media practitioners was held in Patron Hotel, Lekki, Sangotedo, Lagos State.
Ezeogu said the practice was important as it would extensively put to a stop to forms of damage children encountered in their window age, (early life).
According to her, it is fundamental that children under two years are subjected to the right foods and exclusive breast milk for six months and that a combination of other nutrient-rich foods thereafter must not be compromised.
“The first 1,000 days is a golden window of a child’s mental and physical developmental life, because it is at that time that the brain is being built, a time that the lifelong for healthy living is laid.
“There is, therefore, every need for a woman to be well nourished before, during and after pregnancy as a child depends more on the mother for nutrient requirements, hence early initiation of breastfeeding is advised.
“Exclusive breastfeeding helps the child to develop mentally and physically, it is evidence of the child’s intelligence and general activities, as it’s an opportunity to ensure that they have a good start in life.
“The lack of vital nutrients from the point where pregnancy is confirmed and in the early stage of a child’s life results in problems such as stunted growth and wasting which is irreversible,” she added.
The Nutritionist pointed out that food played a great role in a child’s development in terms of their physical and mental health and therefore, required that parents must provide such basic needs to enable the child to do well in all ramifications.