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HOW THE BRAIN DEVELOPSBack to top
The brain is the most complex organ in the body and, as the control centre of the body, is one of the most important.1a,2a,3 From birth, responding to everything that is going on around him or her, your child’s brain changes shape and size rapidly.1b How well it develops depends on genetics and many other factors including:
⦁ Exposure to toxins or infections
⦁ Interaction with other people and their environment
⦁ What they eat 1c
DURING PREGNANCYBack to top
AT BIRTHBack to top
NUTRITION THE BRAIN NEEDS TO LEARN AND GROWBack to top
NUTRIENT-RICH INFANT BRAIN FOODSBack to top
⦁ Protein – meat, poultry, oily fish (wild salmon, cod, trout, mackerel, sea bass), chicken, turkey, tofu, eggs, yogurt, beans, lentils, grains, peanut butter
⦁ Zinc – beef, pork, milk, tofu, kidney beans, peas, lentils, yoghurt
⦁ Copper – mushrooms, shellfish, whole grains, beans, sweet potatoes, blueberries
⦁ Iron – beef, chicken, fish, fortified cereal (vitamin and mineral enriched), beans, leafy greens (such as spinach, kale, broccoli), green peas, avocado
⦁ Selenium – oily fish, chicken, enriched pasta, eggs, brown rice
⦁ Choline – beef, poultry, eggs, white fish, oily fish, lima beans, fortified cereal
⦁ Folate – spinach, orange juice, enriched rice, avocado, whole wheat bread, leafy greens, blueberries
⦁ Iodine – cod, table salt, milk, prawns, egg, canned tuna
⦁ Vitamin A – oily fish, sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, mangoes, eggs, milk, leafy greens
⦁ Vitamin D – mushrooms exposed to UV light (see packaging), oily fish, tuna, milk, fortified non-dairy milks and juice, avocado
⦁ Vitamin K – leafy greens, green peas, blueberries, avocado
⦁ Vitamin B6 – fortified cereal, chickpeas, bananas, sweet potatoes, oily fish, peanut butter, avocado, leafy greens, blueberries
⦁ Vitamin B12 – fortified cereal, oily fish, milk, beef, oily fish, yogurt, cheese, avocado
⦁ Essential fatty acids – oily fish, canola oil, flaxseed, sunflower2c,10
THE IMPORTANCE OF ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (EFAS)Back to top
During breast feeding: your infant receives essential fatty acids through breastmilk (which is 50% fat).
During pregnancy: a developing baby receives essential fatty acids from its mother through the blood that supplies the placenta. The placenta is an organ in the womb that nourishes the developing foetus through the umbilical cord.
During the first two years of your child’s life: brain growth is particularly rapid. About 30% of the dry weight of the brain and eye is made up of essential fatty acids, so once breastfeeding slows down or stops it is important to ensure that your baby does not become EFA deficient – all the more reason to consider a natural supplement.
⦁ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early Brain Development and Health. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/childdevelopment/early-brain-development.html. Accessed 7 April 2019.
⦁ Parents. The Most Important Nutrients for Your Baby’s Brain According to Doctors. Available at: https://www.parents.com/recipes/scoop-on-food/the-most-important-nutrients-for-babys-brain/. Accessed 7 April 2019.
⦁ First Things First. Brain Development. Available at: https://www.firstthingsfirst.org/early-childhood-matters/brain-development/. Accessed 7 April 2019.
⦁ Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the Thinking World. The lifelong importance of nutrition in pregnancy for brain development. Available at: https://blog.oup.com/2016/07/nutrition-pregnancy-prenatal-brain-development. Accessed 7 April 2019.
⦁ Zero to Three. Brain Development. Available at: https://www.zerotothree.org/espanol/brain-development. Accessed 7 April 2019.
⦁ Sinn N and Bryan J. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2007;28(2):82-91.
⦁ Harvard Health Publishing. The crucial brain foods all children need. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/brain-food-children-nutrition-2018012313168. Accessed 7 April 2019.
⦁ World Health Organisation in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund. Weaning from breast milk to family food. Available at: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/39335/9241542373_eng.pdf;jsessionid=1C599FEDDD31ED0FDB965236B5F78118?sequence=1. Accessed 7 April 2019.
⦁ Kelly Mom. What is weaning? When is it time to wean? Available at: https://kellymom.com/ages/weaning/considering-weaning/weaning_intro/. Accessed 7 April 2019.
⦁ Motherly. 10 key foods to build your baby’s brain development. Available at: https://www.mother.ly/child/10-key-foods-to-build-your-babys-brain-development. Accessed 7 April 2019.
⦁ Healthy Children. Feeding & Nutrition Tips: Your 1-Year-Old. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/Feeding-and-Nutrition-Your-One-Year-Old.aspx. Accessed 7 April 2019.
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WHAT IS POSTNATAL DEPRESSION (PND) It is classified as a mood disorder: Associated with childbirth Starting typically between 2 weeks and 1 month after childbirth, but can present any time during the first year of baby’s life Affecting up to 1 in 3 new moms and even some new dads