We know that the period from birth to five years is the most critical time of development in a child’s life. Healthy beginnings mean future promise.
But more than 200 million children under age five in developing countries are still not fulfilling their development potential. Ten million of these children die every year due to childhood illnesses, malnutrition and a lack of parental or caregiver stimulation, poor attachment and weak health systems.
We know Healthy Beginnings for infants and young children mean:
- Good nutrition and care during the prenatal period and early years.
- Protection against potentially life-threatening childhood diseases.
- Opportunities to develop and learn through play and exploration.
- Strong relationships with the adults who care for them.
When mothers receive proper prenatal nutrition and care for themselves, they have safer and healthier deliveries. During post-natal care, mothers receive important guidance on child feeding and care that ensures the healthy development of their infant.
Screening and monitoring infants, promoting breastfeeding and an introduction of good nutrition, proper immunization, hygiene education and early recognition of danger signs helps prevent complications that could interfere with an infant’s survival and growth.
The primary setting for relationships and support for infants and young children is the family. Infants and young children who have a strong relationship with a parent or caregiver feel more secure and are more resilient in overcoming obstacles.
This attachment also provides the stimulation infants need to gain positive intellectual, emotional, social, motor and communication skills.
To the left, select the name of an infant to read about his or her healthy beginning to life.