The most active period of neural development is from conception to age 2. During this time structures and processes develop that influence behavior and provide a basis for later-developing structures such as the visual and auditory systems, myelination and social development brain circuits.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a policy statement with 10 recommendations emphasizing the importance of early proper nutrition.
In these recommendations, proper macronutrition (diets that are high-calorie, high-protein) and micronutrition (vitamins B12, D, B6, A and minerals such as zinc, folate, iodine, iron, choline as well as long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids ) is emphasized.
An important source of micronutrients is human breast milk. Previous studies have shown that babies that are fed breast milk have improved cognitive performance compared to those fed formula milk. The AAP recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months then continued as a supplement to food for the first year.
Pediatrics. 2018;141(2). pii: e20173716