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Learn tips for a healthy pregnancy, toddler nutrition

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URBANA, Ill. — The 1,000 days between a person's pregnancy and their child's second birthday offer a unique opportunity to build a healthier and more prosperous future, so knowing how to care for mother and baby during this period is vital.

The University of Illinois Extension Integrated Health Disparities team, in collaboration with Carle Illinois College of Medicine and Avicenna, offers the Nurturing Foundations series, a free online program designed to promote children’s health at this vital stage in their lives, raise awareness of existing disparities in maternal health, and provide education on maternal health to address these issues.

This series begins in early 2024 and is intended for outreach professionals, community health workers, health care providers, and public members interested in prenatal, postpartum, and early childhood health.

"Investing in the care of mothers and children during the first 1,000 days is an opportunity that will pay off with a bright, healthy, and productive future for all,” says Dr. Margarita Teran-Garcia, assistant dean for integrated health disparities programs. “The Nurturing Foundations series embraces this responsibility to provide evidence-based information to help parents and healthcare professionals reach informed decisions in a critical period of the lifecycle."

All sessions are presented from Noon to 1 p.m., and topics include:

  • Eating Healthy During Pregnancy: What To Do When Eating for Two on Feb. 8.
  • Disparities in Maternal Care: Good Care for All During Pregnancy on Feb. 22.
  • Breastfeeding in the First Six Months: Myths, Benefits, and Barriers on March 7.
  • Responsive Care: Supporting Caregivers As They Care for Their Baby or Toddler on March 21.
  • How Soon Is Too Soon for Solid Foods? The Right Foods Introduced to Babies at the Right Time on April 4.
  • Guiding Little Palates to Healthy Eating: A Healthy and Nutritious Diet for Babies and Toddlers on April 18.
  • The Importance of Water: Quenching Toddlers’ Thirst Healthily on May 2.
  • Nutrition Guidelines for Babies and Toddlers: Decoding Mixed Messages About How To Feed Young Children on May 16.
  • Putting Healthy Food on the Table: Addressing Food Access Challenges for Families With Young Children on May 30.
  • Social Investment in Every Child: Securing the Future and Well-Being of All Babies and Toddlers on June 13.

Participation is free, but registration is required at

For more information or if you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, contact Elizabeth Sandoval at Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet access needs.

SOURCE: Caitlin Fredericks, IHD physical education and health specialist, Illinois Extension

WRITER: Herbert Chavez, media communications coordinator, Illinois Extension

About Extension

Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities. Illinois Extension is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.