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What happens during early childhood lays the foundation for a lifetime. Evidence has demonstrated clearly that the first hours, days and weeks after birth - the newborn period - are a precious time for a child’s survival, health and development. Knowledge and tools are available to provide every newborn with nurturing care that involves parents and other caregivers directly. To create the enabling environment for providing developmentally supportive care, there is a need to invest in policies, health systems and community awareness. As more newborns survive, we now need to make sure that they also can thrive. This is especially important for small and sick babies who are at greater risk of mortality, illness or disability when deprived from quality care.
This Thematic Brief outlines the five components of nurturing care and contains examples of practical actions to create and strengthen nurturing environments for newborns, including those who are born too soon, small or sick.