By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Food choices in the first 1,000 days of life could have a major impact on mental health and brain development, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Getting her two young children to eat a healthy diet isn’t always easy, but Jennifer Osterweil says it’s a priority.

“When your kids eats healthy, it feels like you’re eating healthy,” she said.

“It can affect the child long-term, in terms of cognitive development, in terms of attention, behavior,” Dr. Preeti Parikh, an AAP spokesperson, said.

The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and it calls on pediatricians to recommend more than just a good diet, including brain-building nutrients for pregnant women and young children.

The new policy also calls on pediatricians to talk with parents about what foods are healthy and nutrient-rich, and not just alternatives to junk food.

In addition to the new diet recommendations, the AAP issued a statement Tuesday applauding the congressional extension of CHIP funding for six years, which provides health insurance for nearly 9 million children.

In terms of diet, the first three years are really important and also help to build good habits.