Keeping our children healthy through the first 1000 days of life is central to our campaign, but we get a lot of questions about why this time is so crucial.
So let’s break down just what we mean by “the first 1000 days of life” and find out why they’re so important.
1. What is “the first 1000 days of life”?
The first 1000 days of life starts at conception and includes the period of time throughout pregnancy, birth and the following 24 months.
This time is a unique period of opportunity where foundations of our child’s health, growth, and brain development across their lifespan are laid.
2. Why are the first 1000 days important for my baby?
From a child’s birth to age two, connections in the brain happen one million times per second. This means that the earliest experiences shape a baby’s brain development, and have a lifelong impact on the baby’s mental and emotional health.
Studies also show that when a baby’s development falls behind during the first years of life, it is more likely to fall even further behind as the child grows.
Babies that have the best start to life do better later on and we need to make sure every child gets that chance.
3. Why are the first 1000 days important for me?
Caring for a child can be hard and we know that the transition to parenting can be extremely challenging - especially for new parents.
During the first 1000 days time parents need special support to help make the transition as smooth and stress free as possible.
We know that stress hormones are released into the body during pregnancy and that the early years can be extremely demanding. With the right support and education, overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed parents have the chance to improve their children’s long term social, physical and emotional health outcomes for life.
We all want to keep our children safe, happy, and healthy, and that means taking care of ourselves too.
4. So how can my baby get the best chance to thrive in the West?
If you’re struggling or are worried about your child, make sure you access support where and when you need it.
Sometimes support can come from friends, family, or a partner, and sometimes you may have to seek help from a healthcare professional.
The problem we are facing in Melbourne’s West is that we’re hearing from many parents that they can’t access the support they need from professionals when they need it. Now you know why the first 1000 days is so important, you can see why parents and children missing out is so troubling.
That’s why Generation West is working with families, the community, and healthcare providers to tell our MPs that we need urgent action, starting with a comprehensive review and new plan for maternal and paediatric services here in the West.
There is less than one month to the election and we need to make sure our MPs listen and can take our ideas to parliament and can start putting the services families and children in the West need to thrive.
If you haven’t already, sign the Generation West petition and make sure your family and friends do too. We’ll keep you updated on our campaign and ways that you can get involved.
Together we can make sure children in the West get the best chance to thrive right from the start.