First 1000 Days
Baby’s first 1000 days (from conception until bub is 2 years old) is the time when we form our strongest bond with baby. Culture starts being instilled in baby at this time, whilst in the womb. It is the time when building blocks for baby’s life are being made, the foundations for a strong mind, a strong body, good wellbeing and spiritual connections to Country and family.
Building blocks for baby’s life are made in the first 1000 days. For thousands of years, mothers and traditional midwives have passed down knowledge about pregnancy and birth. For many of us, this traditional knowledge has been disrupted. These days, we rely on our mothers, aunties, midwives and doctors to help us through this time.
Culture Starts in the Womb
We come from 64,000 years and 4,600 generations of people! We have a responsibility for the future of the next generations to make sure they are strong and that they know their identity.
Culture begins in the womb. The womb is a safe space where baby is becoming stronger and stronger by connection through language, through culture, through identity, through storytelling and through music.
Just like building a house, growing a brain needs an ordered process. This starts in the womb.
…and like growing a tree, if the soil is poor the whole tree is affected for life. If a baby’s brain grows in weak or poor soil – it affects that child’s whole life. Building strong bodies and brains is interrupted by too much stress that lasts too long.
Building Strong People for the Future
The first 1000 days are important as baby grows. It lays down the building blocks for baby’s life.
Family, friends and food impact how safe baby feels in the world and how baby’s mind and body develops. We know that some levels of stress are normal for all of us, but ongoing stress can impact baby’s brain development. Having things like alcohol, drugs or violence in the home is not good even when baby is in the womb and wires baby’s brain so that learning and easy relationships are harder. Too much stress is not good for baby or for you.
There is no shame in asking for help or sharing your worries. Reach out for strong family support or a trusted health worker who will listen to you.
All new parents find it hard in the beginning. Watch how this dad settles distressed bub with reassuring voice and touch.
Your Relationship with Baby
The good news is that when our homes and relationships are safe, our babies feel safe. Some ways we do that is through eye contact, touch, hugs or our facial expressions. Soft voices and soft touch also helps!
Solid relationships with bub grow strong brains. Play, hugs, facial expressions and eye contact combined with soft touch, singing or soft voices all helps baby grow a healthy brain.
For more information on growing strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families go to the ‘Pregnancy Birth for Indigenous Families’ website.
Later bub will start copying your expressions, babbling and so on… and the brain growing game continues.
Watch this video and see how bub responds to play: