The First Thousand Days

Posted in: Fathers, Infants, Parenting, Postpartum, Pregnancy, Self-care, Toddlers

by Dr Bronwyn Leigh

Recent Australian research carried out by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has focused on what they are calling the first critical 1000 days.

The first 1000 days covers three discrete developmental periods:

  • Preconception
  • Pregnancy
  • Infancy

During these times, creating ‘optimal conditions’ for baby is the best way to promote physical, emotional and social wellbeing.

In their evidence paper, released in September 2017, the Institute outlines key concepts involved in how children develop at the very earliest stages of life, up until about 2 years of age.

One key message from the paper highlights the significant degree of vulnerability for the developing fetus and infant to external exposures and experiences – whether they are good or otherwise.  In parallel, this is a time of greatest developmental plasticity and adaptation to the physical, social and nutritional environments into which we are born.

“Along with loving relationships, children need safe communities, secure housing, access to green spaces, environments free from toxins, and access to affordable, nutritious foods,” said Murdoch Children’s Research Institute Professor Frank Oberklaid.

While, of course, health benefits can be gained beyond age two, preconception, pregnancy and infancy are critical to the setting up of core vulnerabilities and strengths in health and wellbeing.  We welcome this evidence paper highlighting this very crucial and vulnerable time in life.

At the Centre for Perinatal Psychology, we join with you during the First 1000 Days – preconception, pregnancy and infancy.  We know the interrelated complexities during these phases of life for both parent and little one.  We provide support and guidance as you navigate your way at this critical time.


About the Author

Dr Bronwyn Leigh is a clinical psychologist, perinatal and infant clinician and early parenting consultant.  She is the Director of the Centre for Perinatal Psychology.  She consults in Fairfield and Croydon, Vic.  Bronwyn specialises in the psychological aspects of becoming a parent, the emotional development of infants, and parent-infant relationships. Bronwyn co-authored the book Towards Parenthood: Preparing for the Changes and Challenges of a New Baby.

Contact us Today

Are you navigating the First 1000 Days? Many parents need additional support during this time.  Remember, you are not alone.  To access our help, locate a psychologist near you: search by Location.

Call us on 1300 852 660 or contact us to make an appointment or enquiry.