First 2000 Days
The first 2000 days of life is a critical time for physical, cognitive, social and emotional health. What happens in the first 2000 days has been shown to have an impact throughout life.
For example, early life experiences are:
- strongly predictive of how a child will learn in primary school
- a predictor of school performance, adolescent pregnancy and involvement with the criminal justice system in the adolescent years
- linked to increased risk of drug and alcohol misuse and increased risk of antisocial and violent behaviour
- related to obesity, elevated blood pressure and depression in 20-40 year olds
- predictive of coronary heart disease and diabetes in 40-60 year olds
- related to premature ageing and memory loss in older age groups.
Dr Elisabeth Murphy explains the importance of the first 2000 days and actions that can be taken to improve life-long outcomes. Transcript: The first 2000 days of life – Dr Elisabeth Murphy
The First 2000 Days Framework is a strategic policy document which outlines the importance of the first 2000 days of a child’s life (from conception to age 5) and what action people within the NSW health system need to take to ensure that all children have the best possible start in life.
The framework incorporates a range of policies, programs, services and models of care to make sure that the right health services are available for everyone.
The First 2000 Days Framework Implementation Strategy is a strategic document which will guide NSW Health’s implementation of the First 2000 Days Framework (PD2019_008).
The implementation strategy will assist local health districts and speciality health networks in implementing the First 2000 Days Framework, including providing information to assist them in developing their local plans.
The evidence review highlights the importance of the first 2000 days of life for lifetime physical, social and emotional health outcomes and what parents and professionals can do to support a child’s development.
Webinar Series and Resources
First 2000 Days webinar series aims to build capacity of service providers and health professionals to provide support and referral pathways to families and young children in the First 2000 Days of life.
The series is a collaboration between MNCLHD Health Services and Bluesky Community Services.
This project aims to:
- Increase knowledge of the first 2000 days and priority health areas.
- Increase confidence to engage in conversations about priority health areas.
- Increase confidence to refer to the right level of service at the right time.
- Increase knowledge of and referral pathways to local health services and programs.
There’s 13 sessions within the webinar series, click here to view and register.
2021 Webinar Outcomes
119 participants across 19 mid north coast services attended the 2021 pilot webinar series. The outcomes from the 2021 series included many participants agreeing that the sessions were interactive, informative and increased their knowledge and skills to support families and young children.
Jody Clayton is the Child Protection and Child Wellbeing Co-ordinator for the Mid North Coast Local Health District. Jody’s session will outline the importance of the first 2000 days of a child’s life, and actions that can be taken to promote better life outcomes. It will also build awareness of referral services and programs to support families and children.
View the presentation on the First 2000 Days overview.
Links to resources referred to in webinar 1:
- Australian Institute of Family Studies, The Australian Government’s key research body in the area of family wellbeing.
- Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), a nationwide data collection of early childhood development at the time children commence their first year of full time school.
- Baby Coming, You Ready?
- Aboriginal specific resources for mumson ‘growing strong together’, ‘birthing our way’, ‘birth’, ‘brining bub home’, ‘raising kids in a strong community’ and ‘trauma and grief’.
- Ages and Stages videos for Dads
- 4 minute video- The impacts of intergenerational trauma
- First 1000 Daysresources including ‘Culture starts in the Womb’, ‘Building strong people for the Future’, and ‘Your relationship with Baby’
- Building resilience in children aged 0-12, Beyond Blue.
- Centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) Adverse Childhood Experiences.
- Emerging Minds, dedicated to the mental health and emotional wellbeing of Australian infants, children and families.
- Talking about early childhood development in Australia: Guide for communicators. Frameworks Institute.
- Harvard Center for the Developing Child
- How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime- Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain.
- How every child can thrive by five- 7 year old Australian Molly Wright explains how a game of peek-a-boo can change the world.
- RaisingChildren.net.au, The Australian Parenting Website.
- Love Talk Sing Read Play
- SMS4Dads, fathers, dads to be, families and health professionals can receive free text messages, support, info and tips.
- Sound Scouts, the government funded hearing check app suitable for children (& adults) aged 4 and over. Endorsed by Hearing Australia, it’s evidence based, fun and engaging, the app takes the player through 3 quick games that test for the three main types of hearing loss; sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss and listening difficulties in noise. Results are delivered securely and immediately in an easy to read report.
- The First 1000 Days Australia, a First Nations model aimed at strengthening all families so they can give their children the best start in life.
- The Raine Study, established in 1989 in Australia, is one of the largest multigenerational, prospective cohorts of pregnancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood to be carried out anywhere in the world.
Frances Guy is the Clinician Midwifery Consultant (CMC) for Maternity Services with the Mid North Coast Local Health District. Frances’ session will focus on the importance of antenatal care in the first 2000 days of life. It will also provide in-depth information on how to access local antenatal services to help families make ongoing healthier lifestyle changes.
View the presentation on antenatal care.
Links to resources referred to in Webinar 2
- Maternity Services: Find everything you and your clients need to know about accessing maternity services.
- Health and wellbeing during pregnancy: Resources and services to support pregnant woman.
- Get Healthy in Pregnancy: Refer women to a professional phone-based health coach which can support and motivate women to develop tools to help her stay healthy during her pregnancy, to birth and beyond.
- Quitline support in pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Quitline training and resources for maternity health professionals
- HealthPathways: Antenatal Care – Routine (requires login)
Bri-Ellen Fussell is a Health Promotion Officer and Dietician with the Mid North Coast Local Health District. Bri-Ellen’s session will focus on the Get Healthy in Pregnancy (GHiP) Service. GHiP is a free NSW Government service which offers a phone-based health coach to support pregnant woman to develop motivation and tools to help them and their babies to stay healthy during their journey from pregnancy, to birth and beyond. This session will build your knowledge of the service and confidence to refer to the service.
View the presentation on Get Healthy in Pregnancy.
Links to resources referred to in Webinar 3
- Get Healthy Service Fact Sheet: Weight gain during pregnancy
- Get Healthy Service Fact Sheet: Physical activity during pregnancy
- Get Healthy Service Fact Sheet: Healthy eating during pregnancy
- HealthPathways: Antenatal Care – Initial Visits (requires login)
Elizabeth Crane is a Child and Family Health Nurse and Lactation Consultant based in the Coffs Clinical Network. Elizabeth’s session will focus on the importance of early breastfeeding in the first 2000 days of life. It will also provide information on strategies to support families with early breastfeeding and how to access local Child and Family Services and Breastfeeding Support Services.
View the presentation on Early Breastfeeding
Links to resources referred to in Webinar 4
- Breastfeeding Basics video at the Australian Breastfeeding Association.
- HealthPathways: Breastfeeding (requires login)
Monica Carlon is the Nurse Unit Manager of Tresillian Day Services Coffs Harbour and Tresillian-2U mobile service. Monica’s session will focus on sleep and settling in the early years. It will also include an overview of how to access specialised parenting services and how they help families to improve parenting confidence and parent child relationships.
View the presentation on Sleep and Settling.
Resources referred to in webinar 5
- Australian Association for Infant Mental Health Inc. AAIMHI (2016) Controlled crying, Position Paper. https://www.aaimh.org.au/about-us/position-statements-and-guidelines/
- Australian Association for Infant Mental Health Inc. AAIMHI (2016) Responding to baby’s cues, Position Paper 2. https://www.aaimh.org.au/about-us/position-statements-and-guidelines/
- Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) (2017) Australian Clinical Practice Guideline: Mental Health Care in the Perinatal period, October 2017 website: https://www.cope.org.au/
- Chavasse, F (2018) The Tresillian Sleep Book, Harper & Collins
- NSW Health (2019) The First 2000 Days Framework, PD2019_008 https://www1.health.nsw.gov.au/pds/Pages/doc.aspx?dn=PD2019_008
- NSW Health (2021) Safe sleeping for babies – https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/kidsfamilies/MCFhealth/maternity/Pages/safe-sleep.aspx
- Powell, B., Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., and Marvin, B (2014) The Circle of Security Intervention: Enhancing attachment in early- parent child relationships. The Guilford Press: New York, website https://www.circleofsecurityinternational.com/
- Raising Children website – https://raisingchildren.net.au/?gclid=CjwKCAjwlqOXBhBqEiwA-hhitOptClflF2JFUwTZ94y4WPSV4FD9y35Auv27pD_GJo0da2Hxa7P5-RoCJ6kQAvD_BwE
- Tresillian website https://www.tresillian.org.au/
- HealthPathways: Child Health Community Assessment (requires login)
Rachel Gerathy is a Health Promotion Officer and Dietician. She works on the PICNIC project and is based in Coffs Clinical Network. Symone Lindsey is a Child and Family Health Nurse and Midwife based in Coffs Clinical Network.
This session will focus on child nutrition and the importance of forming short and long-term diet patterns and eating behaviour during the first 2000 days. You will gain the knowledge and skills to implement feeding practices which determine child feeding behaviour and diet quality and assist problematic eaters in the care environment.
Resources mentioned in Webinar 6
- Feeding and Nutrition presentation slides
- PICNIC Project – Nutrition and Feeding support for parents
- Eat For Health – Australian Dietary Guidelines
- HealthPathways: Community Nutrition Programs (requires login)
Paris Bebb and Louise Scott are both Child and Family Health Nurses and midwives based in the Coffs Clinical Network, with over 15 years’ experience in these fields.
This session will focus on the role of the Child and Family Health Nurse and the importance of supporting families to access this service in the first 2000 days. It will also focus on building your knowledge and confidence to support families and carers to access Child and Family Health Services.
Resources mentioned in Webinar 7
- Child and Family Health presentation slides
- Blue book
- Milestones matter
- Love talk sing read play print book
- Child and family health – Frequently asked questions
- Pregnancy care for Aboriginal families AMIHS brochure
- Statewide Eyesight Preschooler Screening
- National Immunisation Program Schedule
- Child and Family Health Services NSW Map
- Aboriginal and Maternal Infant Health Services and Building Stronger Foundations NSW map
- How to introduce the common allergy causing foods – National Allergy Strategy video below
- HealthPathways: Community Assessment (requires login)
Angeline Landry is a Clinical Psychologist and is the District Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Service (PIMHS) Clinical Lead and the District Safe Start Coordinator for the MNCLHD. Angeline manages a small team across the district who offer tertiary consultation and liaison services to Mental Health Services and all services working in the perinatal space, facilitating referral pathways, assessment advice & complex care planning whilst capacity building across the district.
This session will focus on attachment, trust, and an infant’s emotional growth in the context of the parent-infant dyad. The presentation will also build awareness of and confidence in knowing what questions to ask, which indicators to look for, and then where to refer parents who are experiencing mental health concerns during the perinatal period.
Resources mentioned in Webinar 8
- Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia– Information, helpline and factsheets for parents and health professionals working with parents
- Beyond Blue – Information, helpline and factsheets for anxiety, depression and suicide prevention
- Perinatal Depression & Anxiety Helpline – Mental Health support and resources for expecting and new parents
- Mothersafe – Free telephone service for for women and their healthcare providers concerned about exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Guided Meditation and Mindfulness Headspace App –
- THIS WAY UP – Online Treatment Programs for Perinatal Mental Health
- MumSpace – Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Support
- Baby Coming You Ready? – Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents-to-be and new parents
- STAYIN’ ON TRACK – Aboriginal resources developed by Aboriginal men for Aboriginal dads
- Deadly Tots – Deadly Tots App contains information for every Aboriginal Family to help their Bub learn and grow
- 13YARN – First national crisis support line for mob who are feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty coping
- Here’s Looking at You – Video resource for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families focused on recognising and understanding infant communication from 0-3mths. Great to use with parents as a teaching tool.
- Brother to Brother 1800 435 799 – Aboriginal men’s crisis line
- HealthPathways: Perinatal Mental Health (requires login)
Vanessa Amos is the District Oral Health Program Coordinator and is the Senior Oral Health Therapist for the Mid North Coast Local Health District. Vanessa graduated with distinction from the University of Newcastle Bachelor of Oral Health Therapy program and was awarded the NSW Rural Allied Health Undergraduate Scholarship in 2018. Vanessa has 15 years’ experience in the dental industry working in numerous roles which she feels has contributed to her growth as a clinician. Vanessa grew up in the region and is delighted to be working on the Mid North Coast.
View the presentation on Oral Health.
This session will focus on the importance of good Oral Health in the first 2000 days of life. It will also focus on the risk factors that cause dental caries and strategies to prevent and manage dental caries and disease. Further, it will increase your knowledge of and confidence to refer to public dental services.
Resources mentioned in Webinar 9
- Early Childhood Oral Health Training
- Healthy Mouths Healthy Living – NSW Health
- Public Oral Health Services in NSW
- Child Dental Benefit Schedule (CDBS)
- Oral Health Tracker – Children & Young People
- Dental Advice for Children 0-5 Years
- Oral Health Habits Australia Report Card
- Conversation Starters for Health Professionals
- Oral Health Resource Order Form
- Keep Smiling while you are Pregnant (YouTube video)
- HealthPathways: Dental and Oral Health (requires login)
Michele Greenwood started the nurse-led Refugee Health Clinic at the Coffs Harbour Hospital in February 2006. The clinic offers initial health assessments to all newly arrived Humanitarian Refugees settling in Coffs Harbour as well as ongoing support and advocacy for the refugee/ multicultural community.
This session will highlight the difficulties that humanitarian refugees face when settling in Australia and what you can do as professionals to support these families in their health journey.
View the presentation on Refugee Health.
Resources mentioned in Webinar 10
- Transcultural Mental Health Centre (TMHC)
- Refugee Support Services | Not For Profit Organisation | STARTTS
- SWSLHD – NSW Refugee Health Services
- NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service — MHCS
- Cue Cards in Community Languages
- Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)
- NSW Education Program on Female Genitial Mutilation
- Focus: Multicultural communities | Cancer Institute NSW
- Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service (MHAHS)
- Cultural Equity and Domestic Violence Team – Education Centre Against Violence (ECAV)
- HealthPathways: Refugee Services (requires login)
Lisa Carey and Natasha Gadsden are Senior Speech Pathologists for the MNCLHD, supporting children across the Coffs and Nambucca regions to achieve their feeding and communication goals. Both Lisa and Natasha have extensive experience in the assessment and management of children with speech, language, voice and feeding difficulties.
View the presentation on Speech Pathology.
This session focused on the role of the Child and Family Speech Pathology and the importance of supporting families to access this service in the first 2000 days. It will also focus on building your knowledge and confidence to support families and carers to access Child and Family Health Services.
Resources mentioned in Webinar 11
- Language Development
- Early Communication
- Speech Sound Development
- Fact Sheets
- Raising Children Network
- HealthPathways: Child Speech Pathology Assessment (requires login)
Melinda Ricketts is the Mid North Coast Local Health District Smoking Cessation Coordinator and a Tobacco Treatment Specialist. Belinda Jackson, also known as BJ, is the Coffs Clinical Network Aboriginal Health Promotion Officer. Both Melinda and BJ build capacity of health professionals and service providers (NGO’s and Aboriginal Organisations) to support Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal clients with undertaking smoking cessation. They both also support community members to quit smoking through Nicotine Replacement Therapy and referral to Quitline.
View the presentation on smoking in pregnancy.
This session aims to provide you with the understanding of how to support clients to consider stopping smoking or assisting someone who is on their journey to become smoke free, acknowledging that stopping smoking can be extremely challenging for both support workers and clients.
Resources mentioned in Webinar 12
- Quitline 13 78 48
- QuitBuddy phone app
- Quitly.Bot Facebook Messenger service
- Local GP or Health Worker (prescription for Nicotine Replacement patches/lozenges/gum)
- HealthPathways: Smoking Cessation (requires login)
Jenny Wehlow has a background in Nutrition and works in Health Promotion MNCLHD. She is currently working in early childhood interventions including Munch & Move which supports Early childhood services, educators and parents to improve dietary intake and increase physical activity in children. Gillian Bright is a paediatric occupational therapist at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital.
Gillian Bright heads a small team of occupational therapists providing outpatient services to children in the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Nambucca and Bowraville regions. The service focuses on supporting children to achieve to their best potential in their occupations.
This session will focus on the importance of self-regulation for social, emotional, educational and behavioural growth and development in childhood. It will also focus on how physical activity and reduced screen time can support long term health and wellbeing. It will focus on building your knowledge of programs in the community, such as Occupational Therapy and Munch and Move, that help to support holistic health and wellbeing of children as they grow.
Resources mentioned in Webinar 13
- Munch and Move Resources
- Guidelines for healthy growth and development for your child
- Fundamental Movement Skills Resource for Pre Schoolers – Franky & Friends Active Play
- Supporting the Transition to School, Northern Sydney Local Health District
- Physical activity for babies and toddlers
- Newborn moves
- World Health Organisation Guidelines on PA, Sedentary Behaviour and Sleep
- The Arc of the Tantrum – Resources – Parenthood Understood
- Sensory Lifestyle » Evidence OT Based Play Ideas & Parenting Resources that will Help you
- Feel Confident in your Parenting & Boost your Child’s Development
- Self Regulation resources for everyone
- Kindy Orientation – Mid North Coast Local Health District
- The Colour Monster book by Anna Llenas
Self Regulation videos on Youtube
- HealthPathways: Physical Activity Support (requires login)
For more information contact Teisha Schirmer
Teisha Schirmer presenting the First 2000 Days Webinar Series Findings at the 2023 Preventive Health Conference in Adelaide