The first months after childbirth are exhausting. More than exhausting... grueling! And it is not only because of the physical wear and tear that childbirth carries along, nor because of the change in life that the arrival of the baby brings home. The first few months you go all out of your way (literally) for your child. Not only in terms of food and basic care. You give yourself in completely. But it is the instinct (which is very wise) that is aware of how important those first days are for the baby.
Specifically, their first 1000 days. And the wisest minds in health and child education say so. We will explain why the first 1000 days of your child's life are so important.
An exhaustive study collected by UNICEF reveals amazing data: the first 1000 days of a baby are crucial and will mark their life forever. In fact, 40% of adult mental skills start their development in those early years. Sounds amazing, right? A thousand days is more or less 3 years of life. From there, we can say that your child is no longer a baby and goes up an important step in their growth and maturing.
But those first 3 years, those first 1000 days of life, will have a tremendous impact on a cognitive and personal development level. It mainly affects these areas:
- Cognitive development During the first 1000 days of life, the size of the brain doubles. It is the period of greatest activity and brain development of a lifetime. A moment in which basic concepts are recognized and related. Food has a lot to do with it, but also the baby's environment and the life experiences they go through, which will leave their mark forever.
- Speech development During the first years of life, language is assimilated and decoded. Would you be able to learn a language perfectly in three years? Hard, right? But babies are capable of learning not only one, but several languages at the same time in their first 1000 days of life. It is much easier for them if they are encouraged by constantly hearing the language. For a child to learn to speak, you have to talk to them a lot, and they also have to see you, observe your mouth and lips, since he will pay attention to the movement of the mouth to articulate words. At 6 months, babies recognize a large number of words in their mother tongue. The most normal thing is that their first tries go at repeating syllables. Later, words. Their vocabulary will gradually broaden until they feel able to join words and try to form simple sentences. At 3 years old, they will already be able to hold conversations with adults, but they will have to continue perfecting their language until they are 5-6 years old.
- Motor functions development A baby's first three years seem like an ascending marathon of accomplishments. The baby manages to hold their head, focus on objects, move their arms, coordinate movements, turn around, coordinate their arms, legs, and head to crawl, stand up, throw, grab objects, walk, jump, swing, and keep their balance... Amazing!
- Emotional development The bond with family and people close to babies is extremely important to ensure good emotional health, which helps build a strong personality, good self-esteem and confidence. Remember that personality begins to be shaped at this stage. Babies are able to be aware of who they are and how important they are to others thanks to the loving bond with their parents. This will give them a strong self-esteem that will be key in the future development of all their abilities.
- Development of social skills Television, tablets, and mobile phones entertain the child, but they never help them develop their social skills, something which they will only accomplish by living together and interacting with other people. Interaction with people is vital in these first years of life, and it will provide the baby with a wide range of resources to interact in this next stage.
This UNICEF study pays special attention to the importance of the affective bond in these first 1000 days. Babies who receive more affection during this stage have far fewer problems growing up than babies who were raised with less affection.
In fact, children who grow up during those first 1000 days of life in a broken, violent, troubled, and aggressive household have shown to develop severe health and behavioral problems as they grow up. Love is unquestionably good food during the first 1000 days of your child's life, and without a doubt, it is during his entire life.