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This tool helps NSW Health staff to understand why the first 2000 days of life are important and what needs to happen to support everyone, young and old. It highlights the programs, services and models of care available for everyone over the first 2000 days of a child’s life.  Health workers can partner with families from the start of the first 2000 days and help them to access the right care sooner. 

Why is it important? 

The First 2000 Days Framework helps us to see what affects a child’s health, growth and development: 

  • Access to quality antenatal care, breastfeeding and parenting programs are important.  

  • Childhood immunisation and oral health checkups are good protection for their health 

  • Attending quality childhood education and school engagement can make a difference 

  • Specialised programs for Aboriginal people, refugee and migrant populations can also help families in the first 2000 days  


Steps like these create a nurturing environment and help children and families to build resilience. This will improve their lifelong health and wellbeing. A good start to life helps people to make healthy choices, manage their emotions and form trusting relationships. People can pass these skills from generation to generation and create a brighter future for everyone.   


The New ABC 

To understand the importance of the First 2000 Days, we can group the key areas into a new ABC: 

  • A = Antenatal 

While the baby grows in the womb, the foundations for their life are forming and this can stay with them as teenagers and adults. A mother’s physical and mental health affects her baby’s growth and development. Greater access to antenatal care can help to support the mother and baby’s health during this important time. 

  • B = Brain development 

A baby’s brain grows and develops very fast over the first 2000 days. Close ties with parents and caregivers will have a lifelong impact on the child and their mental and physical health. If a child experiences many stressful events, they are more likely to have poorer health later in life.  

  • C = Childhood experiences 

For a child to thrive by age five, they need at least one positive caregiver in their life. Playing, talking, singing and reading to babies are all powerful things that caregivers can do often and early to nurture a child as they grow. Domestic and family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, financial and housing stress can harm a child’s development. The more stresses in a family and child’s life, the greater the chance that these will affect the child as they grow. 

What are we doing?

We are implementing the First 2000 Days Framework in our hospitals and health centres across south western Sydney, supporting babies and families to have the best possible start to life.   

Together, we can work to raise happy and healthy children in south western Sydney by supporting the First 2000 Days of your child’s life.   

[Source: NSW Government, 2022., NSW Ministry of health, 2019., Elisabeth Murphy, Senior Clinical advisor for child and family health, ministry of health, 2020. ]


The First 2000 Days framework is broken down in 3 goals with associated strategies on how to take action with children, families…