There's no denying that raising small humans is hard work! It can feel never ending, even monotonous, doing the same things day in day out with very little sleep. When parents are exhausted and in the thick of it, it's natural to flag a bit now and then and perhaps get lost in a bit of a fog. Does what they're doing really make a difference?
The answer is an emphatic YES! It really does! They are doing some of the most important work they will ever do, and all the effort they put in now is not in vain. It is now widely recognised that what happens in the first 1001 days of a child's life, from conception to age two, is a key time of rapid brain growth. Babies' brains are shaped by their environment, particularly by their early relationships. Babies need a secure, responsive relationship with parents or caregivers in order to thrive. Sadly when they don't have this, the opposite can be true. There are risks to longterm emotional wellbeing, how well they do at school, and can lead to lifelong struggles with physical and mental illhealth.
Parents with infants need all the support and encouragement they can get. We need to tell them again and again and again what a great job they are doing! It's good to remind them the intensity of the early years doesn't last forever (even if it feels like it!) Their baby will grow up! All the effort, love, comfort, responsiveness and nurturing they give now will never be wasted. Obviously these things are still really important after the age of 2 but the first 1001 days is a critical window for input.