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The importance of the first 1000 days of baby's life

The first 1000 days of a baby's life are those from the time he/she is in the mother's belly (270 days of pregnancy) + 365 days of the first year + 365 days of the second year and are crucial for the child to have an adequate development and health throughout his/her life. At this stage, a phenomenon called early programming occurs, which is defined as the process by which exposure in early stages of development to a series of external factors produces permanent modifications in the individual that can influence his or her health later in life [1].

These permanent modifications are designed for their evolution. In fact, this moment is seen as a window of opportunity in which to positively influence and thus generate a little person better adapted to its environment [2].
From the moment of conception, cell division begins and, with it, the development of the new being with its different tissues, organs and systems, which will continue to develop after birth. At this time, neurological development takes place, where thousands and thousands of neurons and connections will multiply and myelinate. All of this will be essential for their neuromotor, speech and emotional development; also creating the basis for their personality, confidence and security as a person in the long term.

How epigenetics influences infant development

This development is marked by genetics, by the information encoded in our genes. However, the way in which these genes are expressed can be affected by environmental factors, thus causing a gene to be expressed more or less, not to be expressed or to be expressed when we do not want it to be. This is called epigenetics.
The effect of epigenetics can be positive and this is what is pursued in different campaigns to improve the growth and development of our children; however, there can also be a negative effect. There is a lot of research showing how different substances in the environment, including the substances we put on our skin, influence the baby's genetic expression, leading to unwanted future diseases. What's more, this change in gene expression pattern can be passed on to their offspring, so the impact is passed on to the next generation.

Toxic substances that reach our skin can change the expression pattern of our baby's genes and/or cross generations.


How toxic molecules influence a baby's life

However, we must not forget that the mechanism of the harmful molecules we find in the exposome can also be direct, mimicking our own molecules, as do endocrine disruptors that can supplant our baby's hormones, block them and influence their synthesis and metabolism.
Other substances act by bioaccumulating in the organs and give rise to adverse effects, even greater if the organs are developing, such as inflammation or organ deterioration; or they can even cause damage to genetic material, be toxic for reproduction or produce cancer.

In recent years, the European Commission has banned 2000 substances hazardous to health, which were mainly used in cosmetics and toys. As we can see, children have been the biggest victims of exposure to these harmful compounds. Recently, Europe has established a new roadmap to evaluate potentially toxic substances and restrict their use in the coming years. It is expected that between 4,000 and 7,000 substances may be banned; hazardous substances to which we are currently exposed [3].

We are surrounded by chemicals that can be toxic.

As we have already mentioned, these substances can program future diseases in our baby, among which we find diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, endocrine alterations and genital malformations, sterility, or the aforementioned cancer.

The toxic substances we put on our skin can cause future diseases in our baby such as diabetes, cardiovascular, neurological, malformations, sterility and even cancer.

How toxic substances reach the baby

Certain chemicals have been found to be more concentrated in the amniotic fluid than in the mother's own serum [4]. They have also been found in the placenta, in the umbilical cord and in breast milk, all of which are channels of transmission, or rather contamination, to our baby [5].

High concentrations of toxic substances have been observed in amniotic fluid, placenta, umbilical cord and breast milk.

By exposing ourselves as mothers to a toxic substance, we are also exposing our child. And a chemical exposure, which may go unnoticed and without any apparent effect on the mother, could have consequences on her baby. And the developing child is infinitely more sensitive to the effects of harmful substances than the mother herself [6].

Fetuses may accumulate higher concentrations of toxicants than mothers.


Avoiding infant exposure to toxic substances

It has also been seen that mothers, before becoming pregnant, already accumulate in their bodies a high amount of substances of concern [7]. Therefore, the awareness of avoiding exposure to hazardous substances should be maximized, both during pregnancy and in previous stages, in order to cultivate health in our body. And let us not forget also to be aware after giving birth, since, after delivery, the mother continues to be a transmitter of these substances through breastfeeding.

The first 1000 days of a baby's life are decisive for its future development and health, therefore, the effort to use products that do not contain toxic substances must be extreme. Fortunately, we have cosmetic products on the market that are conscious and respectful of pregnancy and the baby's life, such as those of our brand Mamanecó, providing that care as well as the extreme safety and protection necessary in this delicate moment of conceiving a life.


  1. Castilla y León Health. The importance of the first 1000 days in the baby's life. 
  2. Moreno Villares JM, Collado MC, Larqué E, Leis Trabazo MR, Saenz de Pipaon M and Moreno Aznar LA. The first 1000 days: an opportunity to reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases.
    noncommunicable diseases. Hospital Nutrition. 2018:218-232
  3. COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT Restrictions Roadmap under the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. April 2022.
  4. Iribarne-Durán LM, Serrano L, Peinado FM, Peña-Caballero M, Hurtado JA, Vela-Soria F, Fernández MF, Freire C, Artacho-Cordón F, Olea N. Biomonitoring bisphenols, parabens, and benzophenones in breast milk from a human milk bank in Southern Spain. Sci Total Environ. 2022 Jul 15;830:154737.
  5. Ikezuki Y, Tsutsumi O, Takai Y, Kamei Y, Taketani Y. Determination of bisphenol A concentrations in human biological fluids reveals significant early prenatal exposure. Hum Reprod. 2002 Nov;17(11):2839-41. doi: 10.1093/humrep/17.11.2839. PMID: 12407035.
  6. Carlos de Prada. Embarazo sin tóxicos. Vivo Sano Foundation and Ediciones i. 2019.
  7. Woodruff TJ, Zota AR, Schwartz JM 2011. Environmental Chemicals in Pregnant Women in the US: NHANES 2003-2004. Environ Health Perspect. Doi:10.1289/ehp.1002727
Picture of Dr. Estefania Hurtado
Dr. Estefania Hurtado

Behind Mamanecó there is a passionate heart for what she does and a restless mind that with her brainstorming created what you are now seeing...

Doctor in Biochemistry and a fan of science and knowledge.