Baby Brain Development
An Impressionable Time
A baby's brain development begins as soon as it's conceived and progress rapidly throughout pregnancy. By the time the baby is born, her brain already consists of more than 100 billion brain cells. The wiring of these cells also began in the womb and will never stop until death. At birth these connections are mostly necessary for regular body functioning such as regulating heart rhythm, controlling reflexes, and also helping other functions necessary for survival.
So, other than basic functions, most of the wiring of a baby's brain occurs after they are born. It is during the first months and years of life, that a baby's brain develops huge numbers of complex connections that lay the foundation for thinking, feelings, and behaviors. During this stage of frenzied linking, there are so many connections made that the brain actually has to 'prune' some connections to concentrate resources on making new connections and strengthening often used ones.
Time Well Spent
This process is incredibly important to baby brain development. From the time the baby first experiences it's world it uses it's five senses to build the necessary connections in the brain for normal and full function later in life. Each experience creates or strengthens a unique neuropathway for each child. The environment and the care a child receives plays into how these connections are formed. The more stimuli that parents can provide for their baby, the more the baby's brain will absorb and the better off she will be in later life. For instance, a parent who talks a lot to their baby helps develop language pathways in the brain. Similarly, a parent that attends to the needs of a baby helps form develop the emotional parts of a baby's brain. This will translate to more healthy relationships in later life.
6 Helpful Tips
- Remember baby brain development begins in the womb. The way mother treats her body will greatly impact development in the womb. That is why nutrition and a healthy lifestyle free of drugs, alcohol and smoking is paramount.
- Remove stressors. Too much stress in a bay's life can actually retard baby brain development. Make sure that your baby lives in a safe environment, clear of hazards. In addition, attending to a baby's needs especially when it cries is very important for brain and emotional development.
- Talk to your baby. Talking helps develop language skills in the brain. Without this kind of stimulation, there can be a delay in speech and reading skills. In addition it helps form a strong emotional bond with the baby.
- Also read to them. Hearing a story also helps develop many different skills such as listening, reading and language. This also provides another opportunity for a parent and baby to bond. As children grow older they will develop an appreciation for books.
- Find great childcare. Baby's need large amounts of attention and affection for proper brain and emotional development. If you can not be with your baby at all times it is very important that you pick the right child care provider. Family and friends are always great but thoroughly vet any new babysitter or daycare, see what the adult to baby ratio is for instance. Don't risk your baby being neglected.
- Ask questions. If you are like most parents, you will have tons of questions. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor or other parents for advice. You can also find many books at the local bookstore or library about child development. These can help you in providing the most brain enriching environment possible.
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