Your Baby’s Brain Development
Having a new baby in the house is a very exciting time, and a large part of that excitement comes from your baby’s brain development.
Development is responsible for all those thrilling ‘firsts’, such as a first step, first word and first smile.
For many parents, especially first-time parents, concerns about a baby’s developing brain are almost overwhelming. It’s easy to get caught up in worry, but there’s no need to fret excessively. Babies develop at their own individual rates, however if you are concerned, speak to your GP or public health nurse.
Here, we’ll review some interesting factors which play a role in your baby’s brain development.
When a child is born, their brains are approximately one-quarter the size of an adult brain. The fastest brain growth will occur between birth and age three, after which growth slows down considerably.
What matters more?
When it comes to your baby’s brain development, experts have debated for years whether pre-determined factors (nature) or environmental factors (nurture) play a larger role. While the debate rages on, most experts have conceded that a person’s development, their eventual personality and intelligence are actually a combination of these two factors.
A baby is born with many components to their brain which have been inherited from their mother and father. Your baby’s brain development will partially be shaped by these factors. A baby is also being exposed to new stimuli every day, and this stimulus also shapes development.
Evidence has shown that nutrition plays a truly huge role in your baby’s brain development. Feeding a child a proper diet, particularly from birth through to age five, has been shown to affect health throughout the child’s entire adult life. Children raised on a poor diet are often more sickly than their peers, and are likely to be slightly behind the curve when it comes to learning and brain development.
Feed your child the best possible diet in order to promote healthy growth and physical development during these crucial years. Introduce some solid foods as soon as your baby shows an interest, and keep their diet varied. Studies have suggested that babies who were introduced to a wide variety of foods very early in life were less likely to be picky eaters as they grew.
The importance of stimulation and attention
Studies have shown for years that your baby’s brain development is affected by the stimuli that it comes into contact with and the attention it receives. In fact, these factors affect brain development to an astonishing degree.
Pathways in the brain are formed when neurons are stimulated. A baby makes connections extremely early in life; some believe even before birth. The way that you interact with your child can literally work wonders in shaping their brain development. For example, a baby who is left alone too often (even while supervised) is more likely to develop trust issues and will often learn more slowly than their peers. On the other hand, babies who have frequent and positive interactions with people have been shown to grow up happier and often are ahead of their peers when it comes to learning and skill development.
Interact as often as possible to stimulate your baby’s brain development. Talk to her, read to her, sing to her or simply hold her to show her that the world is a fun, exciting and safe place. Bring her with you as many places as possible to expose her to as many things as possible. This will help to foster her natural curiosity about the world around her, and can help her to learn new skills.
Your baby’s brain development is a wondrous thing to watch. Foster it with plenty of interaction, and expose your child to stimulating toys and music to nurture their healthy growth.