Your baby starts learning right from the moment when he enters the world. The stages of development follow the same order, say, your child can’t walk until he can stand. However, the speed and ease of acquiring skills are entirely individual. By giving your baby the right stimulation at the right time, you can influence the pace of his brain development.
Here is A to Z understanding of baby’s brain development
- Affection and Attention
We all have a desire for attention and affection. What matters most is the attention and the loving interaction given by parents or caregivers. For your baby’s growing brain and brain development, respond to him often. Let him know, that you will engage him when he is ready to play or you will comfort him if he cries.
Breastmilk is the perfect and powerful super-food for babies. It has many benefits both for the mother and the baby. Brain imaging studies in the US by Brown University found that breastfed babies had 20 to 30 percent more white matter (a type of brain tissue) that’s rich in myelin, a fatty substance that insulates nerve fibers. It speeds up the brain’s electrical signals and helps in brain development.
- Calming and Cuddling
Causes of crying differ and change with the development of babies. Many babies cry out of boredom or out of fear of being left alone causing anxiety, insecurity or frustration. Help your infant feel secure by cuddling often, it will calm his brain. Your touch and response will help him to soothe his nervous system. It will also prevent the stress hormone cortisol that interferes with the brain development.
- Doubling of Brain
A baby is born with the finite number of brain cells. His brain doubles in weight in the first year. The growth of connections between the cells used in thinking increases the weight of the brain. For example, if your baby sees a toy, points it out, reaches to it, and puts it in his mouth, he is exploring hence four brain connections are built that shows brain development.
- Eye Contact
A newborn baby can’t see things at a distance. He may be able to focus on your face if it’s only 20 – 25 cm away from his face. Eye contact can help your baby to create an emotional bond that helps him to absorb information and learn the language. He can understand the world around him better when you keep an eye contact with him.
If a 3-month-old focus on an object for 10 to 15 seconds, it is similar to an adult concentrating for an hour. Let him focus and explore the world to encourage learning and brain development.
- Grouping and Sorting
By 11 months, your baby becomes a pattern seeker, he could mentally group things into categories. Sort the color or size of blocks with him, by this age, babies understand ‘more or less’ concept biologically.
Your baby recognize your voice at birth, as he heard you in the womb. Your child’s hearing is essential for his development of speech. A study revealed that if adults speak in harsh voices near a sleeping baby, his cortisol levels could increase. Babies can make out if the voices are happy or sad which affects their behavior.
Iron is essential to produce oxygen-carrying red blood cells in infants. It helps to fuel the growth of the brain. Consult the pediatrician in case of babies who are born early and need iron supplements.
Jiggling your baby often on your lap stimulates his brain to release hormones that are necessary for growth. These babies are more alert and have better motor control skills as compared to other babies who are touched less.
Infants communicate with their body, mostly kicking. Infants are fascinated with their legs. When you interact with them, their reflexive actions start. When you are making funny faces or talking to them, they love it, if you stop suddenly, they move their legs and tells you to interact more.
Babies start to learn by looking at about 6 weeks. Infants look longer at new objects and gradually pays less attention when the object becomes more familiar. Do not switch toys and books too quickly. Infants who spend sufficient amount of time in looking and studying a new item catches on well later.
A study in Canada found that one-year-old who participated in music class (bang on instruments and sing) showed more brain responses. They smile and communicate more than other babies who simply listen to songs. Music session with your baby should be an interactive one for good brain development.
Parents should provide appropriate experiences and make their child more secure. Nurturing helps to shape the child’s brain better with long-term benefits.
When your child’s nervous system is developing and becomes overwhelmed, it is important to give his brain a break. Babies have different tolerance levels. If your baby breaks eye contact or starts to cry, try a different location or a different object to divert his mind. It will soothe his nervous system.
Playing is a very serious business! Babies and children learn a lot through play. Choose games and toys wisely that interest them the most and stimulates the senses. It will help in encouraging their abilities and skills. Peekaboo is one of the most favorite game played with babies. It is a way to teach them the ability to find an object even if it is out of sight.
- Quiet time
Babies need quiet time too as adults need. Voices all around every time can make your baby uncomfortable. Spending some quiet time improves concentration level.
- Read and Repeat
Read to your baby, it has immense benefits. Your baby is never too young to be read to, your voice will soothe him. Once you will start reading together at an early age, it will become a habit later. Often repeat the books – it will teach him to grasp the colors and names. It is not about entertaining only, it will be a pleasure learning from books for the rest of his life.
Smiling is an indicator of a baby’s maturity. It stimulates the brain to interact and shows his response towards your actions. The first time your baby smiles at you is an exciting milestone, it is an important sign that he is developing mentally.
All toys play an important role in developing skills throughout the different stages of life. It should be chosen wisely. Toys should not hurt and much attractive to look at and touch.
Babies understand your emotions and voices. They can make out if you are happy or upset. Try to interact with them happily and in a calm voice.
- Visual, Vocal and Verbal
These are the 3 V’s of communication. The basics of the language are built into babies. Your baby starts communicating with you right from the birth by making different sounds and crying. A few months later, he starts making vowel sounds as he learns from your verbal language. Keep on talking to him, show him visuals or books and narrate things for the language development.
- Worth Words
Expand their vocabulary by interacting more. Repeating words often will help them to encourage early speaking and understand language.
- Xs and Os
Hugs and kisses are essential for a child’s growth and development throughout his life. It will make him more secure, safe and confident.
- Your Life and Lifestyle
Initially, it is only you and your baby in his life. Your life and your lifestyle will have an impact on your baby’s life and lifestyle. It is you (the parents) whom children follow for almost everything.
Zinc is an important mineral needed for your baby’s cells and DNA during pregnancy. Both zinc and iron play a vital role in the brain development of a baby. A 6-month-old needs four times as much zinc as an adult and nine times as much iron.
Wish you a very Happy and Smart Parenting!