Your newborn could be napping, eating, or in the process of bathing, being changed, or playing when every parent goes through the same thought process of questioning their child’s growing progress. You may be asking if your newborn is eating or sleeping enough or if you’re doing enough to help your baby’s development.
Here, we will explore infant brain development facts that will illustrate and aid your understanding on how and when your newborn is ready to learn and advance as you may be wondering.
All Babies Are Born With Underdeveloped Brains
A woman’s pelvis can only open so much limiting the newborn’s head growth. It is said that the baby’s first three months are the same as a pregnancy’s fourth trimester which is why a newborn may be needy and responds well to being wrapped tightly and to white noise which mimic conditions of a womb.
Your baby’s first intentional smile may occur between the 10th and 14th week of life and around their fifth month, you’ll notice their first signs of attachment.
During these early developing stages of the brain, it is important to be socially and culturally available for your newborn. This will allow their brains to take in impressions and senses of growing within a group of people.
The Brain Develops Fastest
A healthy baby can be born with a brain a quarter to a third size of an adult’s with twice the neurons of an adult. All these neurons are needed for the amount of learning the baby will do by age one.
The brain is the fastest growing part of the body with the cerebellum, which is involved in movement, being the fastest growing part in the brain. In only 90 days, the cerebellum more than doubles its birth size.
Parental Responses Are Important
Along with their many neuronal connections, babies also have less inhibitory neurotransmitters which makes them incredibly unfocused. Not knowing what is important allows them to be aware of everything unlike adults that tend to be conscious of their surroundings but ignoring background details. Experiences help tune and shape babies’ neuronal networks.
As the baby’s brain evolves, it uses responses from caregivers to help its development. Newborns at this time learn about fatigue, discomfort, loneliness, hunger and what it feels to relieve these pains.
When babies do focus momentarily, they may make sounds or babble to show interest of learning. You may want to listen out for this signal since talking to them makes babies smarter.
A baby will imitate your facial expressions and it may trigger emotion as well. This will help the infant’s understanding of emotional communication and can explain why parents tend to baby talk exaggerating happy and sad faces making it easier to imitate. This can emphasize critical components in a language and will help your little one grasp words.
Babies Are Capable Of Learning Any Language From Birth
Cerebellum and Broca’s area, which are associated with physical aspects of speech, are activated before babies actually begin to speak. The brain sets up transitional groundwork predicting motor movements that are required for speech sounds and it prepares to do so.
Other than being capable of learning any language, babies spoken to in two or more languages develop better executive function later in life. This includes the ability to control attention to conflicting perceptual or representational features of a problem. It is known that children who are bilingual have better focus or attention, which turns out well in school and work performance.
It Certainly Takes A Village
From birth, oxytocin, the hormone that induces love and euphoria is what bonds a baby to his/her mother. Their bond is strengthened by smell and touch which translates to a baby preferring his/her mother’s scent.
Around nine months of the baby’s age, babies tend to be so attached to their mother they almost have to be pried off when she has to leave the baby with a caretaker. By this time, the baby has formed an emotional association and has clear memory of their mother being by them. This signals the earliest stages of long-term memory development.
As mothers and even caregivers deliver great nurture, a baby’s hippocampus becomes thicker improving focus, ability to learn, memory, and much more. It is known that babies who don’t receive regular affection and touch experience negative health issues such as emotional disorders and weight loss, but babies that aren’t deprived from touch do build great and strong neuronal connections as well as overall well-being.
Before their memory develops, babies at 7 months of age begin analyzing other people’s emotions. Caregivers other than parents provide infants with different facial expressions they can learn to read as they broaden their ability to take perspectives of others.
Children that consistently receive assurance and aid from more than just two adults always do better than those that don’t. Hence, it does take a village to raise a child.
Recordings Are Not Educational
Baby’s short attention span is worth taking note off. They can easily be over-stimulated. The interaction they need most at this time is help with calming down and falling asleep.
You should understand that babies haven’t fully developed their hearing so they cannot yet distinguish voices from background noise. So, having a television or music playing in the background will make it difficult for a baby to differentiate voices around them and harder learn language.
Baby’s learning abilities are very delicate. So delicate that once they’re ready to learn they can get bored and even keep looking away if they receive a response every single time they make sounds as to convey interest. Parents at this time should slowly respond less to the baby’s sounds they have repeated many times that don’t sound like a word and should eagerly repeat a new sound that gets closer to sounding like a word, such as “ah” vs “ma”. Your baby will start piecing together the statistics of your language.
Social responses are definitely crucial to children’s ability to learn language. It is known that things that respond to a baby helps them learn, and things that don’t respond to them, don’t teach. Recordings do not follow baby’s cues, so, they have been found to be ineffective.
You want a smart baby? Don’t leave him/her in front of a TV or any recording. Play with your child. It’s your best option.