Birth to six months is an extremely critical time for the brain development of an infant. While a good deal of brain development does occur in the womb, the process continues after baby greets the world. In fact a good rule of thumb is that a baby’s brain on average is only about 25% developed at birth. A good part of the reason why newborns sleep so much is because of the incredible amount of brain growth and connections that are being made. When they are awake is when caretakers can work to ensure that a stimulating environment is being provided to facilitate learning and development. This article aims to give parents some essential tips on how to provide the best environment for brain development.
Stimulate Baby’s Senses
While it is true that infants can become overstimulated, it is also important to remember that they will let you know when that is starting to happen. So as long as you are paying attention it is best to give your little one’s senses a good amount of activity so that they can start to become aware of their environment. One thing babies really love is faces, and since their field of vision at birth is about six inches, it is really important to get in close enough with a big smile so that they can see you. Another sensory feast for baby is bright contrasting colors. You also want to stimulate their sense of touch with lots of holding and cuddling, this is doubly important as it makes your newborn feel safe and connected to you.
Talk To Your Baby A lot
Baby’s love the sound of your voice, and while it’s going to be a long time before they begin to form first words, being talked to is a very important factor in an infant’s brain development. It is has been proven that little babies respond very positively to a sing-song voice with lots of inflection. So even though you may feel a little silly about it, don’t be afraid to use a melodic voice to talk to your baby. On the other hand, it is just as important for your sing-song voice to be a quiet one, as they do not respond well to louder sounds.
Make Sure Baby’s Needs Are Being Met
Some of the most important factors to ensure good brain development are the most basic. One is letting your baby get the sleep they need; this means that if baby’s interest starts to wain during whatever sensory stimulation you’re giving it’s time for them to sleep. Sleep is where the environmental stimulation is consolidated and your little one’s brain continues to make important connections. The other important fundamental is of course dietary: make sure your child is receiving the recommended nutritional intake given to you by a pediatrician.
Remember, Development Is Not A Race
Finally, it is important to bear in mind that every baby is different and develops at their own pace. Don’t become overly concerned if a friend or family member’s child seems to be hitting milestones before yours. Of course, if you have any delays that you feel are a legitimate concern, always consult a pediatrician.