Your baby’s brain began to form almost immediately after conception, and by the third trimester it nearly tripled in weight and changed its appearance from a smooth surface to a grooved one. At birth, your newborn’s brain—although already functioning as the most important organ in the body—is still in the process of developing. Here are 6 more surprising facts about your newborn’s noggin:
1. Babies are born with all of their brain cells (neurons)—approximately 100 billion—that will continually connect with one another to create synapses. Connections are made when your baby has an experience (reaching a milestone, for example) which then encourages him or her to think and use those mighty brain cells, in turn strengthening the synapses. As your little one develops, the brain will also mature by “pruning” away the least useful synapses based on your baby’s specific experiences and environment.
2. Research suggests that constant interaction and communication, as well as the power of play, encourage brain development, so read often, sing nursery rhymes, narrate your activities (such as, “Mommy’s putting you in the stroller to go on a walk”), and introduce brightly colored toys to your baby. During your interactions, imitate behavior to your baby in an exaggerated manner to give him or her an early understanding of self and others.
3. The hippocampus—the area of the brain that is primarily associated with memory—is already 40% developed at birth, and will become fully developed when your baby is 18-months-old. While your child may recognize the sound of your voice, the typical time he or she is fed, and the unique characteristics of your face during the first 12 months of life, long term memory formation begins after your child’s first year and takes through his or her second year to fully mature.
4. Research out of Washington University in St. Louis suggests that the hippocampus is larger and better developed in children who received loving care, especially during high-stress situations, in an emotionally supportive environment. This enlightening study proves that there is no capacity for love—so nurture your little one by embracing the power of hugs, kisses, cuddles, and old fashioned TLC—and that nurturing your child from the start is critical for proper brain development. Protect your little one’s perfect skin by keeping it clean and healthy with new Huggies® Little Snugglers. Mom preferred over Pampers Swaddlers†, Huggies® Little Snugglers welcome your baby to the world with their best skin care and a soft, comforting hug.
5. Your newborn was born with three of his or her five senses almost fully developed, but the most acute sense at birth is smell. While your little one may not be able to clearly focus visually or understand language, he or she can process information through scent. Amazingly, it has been shown that newborns can correctly identify their mother’s milk when challenged to do so, as well as feel a sense of calm when given a piece of clothing that smells like her.
6. Because your newborn doesn’t have the ability to filter out noise, light, and touch stimulation, he or she may become easily distracted by the surroundings in an attempt to process the environment. Your little one may become fussy, hyperactive, or withdrawn when overstimulated, so it’s best to closely monitor his or her changing behaviors, especially when you’re in crowded, loud, and/or bright situations.
Your baby’s brain will develop faster in the first year than any other, so nurture that growth by loving, teaching and inspiring your child.
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