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A growing baby develops based on a number of criteria and aspects. Their organs develop not just based on genetics but other external aspects like nutrition, environment and exercise. The brain is one of the most complex and mysterious organs in the human body – it develops through experience; it can be nurtured and taught. No two brains perceive any experience in the same way. This is because no two babies are the same. This is why it is important for parents to understand how they can help support their baby’s brain development in a healthy and sustainable manner.
Development of Baby’s Brain From Newborn to Infant
The brain of a newborn baby grows in size until the age of 5 years, of which maximum development takes place during the first two years of life. While the intellectual development continues throughout life along with the formation of new connections or neurons for new skills acquired or new memories made. The stages of brain development for your baby can be case-specific but doctors will have a number of benchmarks to refer to which are based on the average growth of children in their age group. This helps doctors identify any possible delays in growth that may indicate an underlying health or development issue.
Infants brain development is not only in the form of physical skills but also emotional development and bettering of various senses including learning of language for communication for one’s daily use. Infant brain development can be tracked through milestones such as the baby’s ability to recognise her parents, wave at familiar people, grasp objects, play with a toy, use a teething ring, etc. All these milestones show the baby’s ability to absorb information, process it and implement it. This information supports brain growth, which further supports the ability to gather and use more information.
How Can Parents Improve Baby’s Brain Development?
As a parent, it is normal to wonder how to develop baby brain functions in a healthy way. You, as parents, are the only ones who can support the development of your child’s brain over extended periods of time. The most effective way to support their development at infancy is to interact with them and help them interact with their surroundings. This is done through numerous activities and exercises.
Diet That Can Help You Boost Your Child’s Brain Development
- For the development of the brain, foremost importance is to be given to nutrition which in the initial stages is completed by mother’s milk and/or formula milk and after six months of age with the introduction of various foods rich in carbohydrates, proteins and fats especially omega fatty acids and DHEA which are vital for baby’s brain development.
- Till the baby is exclusively breastfed, the mother should ensure a balanced diet including all seasonal fruits, dry fruits, green and leafy vegetables, various dairy products and meat and fish.
- Along with these, the baby can be given multivitamin supplements to ensure all body nutrient requirements are met.
- After the baby is shifted on top feed, all the above foods should be eventually introduced in the baby’s diet according to her acceptance and tolerance.
Activities That Help You Boost Your Child’s Brain Development
There are numerous ways in which you can support the growth of your baby’s brain through activities:
- While holding or playing with your baby, make sure you hold their gaze, look them in the eye and interact with them. This fosters eye contact and development of proper eyesight.
- Speak to your child frequently, make sure the tone is soft, and speak slowly. This helps your baby imitate sounds and enables them to mimic mouth movements. This can help them learn to speak.
- Be patient, kids can grow at different speeds. Don’t try rushing your child’s development. Don’t use belittling language or call them names out of frustrations, babies can be very attentive and perceive emotions better than adults. This can harm their confidence and delay their development.
- When sitting with your child, interact with them as well as their toys, this can help them understand the link between their actions and consequences thereof.
- Ensure that you help your baby interact with different surfaces, softly place their palm on smooth glass, stone countertops, carpets, and floors. Guide their palm across these surfaces. This enables them to learn through touch and understand the environment around them.
- Let them watch age-appropriate television for a limited time.
- Sing to your child. Try involving their surroundings in the songs. This lets them build their audible sensory abilities and lets them recognize various tones.
- When in a bath with your baby, play with the water, involve toys like rubber ducks. This will elicit responses from your child like laughter. This also teaches them about various environments and the effects of these environments.
To learn more about what you can do to help your child learn, talk to your paediatric specialist. They can give you other techniques and ways to help your baby grow. Always participate in age-appropriate learning activities. Remember that brain development activities for 1-year-old children are not the same as the brain development activities for an 18-month-old child. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have about your child’s development, if they share your concerns, they will evaluate your child more closely before figuring out what the next step should be if any.
Also Read: Baby Growth Chart for Boys and Girls