Jun 20 , 2022
The brain is an enigmatic organ that develops through experiences and nurturing. The brain development in babies can be tracked through various milestones achieved by the baby. Milestones are measuring units to show your baby's abilities to absorb, process and apply the information gained.
In the first trimester, though the baby is still tiny, the brain has already begun growing. The neural connections are produced that allow the baby to move around in the womb. In the second trimester, more nerve connections and brain tissue are formed. The cerebral cortex begins to assert dominance on the brain stem during the third trimester to prepare the baby for future endeavours.
The human brain is divided into 3 main parts:
1) The cerebellum- The cerebellum and brain stem connect the brain to the spinal cord and regulate respiration, heart rate, blood pressure, balance, and reflexes.
2) Limbic system - Emotion, thirst, appetite, memory, learning, and the body's daily cycles are all controlled by the limbic system.
3) Cerebral cortex – it is made up of two hemispheres left and right. It is further divided into:
The occipital lobe is responsible for seeing. The temporal lobe is responsible for hearing, language, and social interaction.
The frontal lobe is responsible for memory, self-regulation, planning, and problem-solving.
The parietal lobe is responsible for physiological feelings such as pain, pressure, heat, and cold.
Majority of the brain development happens until the age of 5 years. The baby's brain is about a quarter the size of an adult's brain at birth. By the first year, the size of the brain doubles. 80% of the adult size brain is achieved by the age of 3 years. And finally, by the age of 5 to 6 years, the brain has grown up to 90%.
The brain of a newborn has all the cells they will be having for the rest of their life. However, the connection between these cells isn't fully developed yet. Childhood development enhances these connections that enable the baby to transform into healthy and successful adults. Positive interactions with parents, family and various social groups, emotional support, love and care help the brain to develop immensely.
The experiences of childhood play a crucial role in determining how an individual will turn out as an adult. Being raised in a happy and loving environment builds confidence in an individual. On the other hand, adverse experiences in childhood such as abuse, violence and neglect may lead to delays in the development of an individual.
The initial years are very crucial for a baby's emotional, mental and physical well being. Here are some ways you can help your baby's brain to be healthy:
A loving relationship with parents and family ensures the healthy development of the baby's brain. Your interaction with the baby and the baby's interaction with their surroundings allows them to explore resulting in rapid development. Holding baby, making eye contact, talking to the baby, letting your baby observe is essential for their healthy growth.
2) Talking to your baby-
Even if your baby cannot reply to you yet, have conversations with them. Talking to them helps them to imitate sounds and lip movements. This imitation is useful when they are learning a language and trying to speak.
3) Stimulation of various senses-
Allow your little one to touch objects with different textures. Let them listen to some soft tunes, rhymes and songs. Let them smell you and see different things. Babies are extremely curious to understand the world around them. By stimulating their five senses, you are allowing their brain to develop faster.
4) Healthy diet-
A healthy diet for your baby ensures cell generation. Breast milk is full of nutrients and very crucial for your baby's initial growth. Upon transitioning to solid foods, introduce fruits and vegetables in various forms to accelerate their growth. Exposure to texture has proven to reduce picky eating in kids. Allow your baby to experience the texture, smell and taste of the food to ensure their healthy growth and development.
In short, the development of a baby’s brain begins in the first trimester itself. The cerebellum, the limbic system and the cerebral cortex are the three parts of a brain that have their own unique functions. Things such as interaction with your little one, talking to them, stimulating their senses and maintaining a healthy diet gives a boost to their brain development.
Babies are wonderful tiny human beings with unique personalities. Yes, development in early childhood is crucial. However, every baby has its own pace. Don't rush your baby into learning things faster or comparing them with other babies, be patient with them and give them their time. Unless there is something alarmingly wrong, a little delay does not stop your baby from being a rockstar.