How can I best nurture my baby’s brain development?

Early loving attachments for infants actually affect the way their brain grows. Talking, rocking, singing and direct eye contact with a baby are several important ways to stimulate the brain to develop and grow. Touching, stroking and holding a baby are also especially important. Research shows that touching and holding a baby release important hormones in their bodies necessary for brain growth.

Most of a child’s brain growth and development will occur during the first three years of life. How we nurture and care for our children during this time will impact their readiness for school, emotional development and future potential as adults.

Although they can’t talk, infants use many ways to communicate. Infants talk to us through cooing, eye contact, crying and other facial expressions. When we respond to their cues, children develop trust, a sense of security and the feeling that they are loved.

Understanding language is a critical development activity for infants. At seven months of age, babies can recognize and understand many words, even though they can’t say the words yet. Therefore, talking, singing and playing are important ways to interact and stimulate language development.

Nurturing care positively impacts the way toddlers respond to stress. By age two, children who have received consistent, loving care may adapt to stress better. Research shows that, at a young age, these children will produce less of the stress hormone called “cortisol.” When they become upset, they can turn off their reaction to stress faster. This research suggests that they may be better prepared to respond to life’s challenges.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.