Ten facts about baby brain development every mom should know

In the first year of life, your baby literally grows by leaps and bounds. In a year, his height doubles, and his weight triples! But even more incredible speed of development at this time reaches his brain.

What happens to a baby's brain from the moment of birth until the first birthday?

1. During the first year of life, the baby's brain doubles in size and weighs about 1 kg. The mass of an adult human brain is just over 2 kg.
    2. The mass of the brain increases due to the formation and strengthening of neural connections. A neural connection - a synapse - is formed at the moment when the child gains experience.

       3. Up to 700 synapses per second are formed in the first years of a child's life. However, in order for the neural connection to remain (and the brain mass to increase by that one neural connection), it is important that the child undergoes this experience several more times.

       4. Use it or lose it! In the brain of a newborn there are 150-200 billion (!!!) neurons, while in the brain of an adult, there are 2 times fewer. Neurons either connect, forming neural connections and strengthen them, or they die off, and the fate of most of the baby's nerve cells is in the hands of the parents. Their task is to do everything so that the brain has "nourishment" - conditions for the sensory development of the child. Sensory development includes the development of smell, taste, hearing, touch (tactile sensations), and vision.

      5. At birth, the amygdala (the seat of emotions) is more developed than the frontal lobes, which are involved in reasoning. Babies tend to show their emotions rather than control them. This explains why children often react to situations with tears. This also explains why it is so important to develop the baby's emotional sphere and their senses.

      6. The strongest neural connections are connections that occur in both hemispheres. Crawling is the most efficient way to synchronize both hemispheres. Later, playing musical instruments and swimming can be compared to it.

       7. The cerebellum is responsible for the coordination of movements, and functions of the vestibular apparatus and helps to maintain the body's balance. However, modern neuropsychology claims that the cerebellum is connected to all structures of our nervous system. It is involved in the intellectual, speech, and emotional development of the child. Exercises for balance and equilibrium stimulate the development of the cerebellum. 

       8. Broca's area and Wernicke's area are two regions of the brain responsible for language development. But despite the fact that Broca's area, which is responsible for speech reproduction, shows activity only closer to 12 months (and before that, "mamamama" should not be perceived as the first word), speech development can and should be influenced even earlier - from birth - through work with Wernicke's area, responsible for speech perception.

       9. The physical development of the child stimulates the mental. The American physiotherapist Glenn Doman came to this statement while working with sick children. He noticed that the more the baby moves. the faster brain formation occurs, and the more perfect and mature its cells will be. Each mastered motor skill is an impetus to the development of the next, higher section of the brain.

      Movements allow the child to constantly receive new information about the environment, about their capabilities. They teach them to control their body, feel it in space, comprehend successful and unsuccessful attempts, to come up with new forms of movement.

      Thus, a special ability of the brain is acquired - motor intelligence, thanks to which a child's body can easily adapt movement to constantly changing environmental conditions. This process also actively influences intellectual and psychological development. The main task for parents in this regard is not to hinder the child's desire to move and to promote their comprehensive physical development.

      Fine motor skills of the fingers are closely linked to the child's nervous system, vision, attention, memory, and perception. A significant number of nerve endings are located in the hand. From here, information is continuously transmitted to the child's brain, where it is compared with data from visual, auditory, and olfactory receptors. The more opportunities a baby has for independent exploration of surrounding objects with their hands, the faster their intellect develops, and the sooner they start speaking.

      Conclusion: "If a solid foundation is not formed in the first three years, it is futile to teach how to use it. It's like trying to achieve good results while working on a poor computer." This is what Masaru Ibuka said about the development of children's brains.

      The brain's development is more successful when we actively contribute to it. We can contribute by:

      • Not limiting the child's physical development.
      • Creating an emotional environment of parental love.
      • Providing the baby with the necessary toys and materials and allowing more freedom for independent exploration.