The brain at birth has 100 billion neurons that are like seeds awaiting the proper nutrients to become healthy trees. As neurons get those nutrients from their learning environment, they grow roots and branches. The brain’s primary nutrients are responsive interactions with adults, touch, movement, sleep and food.
The brain is the body’s most malleable organ. It dances with nature and nurture in a seamless flow of ever-changing states. Infants spend the first year of their lives „hard wiring” their eyes, ears, taste, touch and body awareness. Their brain, like a seed, comes with the potential for growth. The seed sprouts and grows roots and branches when all of the baby’s senses are stimulated.
At no other time will the brain grow at such a rapid rate, doubling its weight in the first year and achieving 95% of its adult weight by the age of four. Time spent on the tummy strengthens the baby’s body and supports their independent mobility, in addition to developing the brain’s neural connections. As neuroscientists like to say, „what gets fired gets hard wired.”
Dear new mom, please slow down! One of the things that is hardest for most of us in our fast-paced world is slowing down and enjoying these early months and years. Much of what makes a good life for a baby are long, slow times of gazing into each other’s eyes, connecting, holding, rocking, smiling, talking and offering calming touch.
Slow down, relax and enjoy this really important year.