Baby Brain Development

Maci McReynolds

This part of your baby's brain responds well to stimulation. You'll give your baby's parietal lobe a workout each time you hand him a new toy and textures to touch and enjoy.

The temporal lobe controls hearing, smell, and language comprehension. It works with the amygdala and hippocampus to enable learning, memory, and emotional responses.  Reading to your baby helps them engage there temporal lobe in reading comprehension, and hearing.

The occipital lobe, sometimes called the visual cortex, is located near the back of your baby's head. It controls her sight, and her ability to understand what she's seeing. Using a mobile of contrasting colors

The brain stem controls your newborn's reflexes such as crying, startling and sucking. It also regulates basic functions such as breathing, blood pressure and heart rate. Even your baby's light, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is directed from his brain stem.  While your baby is drinking from a bottle or breast the brain stem is in function.

The frontal lobe of the brain handles all thought and voluntary behavior such as walking, speech, and problem solving, and some aspects of emotion. Development in this area really takes off between six and 12 months, when your baby becomes more mobile and verbal.

This part of the brain lets your baby learn and then remember how to move. As your baby is becoming more mobile, the cerebellum helps her get the grips of rolling over, crawling, then walking.

Tips for New Parents

~Choose developmentally appropriate toys that allow babies to explore and interact. Toys such as a windup jack-in-the-box or stack able blocks help your baby learn cause-and-effect relationships and "if-then" reasoning.

~Have meaningful conversations. Respond to infant coos with delighted vocalizations. Slowly draw out your syllables in a high-pitched voice as you exclaim, "Pretty baby!"  The areas in the brain for understanding speech and producing language need your rich input.

~Play games that involve the hands (patty-cake, peekaboo, this little piggy). Babies respond well to learning simple sequential games.

Facts About the Infant Brain

~Your baby's brain is more active than yours. Babies are born with all the brain cells they’ll ever have, about 100 billion of them.

~Hugs make your baby's brain bigger. Healthy babies who receive plenty of maternal reassurance during stressful times actually have larger brains than babies who don’t get as much motherly nurturing.

~Your baby is dreamy. Babies spend half their shut-eye in REM sleep — the stage during which dreams are more likely to occur

~His memory is better than you think.The part of the brain responsible for memory, the hippocampus, is already 40 percent developed in newborns and will be fully developed by 18 months.

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