Top 10 Ways to Help Baby Brain Development
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
June 3, 2011
Filed Under Parenting
Contributed by Cindi Pearce, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Your baby’s health is very much dependent on you, the mother, and what you do and don’t do during pregnancy and after his birth.
Mothers need to safeguard their baby’s brain development, even before giving birth.
Here are the top 10 ways to help baby brain development:
10. Find out early
You have just discovered that you are pregnant. Make a pact with yourself at that very moment that you are going to do everything within your power to give this baby a good start in life, which starts in your womb, and that you will do everything possible to keep him healthy, including his brain. Motherhood, including the nine months of pregnancy, is a big job and a huge responsibility.
9. Interaction and experience
Good brains are built just like good houses. The process of building a strong brain starts even before birth and continues after birth. The first three years of a child’s life are critical insofar as brain development is concerned. His brain cells are essentially raw materials and the child’s experiences and interaction with others helps develop the structure and efficacy of his brain.
Holding, touching and playing stimulates your child and his brain. Have a stimulated array of age-appropriate toys on hand. A child that has little interaction with his parents is not going to be as smart or as healthy or secure as a child who does.
Let your child know from the beginning that you love him. Show her your joy in being her parent. Create a safe and secure environment in which she can feel secure and can explore. Learn to respond appropriately to your baby’s clues and cues. Pay attention to her moods and rhythms right from the start. Respond when your baby is upset as well as when she is joyous.
6. Eat well
Mothers should eat well so that their breast fed child can benefit as well as benefiting from it herself. Eating right helps improve brain functioning, for both mother and child. Eat foods that are rich in Omega 3-fatty acids because this will improve your baby’s brain function as well as your own.
Eat fresh apples and pears, walnuts, berries, cherries, spinach, prunes, raisins, flax oil and sardines because you will be getting anti-oxidants into your system that keep the brain clear of free radicals that can result in cell deterioration.
Talk to your baby. Be expressive and demonstrative and make a lot of physical contact with him. Rub on him. Babies like to be massaged. When a baby is between two and four months old his vision has improved enough that he engages in message sending via his eyes, as we all do. Babies start paying very closely attention to their surroundings at this time. Encourage this. Show him objects and tell them what they are. Let him feel toys with different textures and see things with different colors and patterns.
4. Kangaroo care
Kangaroo mother care amounts to a philosophy where the mother keeps her infant next to her body and, even more ideally, there is skin against skin contact. When a baby is placed skin to skin with his mother this helps the two bond and makes the infant feel secure. It is believed that skin to skin contact helps form the right brain pathways. When a baby is carried this way he produces fewer stress hormones, including somatostatin, and there are fewer brain bleeds in babies as a result, which is a concern when an infant is premature.
Breastfeed because your milk consists of all the nucleotides that are necessary for the growth and development of your baby’s brain. Colostrum, which a pregnant woman may produce while pregnant and which she automatically produces the first few days after birth, contains antibodies that protect your child and immunize him against disease. When you breastfeed your baby’s rooting instinct clicks in quickly because she smells the milk on your skin.
If your baby is premature, the baby gets gestation-specific breast milk, which is on the mother’s chest and this milk content is a little different from what would have been produced if the baby had gone full term. If a woman has twins she is capable of producing the specific kind of milk that each baby needs. Pretty amazing. The benefits of breastfeeding are tremendous. Your baby will have fewer long-term health problems, and he will be better able to digest and absorb milk and foods because the skin-to-skin contact that he gets when nursing puts the baby in a very calm state and the hormones that are released prepare his belly to absorb food. Find nursing accessories that make the job of breastfeeding your baby even easier.
2. Abstain and destress
Once pregnant, eat right, don’t smoke, drink alcohol or do drugs, take your prenatal vitamins and give your child-to-be a good start. Try not to be stressed. If you are feeling anxious or depressed get help. You must take care of yourself so that your baby will be healthy.
1. Folic acid
Any woman who is in her child-bearing years, even though she may not be anticipating an intended pregnancy soon should be taking folic acid, which prevents conditions such as spinal bifida and cleft palate in babies. It also helps prevent depression and lowers your risk of developing Alzheimer’s later.