5 Key Ingredients of Healthy Brain Development in Babies

5 Key Ingredients of Healthy Brain Development in Babies | Baby Chick

5 Key Ingredients of Healthy Brain Development in Babies

The Harvard University Center on the Developing Child has found that babies brains make over one million new connections per second! That is so many new connections that their brain will literally double in weight in the first year.

There are many concepts that go into healthy brain development, but there are five key ingredients that play an important role in the growing brain and the relationship between the baby and the parent. Relationships are critical because relationships between baby and caregiver create the foundation for the baby’s emotional development and mental health. According to Zero to Three, the key ingredients are:

1. Relationships

Research on healthy attachment tells us that a strong positive relationship with at least one care-giver is essential for healthy brain development. When children feel safe and secure in their attachment with a caregiver, they are free to go off and explore with confidence and know that if they need the caregiver they are there for them. This builds self-confidence and self-esteem from a very early age. You can build a healthy relationship with your baby by bonding through skin on skin contact. Baby massage is great for this. The strokes encourage bonding and attachment. You can also make eye contact and talk to you baby often to form a healthy relationship. Holding your baby in a sling or vertical carrier so they are close is a great way to bond as well.

2. Responsive Caregiving

When the parent or caregiver uses responsive interactions, the child is in the lead and the parent responds to what the child is interested in. If the child reaches for a ball, the parent comments on the ball how the child is playing with the ball. Responsive interactions are back-and-forth interactions between the parent and child and are really important in early communication. Babies begin to understand this back-and-forth communication as early as three weeks! Practice this by talking to your baby all day long and watching her cues. When she looks toward the dog, comment on the dog, when she reaches toward a toy, hand her that toy and explain what it is.

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3. Respect

By showing respect to babies and treating them as individuals who have value and meaning, we lay the foundation for their own self-respect. Practice this by telling your baby what you are doing before you do it, for example, “I am going to change your diaper now.” You can ask your baby yes or no questions, such as “Do you want a bath?” even if they are too young to answer. You can maintain eye contact and explain things going on in your baby’s world.

4. Routines

Routines make your baby’s life predictable and the use of routines helps to build brain connections that support memory and organization. Also, routines build a sense of safety and security in young children. Parents can build routines around bedtime, morning, mealtimes and playtime. Songs and nursery rhymes help to create routines. When babies hear the clean-up song they know playtime is coming to an end.

5. Repetition

Babies’ brains are able to establish connections in response to what they see, hear, smell, taste, and experience. When experiences are repeated, the brain connections grow stronger. When babies hear the same stories or songs over and over again, the brain connections fire off again and again, making them stronger and stronger. You can help build connections stronger by intentionally creating repetition. Play the same games and fingerplays, sing the same songs, tell the same stories, read the same books over and over. We repeat to remember.

Babies’ brain connections are forming at an unbelievable rate, and it is so exciting to know there are things we can do to optimize this early development for a lifetime of new learning and good mental health.

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About the Author /

Dr. Aimee Ketchum is a pediatric occupational therapist and has been working in pediatrics for 20 years. Ketchum works in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at UPMC Pinnacle Hospital and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. Ketchum is also the owner/operator of Aimee’s Babies LLC, a child development company.

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Instagram post 17920976449353517 💪 Mom Hacks for Staying Fit After Having Kids⁠
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Going to keep it real here, your fitness game is going to change after having kids. If you were crushing it before having babies, you're going to find that the free time for working out isn't what is used to be.⁠
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Regardless of where you were at, there are things you can do to make your heath a priority and be a good example to your little ones.⁠
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1. Don't rush back. There's no gold star here. Take your time, get the clearance from your OB/midwife and start when you're ready.⁠
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2. Schedule your workouts. Like most things in life now, you're on a schedule. Create time in your new life for you -- you'll thank yourself later.⁠
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3. Ask for Help. Chances are high that the Mom down the street is looking for some kid free time as well. You take an hour, she takes an hour and we're all better off for it.⁠
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4.  Embrace the little things. Your day will present opportunities to get your butt moving. Find them.⁠
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5. Get a new outfit. Because, duh.⁠
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6. Join a fitness community. It's scientifically proven that external motivators work when it comes to starting and sticking with a fitness routine. Utilize your community for support and motivation.⁠
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Words & 📸 : @juna.moms⁠
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#fitmom #newmom #fitness #fitspo #momlife #fitnessmotivation #fitlife #healthylifestyle #healthyliving #fittip  #motherhood #momtobe #mommylife #momsofinstagram #babychick #fitfam
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Instagram post 17863400905557801 Becoming a mother makes you realize you can do almost anything one-handed. 💁‍♀️⁠
📷: @hanna_wol⁠
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📷: @momthesedays⁠
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Instagram post 18004050754269786 "All the feelings apply to all the moms, in all the stages. We're more alike than not." ❤️⁠
(quote via @catandnat)⁠
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Instagram post 17844140491774206 ⁠🎵 I’ve got my whole world in my hands
I’ve got my whole wide world in my hands
I’ve got my whole world in my hands
I’ve got my whole world in my hands 🎵
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When you meet your baby(ies) and your whole world changes. 💕
📷: @megbed
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Instagram post 18110828746014338 The first year after baby is the leading time when marriages break up. The extra stress, lack of sleep, and major life changes can all contribute to communication breakdown and losing intimacy. 💔 That's why protecting relationships is such an important part of postpartum planning (done in pregnancy). Parenthood is an emotionally provocative experience. These heightened emotions help you tune into your baby's needs, but it can also help you tune into each other.⁠
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Speak your partner's love language in postpartum. Send this resource to your loved one so that they can make you feel loved and supported in a meaningful way.⁠
Words & 📸: @birthbossco⁠
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Instagram post 17934950050319412 EXACTLY! 🙌 I wish more moms knew this and didn't feel pressured to say yes automatically to guests--of course, unless they want to! 😊 But you can always say no and not right now. Take your time to bond with your new baby. If you want people to come over, great! But don't feel bad if you don't and want more time alone with your family. People who love you should understand. ❤️⁠
(quote via @psychedmommy)⁠
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Instagram post 18003898246270151 YUP! Thought I would run a tight ship but turns out I can't contain this circus. 🤦‍♀️⁠
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Instagram post 17892508969418384 When you go out of town for a few days and your family realizes all that you do for them and the house. 😂⁠
(quote via @playdatesonfridays)⁠
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Instagram post 17857907638591275 Dinner time with toddlers can oftentimes be hectic and stressful. Sometimes they’ll eat what you’ve made them and other times they won’t. 😒 We’ve been there! This is why we are sharing two yummy dinner recipes that have been toddler approved that the whole family can enjoy—Taco Pizza and Stuffed Sweet Potatoes! 😋
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We substituted sour cream in these recipes with @stonyfield YoBaby yogurt because it provides not only the calcium they need, but also probiotics, protein and vitamin D! 👍 (Our pediatrician says our little guy needs 2-4 servings of dairy per day!) The yogurt still has that tangy flavor that you’re looking for but with even more benefits! Cheers to full tummies and happy families! 🙌 #ad #stonyfield
📹: @trippfilms
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Instagram post 17873539714477826 Some days I feel like I am totally kicking butt and taking care of business as a mom . . . and other days I'm like, "Do I really have to adult today?" 😫😴⁠ #WeekendsDontExistWhenYoureAParent #NoDaysOff⁠
📷: @decade2doodles⁠
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Instagram post 18010968127252794 Did you know that in some locations there are Mother's Milk Banks (@austinmilkbank)? They are nonprofit banks that collect donor human milk for babies in need. We love mamas like @lololovelyco who are donating their milk while also breastfeeding! I wish I had made enough milk when I was breastfeeding my son to have done the same. But I'm so grateful for mothers who can! Spreading the love to all of you milk making mamas! 🤱💗⁠
📷: @lololovelyco⁠
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Instagram post 17882796163445028 Happy Halloween! 🎃 Hope there is minimal (to no) whining and you don't have to break out your inner Mary Poppins to still create a magical evening with the family. ⁠
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And if there is some toddler nonsense, remember you can eat their candy while they sleep. 😜⁠
📷: @hipmomma007⁠
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Instagram post 17882685211447052 Psycho moms have more fun. 🤣 But for real though, I would have been scared sh*tless if I was a child and this kid was in my class. 😱 #happyhalloween!
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Instagram post 17882232535453301 Some solid advice for new moms. ❤️⁠
📷: @debiandbebi⁠
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Instagram post 17880589438445237 You know your child better than anybody. Do what YOU feel is best for your child and your family.  No explanations necessary. ❤️⁠
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Instagram post 17856924145605814 Your kids are listening. 👂 They are listening to everything that you're saying and are watching your body language and your behaviors even when you think they're not. If you want your children to be patient, you must practice patience. If you want your children to be kind, you must show kindness. If you want your children to share, to include others, etc., you must teach them and lead by example. “Do as I say not as I do” does not work. The greatest lessons are taught by action and if you want them to be great, give them something great to look up to. ❤️⁠
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Instagram post 17920417273345320 LOVE!!!! And nursing twins?! Betty was a boss. 💪🤱👶👶💗⁠ #imissrugrats⁠
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Instagram post 18110876884020847 Of course you love being a mom. You love your kids. You love your family. And you would NEVER change any of it. But it's okay to acknowledge that motherhood is hard and that there are parts of it that we don't always love. This does not make us bad moms. We have limits, we get tired and we're human.⁠
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I think sharing only the beautiful sides of motherhood to women who don't have children does them a disservice. It's important to have an understanding of what the reality is like so if they decide to have a baby welcoming their little one and becoming a mom is not as jarring or eye-opening. It doesn't mean that we should fear-monger. It's just being honest about all sides of motherhood--the crazy, exhausting, beautiful and best thing ever. ❤️⁠
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