The human brain is a miracle. It’s amazing how cell by cell, we evolve into our complete forms with functioning organs and powerful intellectual capabilities. The fetal brain development has puzzled experts since forever. Each one of us has a precisely customized and highly specific central nervous system that gives each of us the particular qualities that we have. It’s not just the genes that matter in shaping the brain of an individual. The environment, nourishment, and the ambiance that a baby gets from the first day it is conceived also plays a critical role in shaping the cognitive capabilities of a human. You may not believe it, but during the first 3 years of a baby’s life, he or she has almost twice as many synapses in the brain as an adult. This is equivalent to several times powerful learning and understanding capability. This only underlines how important it is to pay particular attention to your infant brain development in these core forming years of his life.
During childhood, the brain goes through many milestones. However, the major base setting factors are at play during fetal and infant brain development. Here we introduce you to the many stages that a baby’s brain goes through from the day of conception to 3 years of age. It will give you an idea of the remarkable potential that an infant’s brain has. It’s hard to believe, but a child’s brain has power enough to learn and speak several languages fluently. They can understand and pick things at an amazing pace which makes it easier for them to learn and adapt to things faster than adults.
However, along with this, infant brain development is highly influenced by the atmosphere of the house as well. It is this time at which certain values are embedded into the child’s brain and become part of their personality. Parents need to pay particular attention to the ambiance, the exposure of the child and the values that he is exposed to as it is during this time that the child most readily picks up habits and embeds them in himself.
Foetal Brain Development
The brain starts to develop within the first few days of conception. Slowly, the brain starts to mild and take shape. At about 8 weeks, most of the structures have attained their structure and generally increase in size during the remainder of the pregnancy. It’s important to take folic acid during this period as this vitamin is critical for brain development and prevents birth defects like spina bifida and meningocele.
Foetal brain development advances further in this period and the foetal brain starts forming its characteristic depressions and elevations. The cerebral cortex advances and new synapses originate. The myelination process is afoot, which allows rapid transmission of brain impulses. Things start buzzing around as a central nervous system slowly starts to mature.
Finally, during the last trimester, the appropriate functions of the brain are allocated to the respective parts. The brainstem hands over the special functions to the cortex and reflexes like breathing, suckling, and responses to external stimuli are created and stored in the baby’s brain. During this time a baby learns to recognize his mother’s voice, recognize sounds and can even listen and learn specific words of the language. This underlines the speed of foetal brain development and the reason why you need to pay attention to your child’s development as early as possible.
Infant Brain Development
Once the baby is born with a healthy brain, the learning process starts. An infant’s brain is like a blank canvas which starts to record and interpret things from day one. There are numerous stages that the infant’s brain goes through. Let us take you through the milestones and important parts during the first three years of your child’s life.
Infant brain development is at its peak and the maximum focus is motor development. The specific centre’s responsible for coordination, response and balance are sharpened allowing your child to progress through the many stages of motor perfection. Also, during this time, a child starts to recognize things. The power of recognition is strengthened dramatically and the baby starts associating specific faces and voices with emotion. Certain sounds and people make them happy, whereas others make them cry. Factors as early as the first few days of a newborn can play a part in the emotional and psychic shaping of his brain. Also, it is during this year that the child develops the language centre. A baby exposed to foreign languages during this time can incorporate them within the language centres of the brain giving him the ability to speak any language that is stressed.
The language area is the prime focus during this year. More and more synapses are created and linked that allow the child to form words, sentences and then ultimately express himself with proper conversation. The baby is also more aware of the surroundings, he takes in and responds to the things around him. In this year, the baby is more aware of his own feelings and develops emotional complexity. The baby also starts to recognize himself in the mirror and understands his own actions better.
This is the time of peak activity of the brain. Synaptic activity during this time is double the adult levels. During this time, particular events and the environment can leave an impact on the baby’s brain. Fears and happy moments all link themselves into the baby’s mind and can influence the later years of his life. It’s important for parents to understand this critical period. They can maximize learning in this period and on the other hand they also need to provide a stable environment for optimal infant brain development. Periods of fear or violence, the method of treatment, the tone of your voice, everything can leave a mark and can become vested into the brain, ultimately leading to wrong decisions in manhood.
All of these reasons and different stages of infant brain development highlight the fact that the baby’s brain is complex and highly influential. Parents need to be careful around their children. Words said unwittingly may not mean much to you, but they can have a significant influence on your child. Even when your child doesn’t understand what you are saying, your actions and even the tone of your voice could be inflicting harm on his brain. The human mind is very complex, but it in order to ascertain optimum development, we need to go back to day one!
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Parents. (2017). The ABC’s of Baby Brain Development. [online] Available at: http://www.parents.com/baby/development/intellectual/how-your-babys-brain-develops/ [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].
BabyCenter. (2017). Your Baby’s Brain Development | BabyCenter. [online] Available at: https://www.babycenter.com/baby-brain-development [Accessed 21 Apr. 2017].