There are a lot of ways to feed your baby’s brain! When you talk or read to your baby, play or sing with them, touch them, and nourish them with healthy food and love, you are actually “feeding” your baby’s brain.
The developing brain needs two basics: safety and positive experiences.
- Create a safe environment – When a baby feels stressed, their brain develops a chemical called cortisol. High levels of cortisol can actually slow brain development. By making your baby’s world safe, responsive and predictable, you can reduce your baby’s stress level. Remove any physical threats. Respond to them when they are crying and create a routine so that they learn what to expect from their world.
- Provide positive experiences – Your baby’s brain learns best when it is challenged with new information and then compares the new with the existing information. Exposing your baby to new experiences can help strengthen existing connections in their brains, as well as make new ones. Even a simply activity such as taking your baby to the library or out for groceries can “feed” your baby’s brain.
The good news is that building your child’s brain isn’t hard. Many of the things we already do as parents help contribute to our babies brains. Things like cuddling and reading are important. You can read to the youngest child. When you are rocking your baby, you are building an emotional connection that leads to healthy relationships. Talk. Talk. Talk. When you talk to your baby, the pathways for language become stronger just as when you read to them, the pathways for reading become stronger.