Friday, March 26, 2010

Brain Development

Development of cognition (knowledge about the world), language, and motor skills is highly correlated with brain development. We know that brain development begins during pregnancy. During the 16th week of gestation, cells in your baby’s brain began dividing. Growth occurs very rapidly in the brain stem, which controls basic functions, such as breathing, and in the primary motor (movement) and somatic sensory (hearing, vision, etc.) areas. At birth, your baby’s brain weights about 335 grams—about 25% of your adult brain weight of 1320 grams. After birth and during the first year, the brain grows fast, to about 70% of its adult size by 12 months. Development during this period is important, and is evident in the various areas that we will be covering.

From birth, your baby’s brain is learning to process information. The blood carries oxygen to the part of the brain that is activated by visual and auditory stimuli even during sleep. EEG patterns (electrical activity in the brain) alternate between high, medium, and low voltage. For full-term infants, these occur more during the night than the day.


Protect your baby’s brain. The newborn’s brain is delicate and spongy. Luckily, the skull helps protect her brain from injury. At birth, the bones of her skull have not yet connected, to allow room for her brain to grow. You may know of the area where the bones have not yet connected as the “soft spot”. The soft spot can be a reminder that your baby’s brain is expanding and growing in important ways even when she doesn’t yet seem to be able to do many things intentionally. Despite what many people think, it is okay to touch and wash this part of your baby’s head. Just be gentle. Your baby’s brain is delicate. As a good parent, you may think you would never shake your baby violently, but you could still injure your baby’s brain just by jiggling her vigorously or tossing her up in the airwhile playing

No comments:

Post a Comment