Wellness: Parenting

Aiding Baby’s Emotional and Intellectual Development

You gaze lovingly into your newborn's eyes as you feed him or her. You speak gently to your baby as you change his or her diaper. You sing to your child at bedtime.

These caring acts help your child build a healthy brain.

A baby is born with 100 billion brain cells, called neurons. Throughout childhood, these neurons continue to make connections with other neurons. Your child's brain continues to develop in response to stimulus from light, color, sound, touch, and other sensory input. 

Because much of your baby's brain development takes place after birth, you have many opportunities to contribute to the healthy development of your baby's brain.

Normal development

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers several tips to help your child's brain development:

  • Be warm, loving, and responsive.

  • Be consistent.

  • Pick up on your child's reactions and expressions of interest.

  • Talk, read, and sing to your child.

  • If you speak a second language, use it at home. A child's brain is adept at learning several languages at a time.

  • Play with your child every day.

  • Choose quality child care and stay involved.

  • Don't overdo popular but unproven techniques, such as classical music and flash cards.

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