Track your baby’s milestones — Brain development

Here’s an insight into the intricate workings of your mini-me’s mind in his first year and beyond…

Your baby’s brain is busy from the start. It contains 100 billion neurons at birth, which continue to grow as they form connections with other neurons to transmit information and share information.

Besides controlling basic bodily functions such as your baby’s breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, and sleep, it also takes charge of her physical coordination, language development, memory and perception.

Check out how your baby’s brain makes sense of the world around her, from birth to toddlerhood.

Babies Track your baby's milestones Brain development Brainy baby

0 to 6 months:

* Your newborn is busy looking around and learning from you the moment she comes into the world. She recognises your smell and voice, and studies your face intently. Pay lots of attention to your little bundle and learn when to respond to her cues.

* Her hearing is better than her vision at birth. During this period, your sweetie is able to see primary colours like red, blue and green, though she may find it tough to make out different shades as the nerves in her eyes most sensitive to colour are still maturing.

* By 4 months, your baby is starting to remember sounds ― she’ll babble, try different ones and even copy your lip movements to gear up for speech.

* Use “parentese” ― speaking with musical up and down tones and stretching out your vowels ― to help her develop an understanding of speech and language production. For instance, say “Whoose a preety baybeee?"

Babies Track your baby's milestones Brain development musical

6 to 12 months:

* Your mini-me can now visually follow an object (such as a rattle). When it falls out of his hands, he’ll understand that he is separate from the things around him, as well as other people. Playing peekaboo will help him realise that objects and people still exist even when he can’t see them.

* It’s never too early to boost your little one’s language development, though he may be too young to start using words. Describing things ― such as “green grass” or “brown trees”― will expand his vocabulary.

* Your baby will start to understand shapes once he’s able to pick up objects. He’ll gradually start to recognise outlines and forms and be able to differentiate them by first pointing at them, then sorting and separating different ones.

* Babies learn by doing things repeatedly. So, singing repetitive rhymes such as This Little Piggy, or Round and Round the Garden, will teach him words and music and also hone his memory.

Make sure your peewee’s brain development is on track as he heads into his first year… click next!

Babies Track your baby's milestones Brain development peekaboo

12 to 18 months:

* Stimulate your tot’s rapidly developing brain by offering age-appropriate developmental toys like musical instruments and shape sorters which teach grouping and sorting.

* On a mission to discover the world, your curious cherub will open cupboards and empty tissue boxes. If she comes across an obstacle, she’ll try to overcome it through trial and error.

* Show your approval after your tot has mastered a task. Clap and offer encouragement to motivate her to solve new problems and develop new brain skills.

* Your kewpie’s ability to point at objects ― usually by 14 months ― is a key sign that her brain is developing healthily. Pointing is your offspring’s way of saying “give me” or “show me”. It also shows that she recognises that you’re a different person from her.

Babies Track your baby's milestones Brain development water play

18+ months:

* Talk directly to your tyke as much as possible to expose her to social interactions. Play a recognition game like “where is the car?” or place three objects in front of her and say “Give me the…”

* Expose your little Einstein to tactile play in the water or sand pit to spark her creativity and imagination, and boost her logical thinking and problem-solving skills. Playing with a large piece of cardboard also does the trick!

* Feed your mini-maven’s mind, literally, with brain-boosting foods such as egg yolk, beans, broccoli, yoghurt, tofu, salmon, scallops, walnuts, whole-grain bread, pasta and cereal. Tempt her at breakfast with blueberry pancakes.

* For her to grow into a well-adjusted individual, don’t just play an active role in your child’s learning process ― turn up the wattage on your tot’s brain powers by being a loving parent.

Photos: iStock

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