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Baby Brains

From the instant your baby takes their first breath, as a mother, you are imprinting on your baby’s development. The first touch, eye contact, sound of your voice is creating a nurturing bond. As a mother, your parenting will make a lasting impact on your child’s development.

Research has shown that the first thousand days of your baby’s brain development is a very crucial factor in shaping your child long term. During the first three years, the brain grows and develops significantly, and the environment and experiences your baby has will last forever.

The average newborn brain triples in size by the time your child is two years old. Your baby is born with lifetime supply of neurons, but most synapses form by the time they are three years old based on experiences.

During these years, your baby is learning how to think, problem solve, and respond to emotions. The brain is hardwired for social, emotional, and intellectual development by the age of five. Here are few examples showing how you, as a mother, are making a lasting impact on your baby’s development:


The first three years of life plays the most important period for speech and language development. Face to face communication between you and your baby supports their ability to learn and speak.

Sing to your child, narrate your actions. It is never too early to read books. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends reading aloud, rhyming, playing and cuddling with your child every day to help with early brain development.

Contrary to belief, you are not spoiling your baby through these actions. Let your child turn the page, describe the pictures, read at any time. Your local library is a great resource.

Put the technology away! Multiple studies have found that spending time on the screens may have a negative impact on language skills (smaller vocabularies) for infants and young toddlers. The AAP does not recommend screentime for children younger than two years old.

Positive Parenting:

Studies have shown that raising your baby in a supportive and nurturing environment impacts them cognitively. Praise your baby on their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses and failures. For example, say more words of affirmation such as “good”, “yes”, “well done” instead of focusing on saying “bad”, “no.”

Give them a lot of loving attention and reward them for good behavior. Cuddling and holding them will make them feel loved and secure. Listen to your child’s feelings and needs as they grow older. However, positive parenting also means setting limits and having consistent rules and reasonable consequences.

As a mother, you are one of the most important aspects in your baby’s development, but it takes a team to raise your baby, and you are not alone. It is important to routinely visit your pediatrician to monitor for physical growth (including brain development), milestones (mental, social, physical) and to keep your child healthy with routine childhood vaccines.

Dr. Tien Nguyen is a board-certified pediatrician at Desert Pediatrics (Desertpedsaz.com) in Tucson, Arizona. She completed medical school at the University of Arizona and her pediatric residency at UCLA. She believes in the importance of preventative medicine and enjoys working with families to help them raise happy, healthy children.



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