OHSU

The Baby Brain

The Baby Brain - OHSU Brain Awareness

When a baby is born, her brain comes equipped with approximately 100 billion neurons, or nerve cells. With each new experience, this baby's neurons will form neural networks that will transmit information involved in feeling, sensing, thinking, and learning. Her brain will grow at an astonishing rate during these early years, nearly tripling in weight by her third birthday!

Research now demonstrates that an enriched environment can strengthen brain development as a baby grows. For example, studies show that animals raised in toy-filled surroundings have more neural networks and more connections than isolated animals.

Some of the findings confirm what parents and caregivers already know — that the way in which a child is raised has an enormous impact on her emotional well being, intellectual level and skills for success. Scientists are learning about the neurological processes that support and go beyond this understanding. Research is showing that experiences, coupled with heredity, literally shape the brain!

Tips to improve your baby's brain:

  • provide warm, responsive care
  • talk to your baby
  • provide your baby with loving touch
  • create a safe, healthy environment
  • let play be an important part of your baby's life
  • sing to your baby and play music
  • read to your baby
  • make sure your baby has safe and responsible child care
  • provide limits that teach with love
  • provide a healthy diet rich in protein and dietary fat