Your Baby’s Amazing Brain

Did you know that when a baby is born, his brain is already ½ the size of an adult brain?

By the time he is 3 years old, his brain has grown to a full 80% size of an adult brain. This is incredible growth, in just 3 years. How does the brain work, and how can we foster this development?

A newborn’s brain

Within the brain are billions of nerve cells, known as neurons. The neurons have to connect with other brain cells in order to work. Some of these connections are present from birth – for example, the ability to breathe, to suck, to cry and others occur as the baby grows and develops.

The connections occur when experiences or skills are repeated over and over. You don’t learn how to fly a plane with just one lesson – you need multiple opportunities to practise in order to be competent.


Many Paediatric services now recommend no screen time before the age of 2 years of age.

Babies are the same – in order to learn to walk, or stack blocks or feed themselves – it doesn’t happen with just one instruction from us.

This is why a young baby will drop toys (or food!) over the high chair repeatedly. Parents often think that the child doesn’t want the object. What the baby is learning, is when I drop this book, it goes bang, and when I do it again, it still goes bang. When I drop the orange it rolls away, sometimes it rolls left, sometimes right… they are looking to make the connection (in their brain) between action and response.

Once they’ve dropped the book often enough, then they no longer need to do it, because they know it will go bang.

Fostering Brain Development

Whilst our skulls are hard, the brain within is fragile, and like glass, can be easily damaged. This is why we need to ensure proper care of the brain, especially in the early months, when baby’s neck muscles are not yet strong, and struggle to hold up that heavy head.

We also protect babies and childrens brains by ensuring that they are securely placed in car seats, and later, wear helmets whilst bicycling.

Brain development is also fostered by diet.

In order for those connections (known as synapses) to be strong in the brain, they need a protective coating of myelin. The myelin coating enables the brain cells to function more efficiently. Myelin occurs naturally in breast milk, and is added to formula milk. For this reason, formula milk should always be made up according to the directions (not diluted), to ensure the baby receives the correct amount of myelin.

Limiting screen time is also vital for brain development.

It is well documented that TV, because of the fast moving images, affects the developing neural pathways. When these babies grow, they seem to require constant activity as they’ve grown to see this activity as the norm.

Many Paediatric services now recommend no screen time before the age of 2 years of age, and less than 2hrs per day for ages 2+, due to the effects on the developing brain. I hear your aghast…. what will I do with them? Think back to your childhood – more walks in the park, or playing in the backyard, digging in the garden, cooking with Grandma, craft work, collecting leaves and snails etc.

It does make you wonder, doesn’t it, the huge increase in children on medication for ADHD, the children who have poor social skills and the children who have no impulse control, which we’ve seen increase dramatically over the past 20 years, since we have had more screens in the household – be they TV, DVD, computer, X-box etc – makes you wonder….

Being a parent is a huge responsibility, which includes, as far as possible, doing everything we can do to nurture that precious developing brain.

Learn the secret language of your baby. Enrol today for just $45.

Related Articles

The latest research into the Baby Language

The impact of the baby language When mothers who learned the baby language kept telling their friends about the massive difference it made in their parenting, researchers began to take note. Of course they want to know, does the baby language work? We have attracted a...

read more

Using your baby carrier with a sleeping baby

You've heard "Owh". What now? Once you've learned the Baby Language, you'll soon tune in to when your little one is ready for a sleep. Most often, you'll be at home and have the bassinet there. But being a new parent doesn’t mean you have to be stuck at home for the...

read more

Baby Reflux

So why does everything your baby eat seem to come right back up? It has to do with a developmental milestone that isn’t as easy to spot as smiling or sitting up. A muscle between the esophagus and stomach keeps liquids and food where they belong. Until this muscle has...

read more

Maximise the potential of your child

From the minute our little bundles of joy enter the world, their brains are constantly growing and developing. At birth, a baby’s brain has very few connections and ‘hard wirings’. The quality of our brain connections are nurtured by the experiences we have in our...

read more

Dealing with Postpartum Depression

This is a beautiful, wondrous time of your life. But it's also incredibly difficult. Unbelievably stressful. It can certainly take its toll. Most mothers experience some form of the ‘Baby Blues’. However, 1 in 10 mothers also experience a debilitating, longer-term...

read more

Burping Your Baby

Nervous about burping your baby? Not sure how she ended up face down and sideways? Just looking for a basic how-to? Well, not to worry! Burping your baby is an important part of infant care, and we can help! This guide covers helpful tips and information about...

read more

Thousands of parents recommend the Dunstan Baby Language course. Enrol today for $45.