Enriching Your Baby's First Year: Development and Growth
What to expect in the first 12 months
Our family recently celebrated the first birthday of our second child. At her party, I reflected on how much she has grown and learned since her birth. She is no longer the helpless infant I held at delivery. Although still a baby, she has blossomed into a bright-eyed, interactive, mobile, and curious little girl.
It’s truly amazing how much babies develop during the first year of life. By Baby’s first birthday, he has accomplished an unparalleled amount of growth. Linear growth may be as much as ten inches the first year, and his brain will be approximately 35 percent larger than it was at birth.
Parents and caregivers have a crucial opportunity to ensure that Baby’s potential is maximized through loving, appropriate interactions, and nurturing during the first year of life. Read on to learn what’s happening with Baby during the first year and ways parents can enrich their little one while enjoying every moment.
First Year Brain Development
Dr. Roni Leiderman, PhD, associate dean at the Mailman Segal Institute for Early Childhood Studies at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, explains that a “newborn’s brain has the potential to produce billions of cells and neurons.” She continues, “These cells and the connections that are made between cells form the basis for a child to function in the world.”
A human baby is born programmed to learn, with all five senses developed. From birth, a child is ready to process information about relationships, emotions, language, and reasoning. Dr. Leiderman explains, “Through appropriate stimulation such as playing with, singing to, holding and rocking, feeding and nurturing and loving your baby, his or her brain will grow and develop to allow for intellectual, physical, and emotional growth.”
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