The Brain of a Newborn: From Conception to 3 Years

infant-brain.jpgAt birth, a baby's brain already has 100 to 200 billion nerve cells or neurons and weigh 25% of its adult weight. Connecting pathways to control the baby's muscles, organs, and glands have already grown between the neurons. Following birth, the day-to-day living  experiences causes these pathways known as synapses to grow very quickly. By age 3,babies have about 15,000 synapses per neuron, three times the synapses of adults. That's one reason why children learn foreign languages more easily than adults.

Lifelong patterns are being built as the brain strengthens the pathways it uses often and prunes away pathways and neurons it doesn't use. By age 3 these brain habits will affect the child for a lifetime.  That's why appropriate stimulation, healthy environments and loving relationships during the early years of each baby's brain development lead to healthier children. That's why sustained negative experience in a baby's early years decrease that child's chances at a healthy life.   


 Links to more learning about infant brain development
 "Food For Thought" and "The First Years Last Forever" are two videos about brain development in the early years shown during the Baby Talk series for parents of infants and toddlers. Baby Talk is an informative, social outing for parents, their babies and toddlers that happen throughout the year.  Call your local Health Centre for further information Kelowna (250) 868-7700, Rutland (250) 491-2768, Westbank (250) 768-6150 or visit the Interior Health Authority website at www.interiorhealth.ca .
 Child & Family Canada: Early Years Fact Sheet Family Canada: Early Years Fact Sheet
What Families Can Do Canadian Mothercraft Society - Information on how best to promote the well-being of children, including a section on the first year of a child's life. Growing Healthy Canadians - A Guide for Positive Child Development
A Visual Guide to Brain Development from the Johnson & Johnson website babycentre.ca
An excellent brain map that shows what functions each area of the brain controls.
How do babies learn to talk?  An article by PAULA BOCK in the Seattle Times


From Interior Health Authority:

Two Hundred Reasons to Breastfeed

 pdf icon small Two Hundred Reasons to Breastfeed! 

October 1 to 7 is World Breastfeeding Week in Canada.

Breast milk is made up of more than 200 nutritious components that help babies to grow strong and healthy. Interior Health and the World Health Organization recommend that new moms exclusively breastfeed for at least the first six months of a child’s life.



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