Healthy brain development in the early years

Hello Friends,

I don’t know about you but those night-time snuggles are something I am super reluctant to let go of as Evie grows up and moves into each new season of childhood. I have been ok with her last breastfeed, her last bottle feed, her last sleep swaddled up like a newborn, but my little mumma heart is just not ready for the last night-time snuggle (and honestly, I don’t know if it will ever be!).

Every night after reading a story she snuggles up into my chest and slowly drifts off to sleep. Sometimes she will play with my nose and my eyes, sometimes she will tickle the skin under my neck and other times she will lie on her spot just under my chin and stare with those huge sleepy eyes until she eventually gives in to sleep. Every night, as I feel her chest gently rise and fall on mine and hear her sweet little breathing noises, I remind myself how grateful I am for another night of being able to snuggle my sweet baby girl to sleep.

In the early days I would often feel torn between what felt right in my heart and what I thought other people would be thinking I ‘should’ be doing. During these times I would often go back and remind myself of what I already knew and believed about child development and what our littlest babes truly need.

baby snuggles help lay foundations for healthy brain development

I have always been fascinated by the brain, in particular, children’s and babies brains and how they grow, develop and thrive. So, hopefully I can share some insight into how these precious snuggles are actually allowing your little ones brain do just that!

There is so, so much new and valuable research into the brain and how it grows, develops and even changes over time and it is clear that the most crucial stages are during the early years. A babies brain is active in the womb, at birth and “by their third birthday their neural activity is twice that of an adult and will generally remain that way through the first decade of life until they reach adolescence” (Nagel, M, 2012).

You can actually help sculpt your child’s brain architecture!!

Read that again!! How absolutely fascinating is that!? It is one of the reasons why I harp on to my husband all the time about how important the experiences we give our daughter in her first years of life truly are! One of the most crucial things a child’s brain needs to thrive is safe, secure and respectful relationships. They need someone they can trust to meet their needs when they are communicated and to make them feel safe and loved in this new, big, wide world.

Responding to your little loves needs consistently and in a positive and nurturing way does absolute wonders for their emotional well being and cognitive growth and lays the foundation for healthy brain development. The importance of touch is also well researched and also a crucial element for healthy brain development. Just think back to when your baby was first born and how incredibly important skin-to-skin was and how it calmed your baby almost straight away.

A safe and secure environment where a child feels loved, respected, and nurtured is critical. Numerous studies have shown that when a child feels confident and supported they are more likely to feel safe enough to go and explore the world around them, allowing them to gain knowledge and build upon their already growing repertoire of skills. They are also more likely to take risks and challenge themselves, building self-esteem and confidence as well as learning something new!

So, if you’re feeling like me and not ready to give in those snuggles or have a moment of doubt about whether or not you are ‘spoiling’ your child or ‘making a rod for your back’ by responding to their cues, remember just how important what you are doing really is!! Remember, you loving and nurturing ways are actually sculpting your brains architecture!

There is so, SO much more I can share about your child’s brain development and the things needed to lay a healthy foundation so please let me know if you are interested by commenting, liking or sharing using the socials buttons on the top or bottom of the page.

 

*images from Pinterest. 

1 comment

Love this ❤️ and love the snuggles and cuddles so much! Hopefully our littles keep being snuggly and cuddly forever x

Hannah King May 31, 2021

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