From Pregnancy To Toddler Years, Find Out How You Can Make Your Baby Smarter

If you’re pregnant or a new mama, there are plenty of ways you can develop and stimulate your baby’s brain. Find out how you can help your baby reach his fullest potential – from the foods you eat while pregnant to the activities and games you play with him as a baby.
By Jennifer Chait

Boost Baby's Brain In Utero
Your baby’s brain continues to grow and develop significantly throughout your entire pregnancy, which is why healthy pregnancy habits for all nine months are so important. Studies show that you can actually boost baby brain function and development with healthy behaviors such as not drinking alcohol, avoiding toxic chemicals, and eating the right foods. 
 
Research relates that the following foods can positively affect your baby’s brain growth:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 is found in fish, fish oil supplements, flaxseed grain or flaxseed oil, and some eggs (look for the omega-3) label. Omega-3 is known to be a powerful brain booster. Studies show that babies score higher on mental development tests, when their mamas eat a lot of omega-3 during pregnancy.
  • Protein: While pregnant, your body is working hard to create baby brain cells and that requires extra protein. It’s easy to add extra protein to your diet; daily items like peanut butter on toast or a yogurt smoothie can boost your protein intake.
  •  Iron: Iron is necessary to help send oxygen to your baby’s brain during pregnancy. Eating iron-rich foods like spinach, lean chicken, and beans is important. Your health care provider may suggest an iron supplement as well.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants found in foods such as blueberries, papaya, spinach, artichokes, tomatoes, and red beans can help protect your baby’s brain tissue.

 If you have questions about any of the above nutritional baby brain boosters, talk with your health care provider. 
 
Newborn Brain Boosters
After your baby arrives, you can also significantly stimulate your baby’s brain development. When your baby is born, his brain is about 25% the size of a normal adult brain. By the age of 2 years his brain is about 75% of its adult size -- that’s huge brain growth the first two years, so you can see why proper brain stimulation is so important. 

The best thing you can do is expose your baby to a variety of experiences and activities. Of course you don’t want to overwhelm your baby. That said; keep activities simple during the newborn stage.

Try activities such as: 

  • A baby mobile or baby flashcards
  • Soothing music
  • Breastfeeding provides optimum baby nutrition which helps build a healthy brain. Also, a recent large scale study notes that breastfeeding is associated with increased intelligence.
  • Get up close when you talk to your newborn so he can see you better.
  • Read to your baby. Even at this young age, a newborn will enjoy the closeness of being held and the changing tone of your voice as you read.
  • Place your baby on his stomach for a few minutes each day. This allows him to work on gross motor skills which helps to develop his brain as well. 

Baby Brain Boosters
As your baby grows out of the newborn stage, you can introduce even more brain boosting activities. A baby’s brain develops and grows as he learns that a rattle makes a noise, and that a pot and spoon make another. Seeing a ball roll across the floor and later trying to grab that ball works his brain too. Vary playtime activities as much as possible. Click here to find out the top 10 toys that build strong bodies and minds.
 
Other ways to stimulate your baby’s brain include:

  • Playing different styles of music – from classical to rock n’ roll; just keep the volume low. 
  • Expose your baby to various textures, colors, sights, and sounds. Walks outside, varied toys, interesting baby board books, and even a baby DVD occasionally, all expose your little one to new experiences that help to stimulate his brain.
  • Buy your baby stacking blocks. A recent study notes that blocks help to stimulate baby brain growth.
  • Quality caregiver contact is extremely important for baby brain development. Spend plenty of one-on-one time with your baby. Talk to him, sing to him, cuddle him like there’s no tomorrow.

Don’t forget, even if you can’t afford fancy flash cards or baby music classes, what’s most important is that you spend time with your baby. Time and attention is a key factor for building healthy baby brains.


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Rival legal teams, well-financed and highly motivated, are girding for court battles over the coming months on laws enacted in Arkansas and North Dakota that would impose the nation's toughest bans on abortion.
For all their differences, attorneys for the two states and the abortion-rights supporters opposing them agree on this: The laws represent an unprecedented frontal assault on the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.
The Arkansas law, approved March 6 when legislators overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, would ban most abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy onward. On March 26, North Dakota went further, with Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signing a measure that would ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can first be detected and before some women even know they're pregnant.
Abortion-rights advocates plan to challenge both measures, contending they are unconstitutional violations of the Roe ruling that legalized abortion until a fetus could viably survive outside the womb. A fetus is generally considered viable at 22 to 24 weeks.
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Jenny March 20, 2013
This is a great article! Brain function is a very complicated process. What i need to point out to all parents is that you have to make sure that your baby has not skipped any needed evolutionary step. Life consists of different stages of development and growth. A toddler independently learns to move. They turn from their back on their front, then learn to sit, to crawl and eventually to walk and run. Each of these steps is important and requires time. None of these steps can be skipped, and this applies to all stages of life. Maria Montessori describes these as the ‘sensitive periods’ of infancy: “A sensitive period refers to a special sensibility which a creature acquires in its infantile state, while it is still in a process of evolution. It is a transient disposition and limited to the acquisition of a particular trait. Once this trait or characteristic has been acquired, the special sensibility disappears.” (M. Montessori, „The secret of Childhood”) A child learns according to a predetermined plan. From time to time various “learning windows” open up and the child has to be given time to experience this period. Parents have to support the child in these phases by providing adequate learning offers. If any of the main evolutionary steps is skipped, that may affect the brain. A book that explains in a very clear way what happens with the children as they grow up is "Unleash the Secret of Education and learn how to raise a happy child" (Kindle Edition) by Hans Peter Becker. There are many things that a parents must have in mind.
Oss March 03, 2013
Just great! Thks.
Akande Ayodeji February 06, 2013
I need more information on how to boost my baby's brain