Boost baby's brain power

Your baby's brain quadruples in size during that first year. Here's how to boost her mental development.

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  • Boost baby's brain power

    The first year is critical for your baby; development is so fast that his or her brain will quadruple in size during these 12 months.

    We all want our babies to grow into healthy, happy toddlers, and giving them fun mental stimulation will help develop new connections within the brain.

    Read on for four ways to help boost your baby's brain power.

  • Boost baby's brain power

    Mummy time

    Spending time with your baby benefits her in lots of ways. She picks up language skills from hearing you talk and from watching your face and body language.

    'Babies learn faster if they're taught with one-to-one parental interaction,' says brain expert Nancy Slessenger. 'So the more animated you are around your baby, the better.'

  • Boost baby's brain power

    Get him moving

    'The development of the brain is directly linked to movement,' says Nancy. 'By waving his limbs around he's inviting a reaction. In response, he'll repeat the movement, and a new brain connection is made.'

    So get the baby gym out and get your little one underneath for a daily brain and body exercise session. 

  • Boost baby's brain power

    Good diet

    Breastfeed if you can, as the long-chain polyunsaturated fat DHA found in breastmilk helps little brains grow and develop. Some infant formulas also contain DHA, which is marked on formula milks as LCPs.

    'Older, weaned babies need a healthy, balanced diet for brain development,' says Bridget Aisbitt from the British Nutrition Foundation. 'This should contain protein like chicken, diry, lentils or eggs.'

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  • Boost baby's brain power

    Have a rest

    Babies benefit from a variety of forms of mental stimulation, but just like adults, sometimes they need a break.

    Make sure your baby has a regular pattern of naps and sleep times, as it is during sleep that her brain processes what she has learned.

    Then she'll wake up full of beans and ready to take in the next bout of stimulation.

Last updated on 6 February 2008

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