“A baby is born with a need to be loved – and never grows out of it.
~Frank A. Clark
Today I am delighted to introduce you to my good friend Deborah McNelis. Deborah is the creator/owner of braininsights, a presenter, and a brain development specialist. Her training comes from her degrees in Early Childhood Education and Adult Education and her experiences as a preschool and kindergarten teacher, an instructor for a Early Childhood Associate degree programme, a brain development specialist, and coordinating a family literacy programme.
Here is Deborah’s wonderful article.
“I am extremely excited to share this research
study with EVERYONE! It is thrilling to me every time we have additional scientific research demonstrating how important love and nurturing is to the brain….. and how important those early months after birth are!
Those of you that know me or follow my work already know the intense passion I have for making early brain development common knowledge. And it continues to baffle me why this is not yet information that every parent, grandparent, educator, medical professional, social worker, community leader, policy maker, business leader, and voter knows! Every adult needs to know the impact the experiences in the early years has on the developing brain. Science has been demonstrating this to us for years. Now economists are revealing how cost beneficial it is for us to know this—and to do something about it!
The primary focus of the awareness I want to create is the understanding of the dramatic and impactful difference loving a baby makes on the physical development of the brain. This research clearly shows the powerful influence that results from positive, and responsive early care giving experiences.
“The new study represents the first, direct human evidence that fetuses exposed to elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol may have trouble paying attention or solving problems later on. But what may be more intriguing is the study’s second finding – that this negative link disappears almost entirely if the mother forges a secure connection with her baby.”
Early interactions set up the basis for expectations, self perception, self regulation, and relationships throughout life. Babies need loving interaction, attuned parents, and touch as much they need nutrition.
We can no longer let this information be ignored. This latest research ignites my desires to share all of this even more deeply (if that is possible!). My dream is to have the parent of every newborn learn how to easily provide the consistent care taking and loving interaction their baby NEEDS!
The response to the Love Your Baby brain development packet is wonderful! Below are a few sample interaction tips from the Love Your Baby packet which include brain development information. These are all provided from the baby’s perspective:
LOVING ME CALMS ME
Realize that loving me does NOT spoil me. Show the love you feel for me through all of the interactions we have together.
Taking care of my needs does not “spoil” me. Comforting me when I need you helps me learn to trust that you will take care of my needs. I will be calmer as my brain learns I can expect you to take care of me.
SHOWING YOU THE ATTENTION I NEED
Notice how important your attention is to me. Tune into how I let you know when I need comforting or just a fun connection with you.
Attention and contact with you is what matters most in this stage of brain development. The first 18 months are the most important for the foundation of my emotional development.
WHAT DO I LIKE?
Notice what I like and respond to. Try to tune in to the level of activity I seem to need. If I seem active, do a more playful activity. When I want to be calm, read a story, hold me close, or sing a lullaby to me.
My brain is not developed enough to adjust to different activity levels easily on my own. I really need you to match your behavior to my needs.
This is what babies want ALL adults to know. Do what you can to help create this awareness. … because we ALL benefit when ALL children have well developed brains!
Hopefully you see why I am so excited to share this research. It gives proof of the significant difference we can all make! There is much more to say and share with you on this so for further information you can read, ANNA WANTS THIS FOR EVERY BABY ~ http://braininsights.blogspot.com/2011/01/anna-wants-this-for-every-baby.html
This post shares the experiences and benefits from the baby’s perspective.
©2011 Deborah McNelis
The award winning Brain Development Series developed by Deborah McNelis owner of braininsights® includes packets for birth up to age six.
These are also available in Spanish.