Read an Excerpt
If you're like most parents, you've undoubtedly wondered at one point or another whether your baby's development is "normal." You've asked yourself questions like, Shouldn't she be talking by now? When will he roll over? Why isn't she progressing as quickly as her older brother did? Sure, there are plenty of lists available that tell when your baby should be walking and talking, but very little has been written about how parents and caregivers can play an important part in helping babies reach these critical milestones.
Of course, you can talk to your pediatrician about your concerns-and we encourage you to do so-but these visits are frequently not conducive to getting all the answers you need. At your 10-15-minute appointment, nurses and doctors often work in tag-team fashion to get patients in and out on time, leaving very little leeway for in-depth discussions. So, where can you turn to find out what you really want to know?
Getting this information is not just a matter of calming your fears-although that certainly helps. It really goes beyond determining whether your baby's development is on track. In fact, not educating yourself about these crucial developmental milestones could affect your child's entire future! You see, first-year developments must be met before any more progress and learning is possible in later years. These developments are the building blocks for life! And any problems relating to development must be addressed while the brain is still young and malleable in order for early intervention to be optimally effective.
The fact is that the first year of life is an extremely vital period of time that lays the foundation forwhether your little one will be able to walk, talk, smile, dress herself, draw a picture . . . even get into college! It is an astonishing year that demands great respect from sleep-deprived parents like yourself.
Baby development is not simply a list of "to-dos" or "have dones" to check off. It is a long-term building event, with each day being important in how your baby develops the next day, and each event being important in how your baby develops for the next event. Nourishing food, comfort, face-to-face interaction, tummy time, music, and even the lilt of your voice are all brain developers. It is not a random happening when a milestone is reached. Just like an athlete has to practice his sport in a certain order to build up to the main event, so do infants have to take "baby steps" toward optimal brain development, which is created and driven by experiences with Mommy, Daddy, and caregivers. You and others close to baby play a critical role in your baby's life because milestones need personal experiences to be reached.
Of course, we all want the best for our baby. We want him to be "normal." But, beyond that, we want him to reach his full potential. We want to know how we can help that incredibly complex little brain make all the right connections for a full and fruitful life. This book will show you how to do just that. Each chapter of Boosting Your Baby's Brain Power features one of baby's key areas of development-such as vision, hearing, language, motor skills, and temperament-and shows you how you can help your baby's brain to grow so that he will excel in these areas. Here's a sampling of what you'll find in this book:
Chapter 1: Baby's Got Brains: Jumping Through Vital "Windows of Opportunity"
This chapter provides an overview of your baby's phenomenal brain, which was born with more than 100 billion neurons that, if laid end to end, would stretch for 62,000 miles! But, the majority of the connections between neurons must be established within the first eight months of life so that the foundations for lifelong learning are set in place. Parents are not helpless players in this complicated process. They are vital players, by creating an optimal environment for brain growth in the womb, as well as early, positive and rich experiences during critical "windows of opportunity" after birth. Without these personal experiences and interactions, your baby would not be able to do much more than when first born.
Chapter 2: Attachment and Baby Brains: Spoiled Rotten Is a Good Thing