Even though your baby’s brain starts developing about 20 days after conception, brain development isn’t finished at birth and will continue throughout childhood into early adulthood. Babies are born with the basic building blocks (neurons) for learning but they need stimulation to further develop synapses. Put simply, synapses are the connections that form between neurons and enables information to travel quickly from one neuron to the other. Imagine these synapses to be like the electrical wiring in a house. At birth a baby’s brain is about 25% wired; at 1 year 75 % wired and at 3 years 90% wired. This process of “wiring” will help the baby’s brain develop both in terms of structure and effectiveness.
Babies need sufficient attention and stimulation for brain development to occur and bonding and talking to your baby are especially important in the first few months after birth. During the first 6 months of a baby’s life changes occur than enables your baby to form connections in their brain more quickly. This seems to happen most quickly with the neurons that are responsible for touch, making nurturing physical contact vitally important.
Pruning of synapses also occur – this is where synapses that aren’t being used any more wither away. For this reason repetition of tasks and information is often necessary before your baby will remember it.