Your face is your baby’s favorite thing to look at ❤️ By 7 weeks, most babies perceive and prefer the face of their closest caregiver. Your baby’s hippocampus, which is the part of the brain involved in storing memories, will start a growth spurt in the next few weeks. Once that happens, they’ll remember even more faces and experiences.
4 more ways you can see your baby’s brain at work
1. They’re experimenting with movement
Located in the back of your baby’s brain, the cerebellum more than doubles in size during the first 90 days. The cerebellum is important for many reasons, but its biggest role is in motor control, balance, and movement.
2. They’re beginning to follow objects with their eyes
Tracking moving objects is hard work for a baby, but it’s an important part of their visual and neurological development. Help your baby strengthen the connection between their optical nerves and their occipital lobe by letting them track your face. Sit with your knees up on the floor or a bed and put your baby on your thighs, so that they are nestled where your legs press together. Then, slowly lean your head to one side and then to the other to see if your baby follows along to keep your face in focus. They can’t focus very far, so keep your face within 12 inches of theirs.
3. They’re trying to hear you
In their first weeks, your baby would turn their head reflexively when lying on their back or when hungry. As their motor skills and auditory system develop, they are starting to turn their head on purpose—especially to hear the sound of your voice. Try watching your baby to see what they do when they hear voices. As their memory improves, they’ll start doing this even more and more with other types of sounds.
4. They may begin to build and express anticipation
You may see your baby become noticeably more quiet or more active when you come near or lift their bottle to feed them. Anticipating your actions is a cognitive ability that typically begins between 1.5 and 4 months.
Over the next few months, your baby may start to kick, coo, or smile with excitement. To help them notice and anticipate patterns in your behavior, try telling them what you’re about to do—“Here I come to pick you up!”—using the same words and tone each time. Following these consistent steps will help build your baby’s neural network, allowing them to predict what happens next.
Learn more about the research
Holland, D., Chang, L., Ernst, T. M., Curran, M., Buchthal, S. D., Alicata, D., … & Dale, A. M. (2014). Structural growth trajectories and rates of change in the first 3 months of infant brain development. JAMA neurology, 71(10), 1266-1274.
Kuhl, P. K. (2004). Early language acquisition: cracking the speech code. Nature reviews neuroscience, 5(11), 831-843.
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