Baby brain and eye development is one of the top concerns of parents. From the beginning, they closely track how these two organs are progressing. They bring up any seeming red flag at the soonest possible time with the pediatrician, even as they also spend hours on the Internet doing their personal research.
You can’t fault parents for obsessing over their children’s development. Problems do occur, and many of them could be reversed or remedied if caught early, hence the importance of early intervention programs. Besides being on the lookout for warning signs, they also work on maximizing development to ensure that their children are suitably prepared to take on life and its many challenges.
The three key factors that affect your baby’s brain and eye development are nutrition, interaction, and play. The brain and eyes are actually critically dependent on nutrition. The nutrients that are most associated with their development are lutein and DHA.
The best food for brain growth has lutein. It is abundant in leafy greens and is also found in eggs and in some fruits. Studies have found that lutein is a particularly important nutrient for eye health since it helps protects vital cells in it.
It has also been discovered that lutein is present both in the eye and in the infant brain. It is found in the area of the brain that is associated with learning and memory. This is why pediatricians and nutrition experts stress the importance of lutein when it comes to promoting brain development in children.
The brain is composed of about 30 percent DHA, while 50 percent of the eye’s retinal structure is approximately made of it as well. DHA intake increases both cognitive function and visual acuity in children.
Studies have also revealed that babies who suffered from congenital neurological problems had less DHA and other fatty acids, but more trans-fat in their brains.
Brain nourishment starts in the womb. Expecting moms should ensure that they get plenty of lutein and DHA both for themselves and their babies. Upon birth, infants get their share of these nutrients from their mothers’ milk or from formula fortified with them. Breastfeeding moms should ensure that their breast milk has sufficient amounts of lutein and DHA by continuing to consume foods that are rich in them.
Play and Interaction
Besides feeding your baby the right nutrients, playing together and other forms of interaction also encourage brain and eye development. You don’t need to invest in expensive toys, DVDs, and baby classes. On that note, it’s important to remember that children under two years of age are discouraged from having any screen time.
Simple things like placing babies in front of the mirror, letting them track objects on a mobile, and playing peek-a-boo are sufficient. As a matter of fact, simple games, songs, and stories can already do a lot in strengthening creativity, imagination, and empathy in children, which are important factors in providing a strong foundation for lifelong learning.
The following are some everyday opportunities for interaction and creative play that your babies and toddlers benefit from.
Talking to babies provides wonderful stimulation to their brains and eyes besides, of course, exposing them to language. Let them see the way you move your lips and form your mouth to form words.
Experts discourage the use of baby talk, but encourage the high-pitched, singsong quality that people naturally resort to when talking to babies. Basically, you should use grown-up words even as you describe in a lively manner everything that you do.
You can read anything from Shakespeare to the newspaper; the important thing is that babies hear and see you speak. Children’s books would be more appropriate, but while they’re infants, the subject doesn’t really matter yet.
When they can start holding books and flipping through pages, it would be best to get them more age-suitable books in materials that can stand inquisitive hands, drool, and bites, such as board, plastic, or cloth.
Babies learn a lot from touching and holding. They discover texture, sound, and the use of their fingers from objects that they’re allowed to play with. Give them different things that they can experiment movement with and watch them reinforce what they see with tactile exploration.
Healthy Eyes and Brain
You have to start as early as possible with children’s health. You can rest assured that you’re giving them what they need to thrive and develop by feeding them the right nutrients and spending quality time with them.