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It is said that human brain develops the most till the age of five. When my son was born the doctor suggested that even though I have a new born at hand I must understand that he is like a sponge, absorbing every little thing that he sees around him and he is forming his own ideas and impressions. His brain is developing every day and the pace is very high at this stage...
So my doc gave me very valuable advice which I follow till date even though my new born is now almost 3 years old. He had said since the human brain is developing maximum at this stage what is crucial for a baby is stimulation of his senses which activates neurons in the brain. I was told to follow the following five things:
Call the baby by his or her name(which is why the baby must be named as early as possible)
Play soothing music to the baby
Keep changing the position of how your baby sleeps
Flex the joints after a bath and gentle massage
Talk to your baby as much as possible while making eye contact.
Following these points as my basic guideline I still pay a lot of attention to stimulation. So I have modified the above list to suit a toddler. Among the things I follow is taking my son, Kabir to the supermarket once in a while. Its great stimulation for the brain since they see so many things of all shapes and colours, lots of unfamiliar people, the chatter, the way people queue up to pay up. All this adds up to experience and exposure which is anyway a lifelong process but it’s crucial at this age when the child is most impressionable.
So as much as we like to leave our babies behind while we go shopping or socializing, we sometimes deprive them of seeing, feeling, smelling, touching different things and experiencing different environments. I feel many mothers underestimate the importance of this as a result of which the child is mostly confined to the same environs, she experiences the same colours, textures, smells day in and day out adding no value to the process of stimulation.
However a word of caution here is that babies are sometimes discouraged from being taken to public places or crowded areas where there is a possibility of contracting an infection. So certain amount of prudence and precaution is necessary. Hygiene of the place of course is of paramount importance. Mostly mothers instinctively know where her baby is safe and where she is not. But again I have seen parents perhaps in their desperation to get out of the house take New-borns in their little bundles to movie theatres where the decibel level is so high that it even hurts ears of a grown-up let alone a new born.
So by all means we must take our babies but there must be no pushing of the limits. The larger idea is to give them healthy stimulation for the brain not unnecessarily expose them to adult situations.