The magic that happens when you gaze at your baby
What happens when you and your baby look at each other is beyond amazing!
You’ve been waiting for this moment a whole nine months… probably even longer.
That first moment when you make eye contact with baby, that precious, precious moment when you and your baby gaze into each others eyes for what seems like eternity…
In that moment, you see your little one’s eyes widen slightly as he focuses on your face. He calms down, he might even smile. You cannot tear your eyes away from his darling little face as you soak in every perfect little detail.
That first gaze between mummy and baby is undoubtedly special, because in that moment, it’s almost like something magical is happening – that you know each other and you have known each other forever.
Many more moments such as this will follow. You look deep into each others eyes and it’s like you know what your baby needs, even though he cannot yet talk.
It’s almost like you can read his mind.
Mums, you know what? You can read your baby’ mind.
When you make eye contact with baby, amazingly, your brainwaves synchronise!
This remarkable synchronisation of brainwaves was recently discovered in a study conducted by scientists at the University of Cambridge.
Baby, we’re on the same page…
Based on the results of the study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), it’s safe to say that when mummy makes eye contact with baby, their brainwaves fell into perfect alignment.
What’s more, when this happens, baby made more effort to communicate with mum!
Here’s what happened:
Scientists conducted two separate experiments where they studied the brainwaves of 36 babies (17 in the first trial and 19 in the second). The little ones wore skulls caps which measured brain electrical activity and signals – a process known as electroencephalography.
In the first round, little ones watched a recorded video of an adult singing a nursery rhyme. The adult maintained eye contact with the baby for some time, before breaking the gaze.
Towards the end of the video, the adult made eye contact again, but kept her head turned. The adult’s brainwaves had already been recorded.
The second live trial was conducted to see if and how much the baby and adult’s brainwaves synced with each other.
During the eye contact phase of the experiment, babies and adults’ brain waves were more in sync with each other. When the adult turned her head away but still kept eye contact, babies tried to ‘communicate’ and match their brainwaves to the adult’s!
The baby’s attempts at communication were measured by the number of vocalisations they made during the trial.
Dr Victoria Leong, lead author on the study said:
“When the adult and infant are looking at each other, they are signalling their availability and intention to communicate with each other.
“We found that both adult and infant brains respond to a gaze signal by becoming more in sync with their partner.
“This mechanism could prepare parents and babies to communicate, by synchronising when to speak and when to listen, which would also make learning more effective.”
What does this mean for you and your baby?
The findings of this study show that babies are remarkable observant and very clever at picking up even the tiniest non-verbal cues that are important to their development.
Mums, what this means is that you can use even the simplest things in day-t0-day life – such as gazing at your baby – to enhance and nurture his learning process.
The mum and baby bond has always been special and this latest discovery just goes to show exactly how incredible it really is.
So go on, gaze at your little one right now, knowing that your hearts and minds are connecting as one!
Featured image credit: Screengrab – ScienceDaily/ The University of Cambridge