Learning starts in the womb: How to encourage your little one’s early learning
It's absolutely incredible to discover just how much learning your little one does while in your womb! Find out more by reading this article...
One of the things you may talk about and read up on even during pregnancy is your developing child’s learning. There are so many ways to encourage learning in your little one right from the start.
Right from the early weeks of pregnancy, your developing baby is not only growing physically at an incredible rate, but has in fact, started many learning processes.
From brain development to complex senses such as touch and hearing, these reflect 360° Development in Cognitive, Motor, Emotional and Communications skills.
Cognitive skills: Memories start in the womb
What’s happening: Isn’t it quite incredible that your child’s brain starts to develop when you are just five weeks pregnant1? It continues to grow throughout your pregnancy, forming complex parts that take on specific roles such as interpreting sounds and storing memories2.
In fact, researchers have found that the fetal brain is capable of laying down short-term memories and perhaps even some long-term memories too3. Studies have also discovered that the developing fetus is able to learn the particular speech sounds of his mother’s language4.
What you can do: Read to your developing baby to help boost his literacy skills and cognitive development.
Physical skills: Your active child
What’s happening: Your developing baby is able to detect and respond to sounds outside the womb by waving his arms, kicking his legs and moving around. And you can watch all this activity with amazement and love when you go for your three-month scan.
As fascinating as it is to see and know that your developing baby is actively moving about in your womb, each kick and movement has a very important purpose. They all help strengthen his overall motor function2.
What you can do: Musical stimulation allows you to interact with your developing baby through movement and helps establish future physical and social development. Medical experts say that developing babies even breathe in time to music they enjoy while in the womb5!
So, remember to play plenty of tunes to your developing child and even sing to him while you are pregnant to either get him dancing, or to calm him down.
Language skills: Say “hello baby”!
What’s happening: Between weeks 6 to 14, the basic organs and structures needed for communication, such as the ears and mouth, are being formed1,2. As your little one’s hearing develops, he is able to perceive sounds. This is why you will feel your developing baby startle and move around when exposed to a loud noise, even in-utero.
What you can do: Talk to your developing baby whenever possible to encourage early language formation. Even though the communication is just one way, rest assured that everything you say to him is still helping him to develop.
What’s more, talking to your child enables him to recognize your voice, and this creates a sense of comfort and familiarity2.
Social skills: The wonder of touch
What’s happening: Touch is the first sense to develop. Early in your pregnancy, your little one will explore the uterine wall and umbilical cord. In fact, he will spend a lot of time touching his own face.
As early as the ninth week, your developing baby will respond to the sensation of touch on his lips or areas around the mouth, which then extends to the rest of his body6. All this establishes the first connection between the both of you.
What you can do: Stroke or pat your belly to help stimulate your little one’s physical and social development. It’s certainly an amazing feeling to feel your developing child responding to your touch, whether it be through an increase in or calming down of movement.
One way to keep both yourself and your developing baby healthy during pregnancy is to take a nutritious diet.
What role does nutrition play?
As a pregnant mom, you have increased nutritional needs to keep yourself healthy and to support your developing baby’s growth.
What’s more, good nutrition provides key nutrients such as DHA, Choline and Folic Acid that are essential to your overall health. It also helps support your developing baby’s well-rounded development in the womb through the food you consume.
Pregnant and lactating moms have increased nutritional needs to support both themselves and their babies during these crucial periods.
With over 100 years of experience in paediatric nutrition, Mead Johnson Nutrition has designed Enfamama A+ with 360º DHA PLUS, a high quality milk supplement specially formulated for pregnant and lactating moms.
Enfamama A+ 360° DHA PLUS is a unique blend of nutrients that contains:
- Increased levels of DHA & Choline*. DHA and Choline are found in breastmilk.
- Essential nutrients: Folic acid, Iron, Zinc, Iodine and Vitamin B6 which are important for your developing baby
- Folate helps to maintain the growth and development of the foetus.
- Iron needs rise tremendously during pregnancy. Iron for formation of red blood cells, which carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
- Calcium supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
Now, Enfamama A+ is also added with prebiotic (inulin) which helps increase intestinal bifidobacteria and maintain a good intestinal environment.
*Compared to previous formulation
- S. National Library of Medicine. 2015. Fetal development. Available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002398.htm. Date accessed: 5 July 2015
- Bloom, F., Beal, M. & Kupfer, D. 2006.The Dana Guide to Brain Health: A Practical Family Reference from Medical Experts. USA: Dana Press.
- Springen, K. 2000. Fetal Recall? – Memory in Utero. Available at http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/recall-in-utero. Date accessed: 5 July 2015
- Pacific Lutheran University. 2012. Available at https://www.plu.edu/marcom/news/2012/12/01/language-learning-begins-in-utero-new-study-finds. Date accessed: 5 July 2015
- 2015. Available at http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/in-the-womb?page=3. Date accessed: 5 July 2015
- Eliot, L. 1999.What’s Going On In There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. New York: Bantam Books. pp. 125
Mums-to-be, how do you encourage your developing baby’s learning? Do let us know by leaving a comment below.