Routines and How They Help Shape Your Baby’s Brain

Everyday routines are crucial to help a baby sort out the chaotic information that is coming into his brain, so when your baby gets a routine that happens over and over again it becomes familiar and helps to reinforce those relationships.

When babies’ cries are responded to quickly and their needs are met, they get used to having their stress and emotions regulated for them. There is a biological response that is triggered by fear, anxiety, or hunger, for example. The body instinctively released a chemical called cortisol that increases the heart rate and blood pressure so that it is ready to deal with difficult situations.

At the same time as increasing the heart rate cortisol shuts down functions that are not needed in a crisis. This is good in small doses to get you out of danger but if the brain gets exposed to too much cortisol over an extended period it can cause stress. In other words when a baby’s cries are responded to quickly the brain function can return to normal and parts that were temporarily out of action can start working again.

How they are responded to at these times shape the developing brain. Programming the way they will interpret and respond to stress in the future. At this stage the adults are vital to the baby for regulating his emotions. Slowly, as the brain develops, your baby will be able to use this experience as a model to start regulating his own emotions.

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