Parenting

Count from ONE to SEVEN

Count from ONE to SEVEN 150 150 Pocket Health

THE MOST CRUCIAL YEARS IN A CHILD’S MENTAL DEVELOPMENT

Do you remember your seventh birthday? More likely, your folks made a big deal of it. If not, surely you know a parent now who is clamoring to make her son’s seventh birthday the best and biggest birthday celebration ever.

This isn’t because seven rhymes with heaven, or that it is even a lucky number. There is an old saying that says “Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you a man.” There is much to be said about the old adage.

This is because the first seven years of a child’s life is the most crucial years of his life. While most adults would dismiss a baby, thinking that baby “doesn’t understand the world” yet, the brain development of a child from years 0-7 is perhaps the biggest leap in cognitive growth than any other time in his life.

For children, the first seven years is also particularly tough, filled with emotional ups and downs as they deal with different developmental milestones all at once. By the age of seven, children would have gone through two out of four stages of cognitive development and three out of eight stages of social development.

For cognitive development, they would have gone through Sensorimotor between infancy up to 2 years old where learning comes from sensory perceptions and motor activities. As well as Pre-operational development from ages 2-7 wherein thinking occurs through symbols and language. Memory and imagination are strongly developed during this stage.

In terms of social development, the child would’ve experienced three namely Trust Vs Mistrust wherein he will learn to trust those who care for him, Autonomy vs Doubt wherein a child will venture out and assert their own will, and lastly, Initiative vs Guilt wherein a child develops courage and independence.

The mental and emotional leap on the first seven years should be celebrated indeed because this is when the child will develop important skills he will need later on in life. If you ignore these years, you will never raise the child the way you want to, especially not in the teenage years.

While most parents think they “lose” their kids to puberty and teenage-dom, the truth is, if the first seven years were not well established in a child’s life, they would’ve lost them right there and then.

 

Breastfeeding And Your Baby’s Brain: What Science Says

Breastfeeding And Your Baby’s Brain: What Science Says 150 150 Pocket Health

While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least the first six months to one year of your baby’s life, many still believe that breast is best until two years of age. And with hospital policies on breastfeeding improving, and greater resources and support both online and in real life, mothers are now more emboldened and encouraged to sustain their breastfeeding journeys.

Of course, it isn’t without its challenges. Insufficient maternity leave and postpartum stress and depression contribute to cutting short breastfeeding. But knowing all about the incredible benefits breast milk gives your baby might motivate you to soldier on!

Breast milk is an enigma that scientists are still figuring out, to this day. From its unique composition of vitamins and minerals that varies according to specific needs, to its innate antibacterial properties, your milk seems almost magical. Breastfeeding is also linked to several health benefits for both mother and child, specifically in boosting your baby’s brain development and resistance to diseases.

Here are some proven benefits of breastfeeding and breast milk for your baby’s brain:

Enhanced, visible brain development compared to mixed-fed or formula-fed babies. A study out of Brown University in 2013 uncovered actual proof how breast milk enhances baby’s brain development. The brains of babies who were exclusively breastfed for at least three months showed the fastest development of myelinated white matter, or the substance integral to the speedy communication of the different parts of the brain. MRI images showed that by age 2, exclusively breastfed babies had vastly different development in the areas of the brain related to cognition, emotional response, and motor skills compared to formula-fed babies.

Higher IQ, strong motor skills and memory, and possibly even improved skill in mathematics later in life. Another study in 2016 followed pre-term babies who were given breast milk exclusively for at least the first 28 days of their lives. These premature babies grew to show higher IQs and better motor skills and memory by age 7 than their batchmates who were fed formula.

Stronger academic performance throughout life. British research shows that babies who were breastfed at least six months showed a stronger performance than their formula-fed peers when it came to math, language, and motor skills–consistently from age 5 to age 14, proving the long-term effects of breastfeeding exclusively as long as you are able.

 

Of course, breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally or easy for every mom. At the end of the day, despite all these clear benefits, it’s ultimately a mother’s choice based on her capacity. It doesn’t make you less of a mom if you don’t pursue a long breastfeeding journey–but these scientific facts are sure to inspire you to at least try!