Brain Development - Infants and Babies (Birth-12 Months)


Brain development shows a child’s increasing ability to understand his or her environment. As children grow and develop, they will learn many new things and begin to solve problems in their daily life.

For infants and babies, the following skills will typically be developing:

1. Infants use their sense of sight to explore their environment, and they like to gaze at faces of caregivers and familiar objects. 

2. Infants use their bodies to make things happen, like waving arms or legs to move a mobile or dropping a cup from their hands. 

3. Infants learn to recognize familiar people and may look for you if you leave the room.

4. Infants start using all their senses to explore their surroundings and learn where favorite toys are kept.

5. Infants begin to understand the use of familiar toys like shape sorters and stacking blocks.

6. Infants start to explore how different objects feel, like the texture of carpet or a stuffed animal, or the silky edge of their favorite blanket. 

What can you do at home to help your baby develop these skills?

1. Spend time holding your baby and looking into his or her eyes, talking softly in a pleasant tone.

2. Help your baby see the connection between his actions and what is happening. Keep your patience and sense of humor when dropping toys becomes a game. 

3. Tell your baby goodbye when you are dropping her off at childcare or with a babysitter. Let her know you will be back.

4. Provide age-appropriate toys, such as teething rings and toys, cloth books, and soft blocks for your baby to mouth, wave and explore. 

5. Be patient when your baby wants to play the same game over and over, like building a block tower and knocking it down; this is how he or she learns how the world works. 

6. Help your baby feel different textures at home and connect the words with the sensations: smooth, soft, rough and scratchy.

Breastfeeding from the time a baby is born also helps brain development. For more information, look under breastfeeding. For breastfeeding support, you can call The Tennessee Breastfeeding Hotline, which is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The toll- free number is 1-855-4BF-MOMS (1-855-423-6667). The hotline is staffed by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants and Certified Lactation Counselors who can provide up-to-date information and support and to address common questions and concerns about breastfeeding.

Here are 2 videos that illustrates the importance of social interaction on early brain development:


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