How to keep baby calm and help grow their brain

Breastfeeding and cuddles with mum and partner are a big comfort to little people out in the big world.

Responding to your baby keeps their stress levels low and raises levels of the love hormone oxytocin.  Oxytocin helps calm your baby and makes them feel secure and loved. It's also a fertiliser for the brain, helping your baby's brain to grow.

Breastfed babies cannot be overfed so you can use breastfeeding to soothe your baby and as a way of spending time together, or having a rest whenever you both want.

Keep me calm, grow my brain

Your baby's brain development

The first 1,001 days of your baby’s life, the time between when you get pregnant and your baby’s second birthday, are really important for their brain development. It’s in these days that your baby’s brain develops at the quickest rate it will ever develop.

Scientific research shows that a baby’s brain develops better if they feel safe and secure. Research also shows that unborn babies and young children release a hormone called cortisol when they feel stressed. This hormone can have a negative effect on your baby’s brain development.

It’s possible to encourage feelings of safeness and security while your baby is still inside your womb, as well as after they are born. Singing to your baby, stroking or talking to your bump are all great ways to bond and help them feel loved and safe.

Research by UNICEF found that the right side of a baby’s brain develops best when they enjoy a strong bond with their parents or carers. This brain development is really important as it’s responsible for our emotions and how well we communicate. This development of the right side of your baby’s brain can affect their whole life. It can influence how well they’ll be able to manage their feelings, for example, or how easily they’ll develop positive relationships.

Resources for you

Kent and Medway families can access an online 'Understanding your child' antenatal course.

  • Help you build a loving and close relationship with your baby even before they arrive.
  • Cover everything you need to know about pregnancy, labour and birth and beyond.

Go to ‘In Our Place’ and apply the access code Invicta to register for an account.

Tara and baby Casey, from Canterbury

"Breastfeeding is the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done. I’m so pleased that I found support when I needed it to help me give my baby the best start."

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