The Baby Book by William Sears, M.D., and Martha Sears, RN.

Published by Little, Brown and Company 2003 revised edition.

Review by Anne Greetham. CEIM Anne is now based in Singapore.

The part of the infant’s development which I found particularly interesting was all about the infant’s brain and the enormous amount of development it undergoes during the first few years of life. Indeed it develops so much that unlike any other of our organs it has achieved approximately 60% of its adult size in the first 12 months of life.

 

One can note that a baby’s head appears very large compared to the rest of its body at birth, this is because most of the brain is already there and so it does appear to be disproportionate. This brain matter however needs a great deal of work doing to it to ensure that all the neurons are connecting and the right information is being processed by the baby.

 

During the infants development the brain multiplies its neuron connections, the more of these it does the brighter the child, it also covers the neurons in myelin and it is this covering which enables the messages to pass quickly between neurons and furthermore it also insulates the nerves.

 

An enormous amount of this development has taken place in utero but there are numerous things that can help the development immediately post birth and it is these which will support our work as infant massage Instructors.

 

c) How we talk to our infant has a profound affect on their development, therefore as instructors we possess a tremendous opportunity to emphasis this when taking our courses.  We can show the carer that the baby starts to respond when we take time to talk and indeed to listen to the young one. This respectful contact not only enhances the baby’s ability to learn, it also helps them to feel nurtured.  This sensitive communication helps the infant to trust and develop emotionally. Too often infant carers are extremely busy and unaware of the value to take the time to actually talk and listen to their child.  As a CIMI we can show them that this time spent talking and listening to the baby whilst massaging will benefit the infant’s brain also.

 

The infant’s brain will also develop faster through the art of touch. It has been shown that a baby will respond better if carried and shown its environment rather than being left to fuss in a boring cot. In the same way we can stimulate the infant’s body by touch making them aware of the different parts of their bodies. We can also help the baby to better reach the quiet alert state which enables the greatest amount of learning to take place and hence promote their brains development.

 

Studies have also shown that touch promotes the growth of myelin and so enables the infant to pass nerve impulses faster. The massaged infant may therefore develop neurologically faster than the infant touch deprived.

By Anne Greetham. C.I.M.I. Anne is now based in Singapore.