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Baby Science - Why having a sensory rich environment is so important for your baby and why you don’t need to buy any toys to do this

8 Oct 2019

Baby Science – Why having a sensory rich environment is so important for your baby and why you don’t need to buy any toys to do this

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Studies have shown that early touch experiences determine the extent of possible tactile sensitivity for life although we continue to fine-tune our ability to perceive different sensations through the body throughout life.

Touch-based experiences in early in life determine the extent of touch sensitivity for later in life. In an experiment with rats who were raised in a highly enriched environment, they developed a thicker cerebral cortex (the area of the brain responsible for higher thoughts) and were cleverer than rats raised in a laboratory.  When the rats in the enriched environment were given new toys they would exhibit excitable behaviour and there was more activity in their brains, If the toys were left and not replaced with new ones, the rats became bored of them and there was less brain activity. When they were replaced with new ones at least twice a week, the brain activity increased again. This study suggests that the more sensory-rich experiences babies receive the more activity will be stimulated in the brain potentially creating smarter babies.

So what does that mean in terms of parenting? Most of us can’t afford to provide babies with new toys every two weeks! The good news is that toys are not the only way to provide stimulation and many babies around the world never even have toys! The key is stimulating and sensory experiences. Touch, massage and yoga can provide these in a very simple and inexpensive way. Simple games, songs, interactive play using your face, body and voice can stimulate and delight your baby. Touch is very important and studies on animals who received tactile stimulation with grooming and storing shown extra activities in their brains and better psychology performance. Nurturing touch is an unlimited source of relaxation, stimulation, connection and love. You don’t need to invest in expensive toys when anything that increases a baby’s exposure to touch stimulation is likely to support their development.

A daily massage provides oxytocin to communicate love, deepen bonding and give your baby the sensory reach stimulation to support the development of his/her brain.

Much love

Gayle

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