The developing brain, which is within the cerebral cortex in the cerebrum. It is divided into five lobes. The innermost of these is the limbic lobe, which is responsible for our emotions, sensations and feelings. The limbic system is a complex set of structures that lies on both sides of the thalamus, just under the cerebrum. It includes the hypothalamus, the hippocampus, the amygdala, and several other nearby areas. It is primarily responsible for our emotional life, and has a lot to do with the formation of memories. The limbic system registers all of our sensations and feelings. During fetal development and as an infant grows the limbic system and cortex continue to add connections based on what is happening with and around the baby. While we may not have specific memories of this time the echos of these sensations lives in the body throughout the rest of our lives, whether we realize it or not.
We come into this world wide-open to receiving love. When we do receive it, as our first experience and our limbic system is programmed with a sense of well being. Being held in our mothers loving arms and feeding from her breast provides us with a natural sense of bliss and security; it sets the world as the right place for us to be.
Neuroscientists have discovered the timetable for development of the entire nervous system. For example, studies show that the sense of taste begins functioning around fourteen weeks after conception, and the sense of hearing around twenty weeks. Researchers found that after only eight weeks of gestation, stroking the baby's cheeks, in the womb, with a fine hair, produced consistent reactions indicating that the sense of touch had already been established. During gestation, all the structures are set in place that will enable the newborn t o use the sense of smell as well as any adult. A host of scientific discoveries provides formal verification of what many parents and grandparents have known all along; newborns are real persons.
Parental enthusiasm about newborn abilities used to be dismissed as vanity, bias, or hallucination. Now science finally agrees that infants are social beings who can form close relationships, express themselves forcefully, exhibit preferences, and began influencing people from the start. They are capable of integrating complex information from many sources and, with a little help from their parents, begin regulating themselves and their environment. Babies have a preference for stories, rhymes and poems first
heard in the womb. When the mother reads out loud, the sound is received by her baby. After the 6th month gestation the baby can move in rhythm to the mothers speech.
Music is considered a pre-linguistic language. The elements of music such as pitch, timbre,
intensity and rhythm are also elements used in speaking a language. music prepares the ear, body and brain to listen to, integrate and produce language sounds. Music is nourishing
and stimulating to the whole human being and affects body, emotions, intellect . Babies who hear singing and music in the womb will react to it once they are born. Fathers can connect with their baby in the womb with singing.
How does your baby want to be born?
During pregnancy, your baby has been kept warm, cozy and protected in your womb. She has received food and oxygen via the placenta without having to make any effort herself. She has been gently rocked as you walk and dance. Sometimes she feels the same stress that you do when stress hormones circulate through your shared blood. But in general she has been very content.
Along with the work of the mother during labour the baby is also an active participant in the birth process. The baby must shift into the proper position, navigate through the pelvic inlet and outlet and pass through the birth canal to take her first breath. When baby is allowed to choose her own birth-day, when she is able to navigate the birth canal at her own pace and when she is gently supported out and onto her mothers chest, her
transition to the outside world can gentle and calm. When she is welcomed into a world which seems safe, and one where she can continue to bond with her mother, she will be able to meet the challenges that come next.
Professionals once believed that babies probably didn't experience pain, and if they did, they wouldn't remember it. This is what parents were taught. We now know this is not true. Research now shows that not only do babies feel pain but they feel it even more intensely than adults. Babies may not be able to talk about their emotions but they can show us when they experience physical pain, are lonely, insecure and uncertain about the unknown. Babies are incredibly instinctual and want to feel and be safe, babies want to be near to their mother. They may cry or fuss or they may show signs of withdrawal in order to cope with fear and pain.
Parents can learn how to recognize their babies cues in order to best help them feel safe and make sense of this big world. They can learn how to respond to babies needs and how to support their development. By learning how to communicate with their baby parents will build skills that will last throughout their lives.