Brainy Babies: Is it Genes, Diet, or Playing the Right Baby Games that Tip the Scales?

As parents we all want the very best for our children, so how do we give them a headstart right from conception and in those first important months of life?

Pregnant women are made very aware of the need for extra folic acid in the early stages of pregnancy but what about fats which make up a large proportion of the brain, in particular essential fatty acids?

It is commonly known that breast-fed babies have a slightly higher IQ, so the phrase 'breast is best' still applies for many health reasons. The added intake of fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, along with essential vitamins and minerals, is shown to aid mental development in their babies. At birth your baby's brain is almost 70% the size of an adult brain. The greatest brain growth occurs during infancy and is almost completed by the time your child is 5-6 years old. A closer watch on your (and your child's) diet in these formative years is certainly a determining factor in development.

Omega 3 fatty acids are found in tuna, salmon and mackeral, and for non-fish eaters supplements are readily available. Omega 6's are generally consumed more by the general population, being found in grains, cereals, poultry and eggs. Being aware of your intake, particularly of omega 3's is beneficial to your own heart and brain function as well as that of your unborn or newborn child.

On the other hand poor diet in young children has been linked to allergies, poor concentration, learning and behavioural problems. Intelligence has been shown to only be partially hereditary, it is a combination of heredity and diet. Setting a good example for our children from the very start is imperative. Eating a balanced diet when they are being breast-fed and providing healthy, fresh food and snacks when they become toddlers goes a long way towards having energetic children who are full of vigour. So get out the salmon for dinner and get ready for some stimulating brainy baby games for your little one.

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