We are finally getting the research evidence for what I have been saying for a long time – babies are complex, incredibly intelligent, adaptable and ready to learn even before birth.
For all babies’ learning begins in the womb and as they learn and explore – even their fingerprints are created by rubbing their fingers on the mother’s stomach wall, they continue learning and exploring as soon as they are outside of the womb. Babies have been hearing everything from inside the womb and then once outside continue this learning path – there is just more to learn from outside.
When I was training 30 years ago, we were taught babies were born and then in 1 to 2-months’ time they became more alert and start learning. We were told that babies wouldn’t smile on purpose until 6 weeks of age – before that it was wind! This is clearly wrong information – babies can smile in-utero and I have seen babies smiling at people from very early days. Siblings who have high pitched voices and get right into the babies faces seem particularly rewarded with a smile!
Inside the womb babies have been hearing, seeing, swallowing and responding to their environment, outside the womb the environment has got bigger with much more intense sensory experiences such as sounds, lights, temperature changes, touch of clothes and being held. They still need to see, listen, swallow and respond to their environment and integrate all of these skills together.
These cute little babies are not just sleeping, eating and pooping, they are working hard to integrate and store all this new knowledge and experience in a way that makes sense and will be a foundation for their development.
Making the most of this time is especially beneficial for babies, to ensure they do not get overwhelmed and shut down and switch off from the day to day learning opportunities.
Tell me your experiences. What anecdotes do you have that supports this new way of thinking or do you have different experiences? Feel free to voice them here.