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Infant Care

A strong and secure attachment bond with a primary caregiver strengthens a child's ability to cope with stress, regulates emotions, provides social support and helps the child form nurturing relationships. Poor caregiver-infant interactions compromise the formation of neural circuits and pathways in the brain. A child's behavior is an outward manifestation of inner stability and security. Abuse and neglect can cause physical, emotional and psychological long-term damage. I have worked with abused and neglected children for many years. They do not trust anyone and find it hard to attach to others. They manipulate to get the things they want, in their mind, it is survival. Their belief and understanding of love and compassion is not "normal". They become cutters just to feel "something", to know they are alive. They are numb emotionally from long-term abuse and neglect. It is imperative that we as parents, caregivers, teachers and baby sitters, nurture our young in their critical years, so they can grow up healthy and happy.

Brain Cells

The brain is composed of neurons and glial cells. Neurons, or nerve cells, send and receive information. Gila, or glial cells, nourish and protect the neurons. They are the support system for our neurons.

Beginning in the 2nd month of gestation, an estimated 250,000 immature neurons are produced every minute through cell division called mitosis. At birth, most of the more than 100 billion neurons in a mature brain are already formed but are not yet fully developed. The number of neurons increases most rapidly between the 25th week of gestation and the first few months after birth. This cell proliferation is accompanied by a dramatic growth in cell size.

At first the brain produces many more neurons and synapses than it needs. The large number of excess neurons provided by this early proliferation give the brain flexibility-with more connections available than will ever be needed, many potential paths are open for the growing brain. As early experience shapes the brain, the paths are selected, and unused paths are pruned away. This process involves cell death, which may sound negative but is a way to calibrate the developing brain to the local environment and help it work more efficiently. This process begins during the prenatal period and continues after birth.