Before your toddler’s third birthday, his brain growth shifts into another phase, as the brain areas in charge of more complex thinking and decision-making are growing most rapidly. At this age, your child is beginning to use his memories and experiences to make sense of the present. He has a better understanding of the relationship between cause and effect and right and wrong. He starts to see how his actions affect other people and their feelings.

Between your child’s first and second birthdays he will begin to use more words. This is the time that language centers in his brain grow stronger. The result is that your child’s vocabulary grows quickly as he approaches his twos.

The paths connecting his brain and nervous system are also growing stronger. He will be able to do harder tasks, and understand more complex ideas. This is also the time when he will become more aware or himself, and of his own emotions and goals.

During the first year of a child’s life, his brain will double in size. Much of this growth occurs in a part of the brain called the cerebellum, which is in charge of physical development and motor skills. This development helps babies learn to control their bodies and movement. They learn to hold up their heads, to roll over, grasp objects, and even to stand up. Meanwhile, the visual cortex, the part of the brain that helps us see, changes rapidly, and your baby starts to recognize faces.

Have you or any of your family members, friends or colleagues ever had a heart attack or been diagnosed with heart disease, hypertension or diabetes? Do you or do you know someone that suffers from high blood pressure, obesity, depression or addiction? If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is a possibility that you or someone you know endured traumatic experiences as a child that may have predetermined or caused these unfortunate circumstances to occur.

"The decision to breast feed is not a lifestyle choice but rather a basic and critical health decision regarding infant welfare." The AAP will publish the policy statement, “Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk” in the March 2012 Pediatrics. The policy is a revision of the Academy’s 2005 policy statement on the same topic.


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