Your baby’s brain reaches half it’s adult size within just three months of birth, a new study has found
Finally – it's been revealed how a baby’s brain actually grows. In a study, conducted by the University of California, researchers looked at which areas of the brain develop fastest. The scientists used an advanced technique to scan the brains of 87 healthy babies, monitoring them from birth to three months.
READ: YOUR BABY'S DEVELOPMENT FIRST – FROM NEWBORN TO THREE MONTHS
The scientists noticed the most changes immediately after birth. Newborn babies brains grew at around 1% a day – a rate that slowed to 0.4% after three months.
The parts of the brain to do with movement developed quickest and those linked to memory grew slowest. But overall, it was found that baby boys brains grew faster than baby girls.
READ: 7 SURPRISING THINGS THAT WILL MAKE YOUR BABY HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER
The study also included babies born early, showing that their brains were 4% smaller than the brains of babies born on or around their due date. And while the brains of babies who arrived early grew faster, their brains were still found to be 2% smaller after three months.
It’s thought that this information could help experts pick up on early signs of developmental disorders, such as autism.
‘This is the first time anyone has published accurate data about how babies' brains grow that is not based on post-mortem studies or less effective scanning methods,’ says Dr Martin Ward Platt, a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Victoria Infirmary. ‘The study should provide us with useful information as this is an important time in development.
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‘We know, for example, if there are difficulties around the time of birth, a baby's growth can fall away in the first few months.’
The scientists are now continuing their research to look at whether a mum-to-be’s alcohol and drug use pregnancy alters the size of her baby’s brain.
What did you find most surprising about your newborn’s development? Let us know in the comments box below.