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Hertfordshire County Council

My baby's brain

Giving your baby the best possible start to life.

The building blocks for a healthy brain

  • These tips will help your baby's brain develop and evolve.
  • By doing these things, your baby will feel happier in itself.
  • It gives your baby the best start before they begin school.

Watch our video to find out more

How a baby's brain works

  • In the first year your baby's brain will double in size.
  • There are about 100 million cells in the brain when they're born.
  • In the first 3 years your babys brain is growing as fast as it ever will.



  • Crying is the only noise a baby knows how to make. Try different things like playing or cuddling to see if it helps them.
  • When your baby has your full attention, its brain is working at its best. Copy their facial expressions or make sounds to see how your baby reacts.
  • As your baby gets older let them try and discover things themselves. If they're pointing at an object, let them play with it (if it's safe)..

Find out more about responding to your baby



  • Use different types of touch. Massaging or finger games ('Round and round the garden') to stimulate your baby.
  • Try circular rubbing on the stomach if your baby has wind or constipation.
  • Cuddling is good for your baby but, as they get older, they may want to be left alone. This is the start of independence.

Find out more about cuddling your baby



  • Try ending play sessions with a wind down. Spend a few minutes of calm with your baby so they can relax.
  • Spend time 1 to 1 in a calm environment and enjoy each other's company.
  • Take the time out to relax yourself. Making sure you aren't stressed is just as important as your baby being relaxed.

Find out more about relaxing with your baby



  • Join in with your child's games. If you do what they choose, it shows they're important.
  • Playing with your child is best if you're on their level. Try being creative with blocks or models to stimulate their brain.
  • Let your child use their imagination, invent their own games and explore ideas. You can help by role-playing with them as they get older.

Find out more about playing with your baby



  • Your baby knows your voice before they're even born. Everything you tell them will help their speech development. Reading them poems and stories can really help too.
  • Copy your baby's sounds to help them learn new ones. Before you know it they'll be using words and sentences.
  • Keep your stronger tone for when you're warning them of something bad. This lets them know it's dangerous or wrong.

Find out more about talking to your baby

Children's centres - Supporting you and your baby

  • Classes and activities to help you bond with your baby.
  • Working with local health professionals to get you the support you need.
  • A great way for your baby to begin socialising.

My baby's brain resources

  • Read our helpful guide to find out more about your baby's brain.
  • Go on a 1 day course for professionals.
  • Find out how you can help your baby's brain as it grows.

View all helpful resources