Cognitive development in newborns

Cognition is the ability to think, learn, and remember. Your baby is born with 100 billion brain cells (neurons). To function at their full potential, these cells must form connections (synapses) with each other. These connections carry messages between the cells in the brain and from the brain to the body. During a baby’s first month, the body makes more connections and improves how the cells are able to work together.

You can help boost your baby's brain growth by providing a loving, comforting, and stimulating environment. Your baby learns from every interaction. For example, when you respond to cries of hunger by offering food and comfort, your baby learns to trust and depend on you. The majority of synapses are made during childhood and serve as the basis for lifetime learning.

Last Updated: March 19, 2009

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Kimberly Dow, MD, FRCPC - Neonatology

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