Main Takeaway: Your Baby’s Brain Development is Rapid and Based on The Type of Care

This is because every emotion causes bio-chemicals which fuel brain growth and determines the formation of neurotransmitter receptors, hormonal set-points, and the development of actual brain structures. This is happening in the first 18-36 months (especially the first 6-18 months), during which time, critical periods open and close. I post more examples on the Facebook page.

This is why a responsive approach to your baby’s sleep is critical, especially when waking from sleep.

The foundations of the Smart Baby Sleep System are:

*Attachment Science

*Your baby’s developing brain capacities during the first year and a half, and dominant survival instinct

*Brain development=  interpersonal interactions=biochemicals=brain structures

*Emotional states become personality traits

Please enjoy the featured video for a quick explanation of these foundations. This is also aimed to empower you to embrace your parental instinct! It really matters.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below? What do you need help with the most? Thanks for being here!

Click the “Buy Now” button to your right to continue with the next 5 lessons, including:

  • The step-by-step guide to the 3 Pillars of Smart Baby Sleep, which once in place gets you the best sleep biologically possible for your individual baby.
  • How to ensure smooth transitions (e.g., day care, crib) to keep baby feeling safe and secure using “The Nudge”, a neurologically-informed technique, different from anything in those 40 baby sleep books I’ve synthesized.
  • How to tune into your baby and protect them from toxic distress, while improving sleep within their “Comfort Zone”.
  • How to get to the source of each night waking and reduce them, one at a time, as age appropriate.
  • How using a truly gentle approach to sleep can influence your baby’s gene expression for the best!

Or, to see more for free, register to continue on to Lesson 2: Sleep Myths and Essential Mantras to help you establish a mindset for sleep success and peace of mind. And learn:

  • The top three sleep myths that are holding you back from the happiest, healthiest babyhood with your little one.
  • How learning to “self-sooth” really happens, neurologically, and how to tell if and how much your baby can do it. (hint: not at all at first!)

I’m now taking just five clients at a time under my wing for 6 weeks as part of my “Smart Baby Sleep Premium Support” small group offering. This small group coaching experience allows me to know each client’s case inside and out as we go through the steps of the Smart Baby Sleep System uniquely tailored for your baby. In addition to the complete online course,  Premium Support members participate in a small group live Q&A sessions with me every week for 6 weeks, plus unlimited group and one-on-one coaching in my private Facebook group, “Science Mommy Secureline.” I will check in to answer questions personally, every day, sometimes several times per day (on weekdays). Learn more about my Premium Support Group.

References:

Attachment system is predictive of responsive care, which is predictive of mental health:

Evans, C. A., & Porter, C. L. (2009). The emergence of mother-infant co-regulation during the first year: Links to infants’ developmental status and attachment. Infant Behavior and Development, 32 (2), 147–158.

Fogel, A. (2000). Developmental pathways in close relationships. Child Development, 71(5), 1150–1151. doi:10.1111/1467–8624.00217

Fogel, A., & Branco, A. (1997). Metacommunication as a source of indeterminism in relationship development. In A. Fogel, M. P. Lyra, J. Valsiner, A.

Fogel, M. P. Lyra, & J. Valsiner (Eds.) Dynamics and indeterminism in developmental and social processes (pp. 65–92). Hillsdale, England: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Higley E, Dozier M (2009). Night-time maternal responsiveness and infant attachment at one year. Attachment and Human Development. 11:4, 347-363.
Laurent HK, et al. Understanding the unfolding of stress regulation in infants. Dev Psychopathol. 2016 Mar 29:1-10. [Epub ahead of print]
Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2008). Adult attachment and affect regulation. In J. Cassidy, P.R. Shaver, J. Cassidy, & P. R. Shaver (Eds.),
Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (2nd ed., pp. 503–531). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Trevarthen, C. (2001) Intrinsic motives for companionship in understanding: Their origin, development and significance for infant mental health. Infant Mental Health Journal, 22(1– 2), 95– 131.

ONLY 50% (approximately) will develop secure attachment: (This stat synthesizes hundreds of attachment studies. Here’s and example)

Davies, K. A., Macfarlane, G. J., McBeth, J., Morriss, R., & Dickens, C. (2009). Insecure attachment style is associated with chronic widespread pain. Pain, 143(3-24), 200–205. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.pain.2009.02.013

Your baby’s enormous structural brain growth in the first 3 months and first 2 years . . .

Holland D, Chang L, Ernst TM, et al. Structural Growth Trajectories and Rates of Change in the First 3 Months of Infant Brain Development. JAMA Neurol. 2014;71(10):1266-1274.

Fischer, K. W. & Rose, S. P. (1995). Dynamic growth cycles of brain and cognitive development. In R. W. Thatcher, G. R. Lyon, J. Ramsey & N. Krasnego (Eds.), Developmental neuroimaging: Mapping the development of brain and behavior. New York: Academic Press.

Baby is working from a dominant low brain and a developing high brain:

Nagy E. (2008). Innate intersubjectivity: newborns’ sensitivity to communication disturbance. Dev Psychol. 44(6):1779-84. – See more at: http://www.parentingscience.com/newborns-and-the-social-world.html#sthash.vGcdguIP.dpuf

Todd, R. D., Swarzenski, B., Rossi, P. G. & Visconti, P. (1995). Structural and functional development of the human brain. In D. Cicchetti and D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental Psychopathology: Vol. I: Theories and methods (pp. 161-194). New York: John Wiley.

Social-emotional systems of the brain forming in direct response to regulation of distress and sharing positive states:

Bugental B.D., et al. (2003). The Hormonal Costs of Subtle Forms of Infant Malltreatment. Hormones and Behavior Jan: 2378-44.

Dawson G. et al. (2000) The Role of Early Experience in Shaping Behavioral and Brain Development and It’s Implications for Social Policy, Developmental Psychology Autumn; 12(4): 695-712.
Decety J and Jackson PL. 2004. The functional architecture of human empathy. Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews 3(2): 71-100. – See more at: http://www.parentingscience.com/newborns-and-the-social-world.html#sthash.vGcdguIP.dpuf
Karrass, J., & Walden, T. A. (2005). Effects of nurturing and non-nurturing care-giving on child social initiatives: An experimental investigation of emotion as a mediator of social behavior. Social Development, 14(4), 685–700.

Kochanska, G, Aksan, N, Prisco, TR, and Adams, EE. (2008) “Mother-Child and Father-Child Mutually Responsive Orientation in the First Two Years and Children’s Outcomes: Mechanisms of Influence”. Child Development, Vol. 79, Issue 1,

Kochanska, G. (2002). Mutually responsive orientation between mothers and their young children: A context for the early development of conscience. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11(6), 191–195. doi:10.1111/1467–8721.00198.

Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2005). Attachment security, compassion, and altruism.
Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(1), 34–38.
Smith CL et. al. (2016). Infant frontal electroencephalogram asymmetry and negative emotional reactivity as predictors of toddlerhood effortful control. J Exp Child Psychol. Feb;142:262-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jecp.2015.09.031. Epub 2015 Nov 6.
Trevarthen, C., & Bjørkvold, J-R. (in press). Life for learning: How a young child seeks joy with companions in a meaningful world. In D. Narvaez, J. Braungart-Rieker, L. Miller, L. Gettler, & P. Hastings (Eds.), Contexts for Young Child Flourishing: Evolution, Family and Society (pp. 28-60). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Vanderwert RE, Simpson EA, Paukner A, Suomi SJ, 2015. Fox NA, Ferrari PF. Early Social Experience Affects Neural Activity to Affiliative Facial Gestures in Newborn Nonhuman Primates. Dev Neurosci. 37(3):243-52. – See more at: http://www.parentingscience.com/newborns-and-the-social-world.html#sthash.vGcdguIP.dpuf
Avoiding prolonged, intense distress optimizes brain development:
Dawson G. et al. (2000)The role of early experience in shaping behavioral and brain development and its implications for social policy, Developmental Psychology Autumn; 12 (4)L 695-712.
D.M. Vazquez et al., “Regulation of glucocorticoid and mineralcorticoid receptor mRNAs in the hippocampus of the maternal deprived infant rat,” Brain Res 731, no. 1–2 (Aug 1996): 79–90.
Gunner MR (1989). Studies of the Human Infant’s Adrenocortical Response To potentially Stressful Events, New Directions for Child Development Fall: 3-18.
Henry, J. P., & Wang, S. (1998). Effects of early stress on adult affiliative behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 23 (8), 863–875.
Mirescu, C., & Gould, E. (2006). Stress and adult neurogenesis. Hippocampus, 16, 233–238.
Pranksepp, J. (2003)  Affective Neuroscience. Oxford University Press, New York: 250.
Daskalakis NP, et al. (2015). Early Life Stress Effects on Glucocorticoid-BDNF Interplay in the Hippocampus. Nov 16;8:68. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2015.00068. eCollection 2015.
Sapolsky, R. (2004). Why zebras don’t get ulcers (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Holt.
Suri D, Vaidya VA. (2013) Glucocorticoid regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor: relevance to hippocampal structural and functional plasticity.  Neuroscience. 2013 Jun 3;239:196-213. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.08.065. Epub 2012 Sep 9.
Zubieta JK, et al. (2003) Regulations of Human Affective Responses by Anterior Cingulate and Limbic and Opiod Neurotransmission, General Psychiatry Nov’ 60 (11): 1037-1172.
Responding to distress promotes sync with parent, trust in the world, and development of the core self:
Keller H et al.(1996). Psychobiological aspects of infant crying. Early Development and Parenting 5.
Kochanska, G. (2002). Mutually responsive orientation between mothers and their young children: A context for the early development of conscience. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11(6), 191-195. doi:10.1111/1467-8721.00198
Decety J and Jackson PL. 2004. The functional architecture of human empathy. Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews 3(2): 71-100. – See more at: http://www.parentingscience.com/newborns-and-the-social-world.html#sthash.vGcdguIP.dpuf

Books by Allan Schore, PhD, on this topic:

Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self (originally published 1994)

Affect Dysregulation and Disorders of the Self (WW Norton & Company, 2003).

Affect Regulation and Repair of the Self (WW Norton & Company, 2003).

The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy (WW Norton & Co., 2012).

Modern Attachment Theory: The Central Role of Affect Regulation in Development and Treatment (Clinical Social Work Journal, 2008; 36: 9-20).

States become traits – become hard-wired into your baby’s brain:
Perry, B.D., Pollard, R., Blakely, T., Baker, W., & Vigilante, D.  Childhood trauma, the neurobiology of adaptation and ‘use-dependent’ development of the brain: How “states” become “traits’”.  Infant Mental Health J, 16 (4):  271-291, 1995.
Kloet ER, et al. (2005) Stress, gense and the mechanism of programming the brain for later life, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. Apr; 29(2): 271-81.
Emotions have biochemical reactions:
Bugental B.D., et al. (2003). The Hormonal Costs of Subtle Forms of Infant Malltreatment. Hormones and Behavior Jan: 2378-44.
Gunner MR, et al. (2003) Social Regulation of the Cortisol levels in Early Human Development, Psychneuroendocrinology Jan-Feb: 199-220.
Wismer Fries, Alison B. (2005). Early Experience in Humans is Associated With Changes in Neuropeptides Critical for Regulating Social Behavior, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, November 22, 2005, vol. 102, no. 47, 17237-17240.
Interpersonal Neurobiology: interpersonal relations are literally forming physical structures of the brain:
Daskalakis NP, et al. (2015). Early Life Stress Effects on Glucocorticoid-BDNF Interplay in the Hippocampus. Nov 16;8:68. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2015.00068. eCollection 2015.

MacKinnon, L. (2012). The neurosequential model of therapeutics: An interview with Bruce Perry.  The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 33(3), 210-218. doi:10.1017/aft.2012.26

Suri D1, Vaidya VA. (2013). Glucocorticoid regulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor: relevance to hippocampal structural and functional plasticity. Neuroscience. Jun 3;239:196-213. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.08.065. Epub 2012 Sep 9.