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Nurturing your child’s development starts in pregnancy

Did you know that much of your child’s learning and development will depend on your relationship with them?

Saying “Hello” to your baby can start today.

Here are some amazing facts about your baby’s development.

Babies’ learning starts in pregnancy

Unborn babies yawn, exercise, sleep, suck their thumb and swallow.

Connecting with your baby is good for their development, take time to focus on your baby. When your baby kicks you can respond by stroking your stomach and talking to your baby.

A healthy lifestyle makes a difference to baby’s development and mother’s health – think about your diet and exercise.

It is important that mothers do not experience very high levels of stress during pregnancy for their own health and the future health of their baby. If you are feeling stressed, please talk to your midwife or health visitor.

Unborn babies can hear the world around them

From around 20 weeks the unborn baby can recognise different voices. Talking and singing to your baby helps them to recognise the voices of the important people in their lives and can be soothing to them.

Enjoying and feeling close to your baby helps their development

Babies who are handled more in the earlier months are generally happier, less fussy toddlers as they feel more confident that you are there for them.


It is not possible to spoil a new baby.

Much of babies’ brain development happens in the first few years after birth

At 7 weeks old your baby’s brain is developing 2 million new connections per second, they are learning so much from you.

Breast milk supports brain development as does holding your baby close and responding to their needs.

Babies love to look at faces

Even at a few days old they enjoy mimicking interactions and faces.

Take time to tune into your baby and enjoy turn-taking babbling conversations. Make sure to copy your baby’s sounds and give good eye contact. It really develops their social skills and their ability to communicate.

The care you give helps baby learn

Babies learn to understand their needs and how to meet them through the care they receive from you.

It can be overwhelming at times to hear your baby’s distress. Make sure you have support from others.

Sometimes it’s hard to work out what your baby needs. Often they just need comfort and to feel close to you.

Everyday interactions are teaching your baby about themselves, relationships and the world around them. Once they have learned this, they can then start to do things for themselves.

You do not need to be a perfect parent to be a good enough parent. If you are feeling overwhelmed ask for support

To find out more about your baby’s amazing development and for support

Talk to your midwife or health visitor in person or call 0114 305 3224

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: HVS2

Resource Type: Article

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