But what do I DO with the baby?
It's obvious she needs food, clean diapers and sleep. But what am I supposed to do with her the rest of the time? You know, to help her growing brain? She's too little to like the zoo right?
Here's Harvard's answer: When she looks at you, smiles, reaches out and babbles - look back at her, smile, hold her close and talk sweetly to her. It's as simple as that.
This two minute video does a great job explaining this process called, serve and return interaction.
Here's their scientific description:
"One of the most essential experiences in shaping the architecture of the developing brain is "serve and return" interaction between children and significant adults in their lives. Young children naturally reach out for interaction through babbling, facial expressions, and gestures, and adults respond with the same kind of vocalizing and gesturing back at them. This back-and-forth process is fundamental to the wiring of the brain, especially in the earliest years.
Healthy development in the early years provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, strong communities, and successful parenting of the next generation." -Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child
The responsibility of raising children is profound but the methods are simple - hold, gaze, smile, talk sweetly. When you think about it, it's really a rad job we have, isn't it?