I am passionate about sharing the research and creating an awareness of the profound importance of what babies are exposed to in utero, during pregnancy, and in early childhood. It is clearly documented that the brain literally prunes synapses depending on what kind of care/experience the baby has. The ramifications for this in parenting are huge. You are literally shaping your baby's brain, and determing the resources she'll have for responding to stress all through life.
Please join a discussion of specific ways to optimize your baby's brain development.

Ingrid Johnson

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There is a ton of research that addresses the benefits of breastfeeding for a baby's brain development.
I would recommend looking at Niles Bergman's research out of South Africa. He suggests that breastfeeding might actually be an "extention of gestation" during which baby's brains hardwire these synapses.

So my specific way to optimize baby brain development is to BREASTFEED!
see the attached document for details----especially page 2.
It is certainly the very best way to nourish your baby.
In addition, talking with her, responding to her, and the many ways parents nurture are all integral parts of babies' brain development.
I thank G-d for LLL & be able to breastfeed/heal myself and my children from ALL our traumatic births! Milk heals-period, and by doing so mitigated ALOT of the damage the birth caused and set up a lasting healthy brain activity, both our children (now 25 & 27 just graduated from college after being homeschooled) and we coudl not be prouder or happier for them.
I just feel so exasperated knowing so many C-Sections and interventions that cause problems in Fing relationships as well as the pleuthora of misinformation about extended nursing etc.
It breaks my heart...and we need an insentive plan.
Jody McLaughlin with The Compleat Mother says we need a "colostrum tax". If hospitals get the mother to at least give her baby colostrum (in hopes that will begins lasting relationship) the hospital gets a bonus (or a fine if it does not happen)!!! I think she's on to something.
Check out her magazine, it is a jewel.
26 years ago, when I was pregnant, I was certain I was carrying twins; I knew from conception. I kept asking my doctor and he said, "If you're so damned sure it's twins, go in for a scan."

I replied, "No, if you cannot give me a good medical indication for it, I won't have an ultrasound."

He couldn't (nor could 3 OBs, including one who attempted a version). So I didn't. I delievered undiagnosed, interlocking twins in a VBAC. Afterwards the nurses all asked why I didn't have a scan. Now I know why. I'm glad I didn't-- I would have known and I wouldn't have had my vaginal birth (difficult as it was). It all happened as it needed to happen.

I felt uncomfortable about ultrasound-- my gut told me that it might affect the brain. It made sense if there was a good reason for it, but not if there wasn't.

Since then I read a study which showed a marked increase in left-handedness amongst children who'd been scanned between certain weeks gestestion. Of course, many people are left-handed and that in an of itself isn't a problem. What is a problem is when ultrasound causes it. If it's doing that to the developing brain, what else is it doing?

Are we 100% sure that ultrasound has nothing to do with the increase in autism, ADD, etc.?

I had 4 miscarriages and 3 births. After my twins were born and died because they lacked kidneys, I was told that my next pregancy must be scanned every two weeks.

"Why?" I asked.

"Well, that baby might not have kidneys or it might have a blocked ureter or something."

"So, if you know, what can you do?

"We might be able to unblock it with prenatal surgery."

"Not going to happen...." I said. The thought of doing surgery on my baby, while he was safe within me, without anesthetic for him, horrified me.

At 13 weeks, I started profusely bleeding. Now that made sense, to have a scan. It showed a partial placental abruption and that the placenta was over the cervix. They wanted me to come in for a scan every 2 or three weeks.

"If I start bleeding again at 7 months or so, then I will. Otherwise, it'll no doubt migrate up the uterus like the vast majority of them do." I replied.

That infuriated one of the techs and she then informed me, "I can see the heart but I don't see kidneys." She knew full well my history.

Luckily, I'm a strong woman and well informed. I snapped, "You expect to see kidneys at 13 weeks? More likely at 19 or 20 (at least back then)." The other tech said, "Yeah!"

It was the only ultrasound I ever had and I pushed out a 9 1/2 pound son.

Anyway, I worked hard with all my pregnancies-- didn't smoke or go near anyone who did, didn't drink at all if even trying to get pregnant, took folic acid even back then when the docs all told me I was crazy, ate well and didn't even drink a cup of black tea let alone coffee. So when my twins were born without kidneys, there was no guilt. Much, much sadness, but no guilt....
Thank you so much for your amazing story. I know there will be readers who are inspired and supported by what you share!
Ingrid Johnson said:
You choose on the rebellion part - you may be interested in my new blog post about "Terrible Twos" at:


The same rebellion occurs in the teenage years as in the twos! If you create a format where the child can communicate, express independence, come back to the safety net, and go back and forth at her own pace, the need to rebel will be saved for affecting change on the kinds of issues and movements you mention!

Thank for that, it is right up my alley right now as my twins are two and a real handful now.
Diane thank you soo much for sharing your amazing birth story and Ingrid for sharing this amazing topic. My background is in early childhood and infant special education. Currently, I am working on my doctorate in early childhood development and learning disorders. I always tell people there are so many ways that things can go wrong in-utero it's a wonder that we are as functional as we are! I am a provisional doula with ICTC because as I started learning more and more about brain development I realized that working with parents and their child after the baby was here was already too late. It is important to give our babies the best start possible but the brain is now known for it's plasticity even into adulthood so we can work to reverse some of the damage or thought patterns put down on our children. Dr. Stanley Greenspan has written a lot on Early Emotion development in childhood. He believes that emotion is the glue that helps our early brain bring together all the separate sensations (hearing, feeling, smelling, etc.) into one cohesive experience. My one professor told me that "sensation is the raw material of cognition"-how we experience the world shapes how we then see it from infants on.
Thanks, Muneera. I'm glad you are pursuing a path in this much needed field.

Another book I recommend is:
"The Mind of your Newborn Baby" by David Chamberlian

Although it's been out since 1998, I find that many of my clients are not aware of much of it's contents. Dr. Chamberlain gives lots of evidence of how newborns are fully cognitive beings, as well as in utero.
huh. INTERESTING! so THAT explains my 5 kids personalities, WOW! wow........ I'm pregnant with our 6th, I better SLOWWWWWWWWW down and take it easy and stop stressing over the small (economy) stuff or I will get another DRAMA queen/prince
Slowing down and turning off as much stress as possible is a really good idea while you're pregnant. I'm a big fan of deleting as much negative input as possible (the news, negative people, etc.).
That your body physiologically passes it on to the fetus is a known fact - how it manifests may be variable.
The more insight you have into how your reactions, patterns, and beliefs shape your babies, the more choices and options you have.
Good reading at my blog



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