Baby brains grow at an astonishing rate—they more than double in size by the time a newborn turns one year old and reach their full adult size just four years later, by kindergarten. To help with all this growth and learning, babies’ brains have about 1,000 trillion synapses (connections between brain cells) or twice that of an average adult.
No wonder all new parents and grandparents look at their baby at some point and ponder, “Just what is she thinking?” Now, there’s more proof than ever that your mini-me has a lot going on upstairs. These are bizarre facts about newborn babies that doctors never tell you.
Babies know when a new language is being spoken.
We’ve long known that infant brains are uniquely suited to learning more than one language, and recent research helps explain how they’re able to do this. A University of British Columbia study found that babies as young as four months old can discern from visual cues when a different language is being spoken (based on the shape and rhythm of the speaker’s mouth and face movements). According to a university press release, the “babies growing up in a bilingual environment advantageously maintain the discrimination abilities needed for separating and learning multiple languages.”
Another study showed that babies who live in bilingual homes have a longer length of time when their brain is flexible enough to pick up different languages, compared to infants who only hear one tongue spoken—a sign that easily becoming bilingual is somewhat “use it or lose it.” Know that your baby trusts you by seeing these signs.