How Babies Learn and Relate through Imitation

One of the reasons why human population has increased so prolifically is by the learning of ‘cooperation’.  In fact the reason why humans have been so successful is because neonates are ready to participate in any culture. By imitating parental heritage, supports greater integration, stronger identity and the creation of secure reference points, As if parents are installing a software in the brain of the baby, they define their child.

Babies are primed for imitation as soon as they are born. Given three different types of facial expressions the infants were able to copy all three.  This budding identification process, ‘I imitate Mummy , I am Mummy’ forges better bonds. Although seen as ‘impersonal’  it is fact loaded with subjective overtone. Mimicking and mirroring can bring great delight, further fuelling the joy of sharing. There is a ‘pleasure interest’, a vested, innate, enjoyable sharing experience when imitating.

Imitation is not only for survival but for brain development and learning. Developmentally imitation can further communication and at five months helps to engage learning and inquisitiveness.  It is mutually serving, the more the baby learns so does the parent and this becomes a learning figure of eight, where two brains are constantly attuning to one another in order to serve the other. In fact there is a developmental cadence, the parents are the emotional cheer leaders and coaches. These developmental cheer leaders gently promote the next step to their infants growth. Babies like novelty and when they do something new the parents are delighted and this enthuses the baby in return – again a delightful relational springboard. The infant brain has a fractal quality, where the budding cells are  seeded already before birth but need regular qualitative attention to grow and  will follow their natural course. Babies need relationships to flourish. Their brains are wired for learning from relationships.

Indeed early infants are primed for relationship and need a dialogical approach that harnesses mother’s and father’s brain, body and skills which stimulates baby’s brain and body. Supporting the theory that both need to be adaptable to each another to achieve the optimum for each other.

Baby’s are in a relationship with their mother from conception building up in utero to be ready for their entry into the world. Foetal sensitivity serves the neonate for his arrival into the world. A mother and father are like the sun and water, flowering baby, these very natural relationship are a catalyst for the neonatal and infantile biological buds – triggering eyes and brain receptors to be stimulated with love and attention optimising brain capacity and body maturation. Innately wired to their mother’s voice, breast, smell, a baby uses these bases as reassuring markers. These guide baby to seek their mother, once reassured by her, they are more able to be flexible and adaptable to their new environment and be curious about others and new situations.