Brain development starts in utero, and while the cognitive, social and emotional parts of the brain will continue to development across the lifespan, a great deal of the brain’s ultimate structure and capacity is shaped early in life before 3 years of age .
From birth to 6 months of age, the brains prefrontal cortex has a growth spurt. This area of the brain is involved in complex processing behaviours, attention and multitasking. The hippocampus is also growing at a rapid rate, developing baby’s recognition and memory.
Myelination is a process that helps the brain develop the flexibility needed for electrical impulses involved in neurotransmission. This process accelerates around 32 weeks gestation and continues during the first 2 years of life.
DHA from omega-3 fatty acids is a critical nutrient needed for myelination and healthy neurosignaling, and while breastmilk contains DHA, levels are dependent on mother’s dietary intake. Western countries such as Australia, USA and the UK have shown lower levels of breastmilk DHA compared to countries with high fish consumption such as Japan .