5 Ways Your Brain Changes From Having a Baby

5 ways your brain changes from having a baby The Gentle Counsellor

5 Ways Your Brain Changes From Having a Baby

1. Physical

Through using MRI, studies show a decrease in the brain's gray matter. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as the brain becomes more efficient by eliminating some connections in the brain to make way for new ones to form. Some say this may explain what people call having 'mum brain'. The good news here is because of brain plasticity, the brain is able to reorganise itself, change, grow, learn new things, and repair.

2. Promotes Bonding

Repeated physical touch and eye contact promotes attachment between baby and parent. This has a hormonal effect on the brain releasing prolactin, oxytocin, and estrogen which aids in restructuring the brain to create feelings of attachment.

3. Personality

Parents are figuring out who they are in this new role of parenthood with new experiences. Matrescence and Patrescence are likened to the hormonal changes during adolescence. This is a significant physiological and psychological transition involving body and hormonal changes that requires an adjustment period, often with a lot of discomfort too.

4. Emotions

A baby crying activates the emotional regulation network in the brain. It can be distressing to hear our baby cry because our attachment system is eliciting us to respond. Parents may also lose their temper more easily when sleep deprived. If we detect a dangerous situation or threat, adrenaline rushes in to protect the baby from harm. From this activation, we can become more alert.

5. Mental

Becoming a parent can have an impact on a person's mental health. This could be a result of a traumatic pregnancy or birth, and/or because there are numerous changes to the hormones and structure of the brain. Other risk factors include a history of mental health challenges such as depression or anxiety, or stress factors such as isolation, relationship struggles, or financial difficulties.

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