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11 Facts Every Parent Should Know About Their Baby's Brain

They need more than Mom and Dad

While scientists usually focus on infant-parent relationships, broad studies have shown that it really does take a village. According to research presented in the journal Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development in 1995, children seem to do best when they have at least three adults who consistently send the message: Hey kid, I got you.

Researchers such as Sarah Hrdy, author of Mothers and Others (Belknap, 2009), theorize that spending time with non-parental caregivers – a grandparent, a daycare teacher, a family friend, a doting aunt – helps infants learn to read different facial expressions and expand their ability to take the perspectives of others.

Babies use adult mental processes for deciphering others' emotions by the time they are seven months old, research suggests.

Robin Nixon was a staff writer for Live Science. Robin has a combined B.A. in biology and psychology from Columbia University. She has served as a research assistant for studies conducted at New York University and Harvard.