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How much does my baby remember?

As you begin to have new and exciting experiences with your child, you may wonder how much they will recall. Will your baby recall your moments together, and if so, for how long? Memory is central for everyone to learn about events and to form social relationships. Studying memory in infants can be difficult, however, as they cannot tell us about their memories using words.

Still, infants by this stage will show recognition memory, the ability to identify people and repeated activities after a delay in time. You may notice how your baby smiles and gets excited when they hear a familiar voice, or how your baby expects you to act in certain ways when you begin a familiar night time routine.

Your baby will also be able to remember images for longer periods of time during these next few months. Whereas at four months, infants can remember an image of an object for a week, they can remember photographs of faces for two weeks even two months later. Not only will your baby be able to remember objects or faces for longer periods of time as they grow older, but it will take less time to learn new images. For example, babies around this age will only need several seconds to recognize brightly colored patterns or highly unusual events.

Your baby will start to recognize items they encounter often, like their mobile // source: flickr

The best evidence suggests that your baby is not yet capable of forming long lasting conscious memories. In the meantime, however, your baby is using the same memory strategies you do! Just like you, your baby uses her surroundings as clues to aid her memory. For example, your child will be more likely to remember a mobile you showed him or her if, a week later, that mobile is hanging over the same crib and in the same room with the same colored walls and sheets.

Supplementary Material

For additional information and resources, take a look at the following.

1. Want to learn more about your baby’s memory’s before they turn 1, and helpful tips they may boost this memory? Check out this article!

2. If you’re interested in learning about how your baby’s memory will develop over time, and approximately when they will start to have their first memories, check out this article titled “When do babies develop memories?”

Mayes, L. C. & Cohen, D. J. (2002). The Yale Child Study Center Guide to Understanding Your Child: Healthy Development from Birth to Adolescence. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.
Rovee-Collier, C., & Cuevas, K. (2008). The development of infant memory. In The development of memory in infancy and childhood (pp. 23-54). Psychology Press.


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