by Chris Bodenner
A reader responds to a recent post:
I can’t cite a source, but during my pediatric residency, I was taught that younger siblings learn a lot from their older sibs. For example, a 12-month-old girl watches her 3-year-old brother walking and figures out how to walk. Oldest children don’t have anyone to pattern that behavior (adults don’t count), so they have to figure everything out on their own. This makes for enhanced brain development and thus higher intelligence.
I recently read in Jena Pincott’s Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies? about a nature, rather than nurture, explanation for why first-borns tend to be more intelligent. Apparently, women store omega 3 fats in their hips and ass throughout their lives. When their first baby is gestating, the baby absorbs a lot of these stored fats to help make their brains plump and active. The first baby gets the most, as the mother usually doesn’t have enough time to accumulate that much more in omega-3s between children. (This also may be one explanation for why “mom butts” tend to be a little flatter).
I relay all this as a second-born sibling (whose older brother is certainly smarter in many ways) and a pregnant woman (who is eating her weight in omega-3-rich fish during pregnancy).
(Photo of my niece and nephew by Betsy Bodenner)