Why Babies Can’t Remember Their Childhood

In today’s tips and guides on pregnancy for mothers to be, let’s keep the memories of your babies. By the way, do you remember any memories from when you were little? Perhaps, your 4 years-old birthday celebration or the first time you can read? Most people have little to no recollection of any events during their childhood. This lost memory is called infant (or infantile) amnesia. It is a term used for people who have no recollection of their childhood years, making it seem like amnesia. 

Infantile Amnesia

The inability of adults to recall early episodic memories, known as infantile amnesia, is linked to the fast forgetting that happens throughout development. Infantile amnesia is thought to be caused by underdevelopment of the baby’s brain, which prevents memory consolidation. Then, it can impact memory retrieval problems. 

The Possible Cause on How It Can Happen

father playing with daughter

Although adults are unable to recall early memories, early-life events such as neglect or traumatic experiences can have a significant influence on adult behaviour and may predispose individuals to a variety of psychopathologies. It’s unclear how a brain that forgets quickly or isn’t yet capable of forming long-term memories can have such a long-lasting and significant impact. We review the literature and explain fresh data acquired in rats that reveals the enigma of infantile amnesia, with a special focus on the hippocampus memory system. Infantile amnesia, we believe, indicates a developmental crucial stage in which the learning system is learning how to learn and remember. 

Surprisingly, some people see their memories of them earlier than others. Some people can recall incidents from when they were two years old, while others have no recollection of anything that has happened to them in the last seven or eight years. Patchy footage appears roughly three-and-a-half times on average. Even more fascinating, there have been differences in forgetting from nation to country, with the typical start of our earliest memories varying by up to two years.

Investigation was Done 

Could this provide some hints to fill in the blanks? To discover this, Cornell University psychologist Qi Wang gathered hundreds of recollections from Chinese and American college students. American stories were longer, more detailed, and more overtly narcissistic, as stereotypes predicted. Chinese stories, on the other hand, were shorter and more accurate, and they started six months later on average.

children in the swimming pool

Numerous more investigations have confirmed this trend. Memory recall appears to be simpler for those with more detailed, self-focused memories. A dash of self-interest is regarded to be beneficial because establishing your own perspective gives events significance. “It’s the difference between thinking ‘There were tigers at the zoo’ and ‘I saw tigers at the zoo and had a lot of fun, even if they were scary,” explains Robyn Fivush, an Emory University psychologist.

The Verdict

holding hands

Perhaps the capacity of the brain isn’t matured enough when we’re young to create a rich recollection of an incident. For the first few years of life, baby rats, monkeys, and humans all continue to add new neurons to the hippocampus, and we are all unable to build long-term memories — but it appears that once we stop making new neurons, we are suddenly able to establish long-term memories. 

But are our long-term memories being lost because of the underdeveloped hippocampus, or are they never produced in the first place? Because childhood events can have an impact on our behaviour even after we’ve forgotten about them, some psychologists believe they must be present someplace. The memories are presumably stored somewhere inaccessible right now but it’s extremely difficult to establish that experimentally. 

But, bear in mind that; 

We should be cautious about what we remember from that period — our childhood is likely filled with false recollections of incidents that never happened. Yes, we can be confused just like that. 

A Psychologist Stated: 

A psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, named Elizabeth Loftus has dedicated her career to studying the phenomena. “People may take things and start seeing them – they become like memories,” she explains.

Where The Theory of Infantile Amnesia Started: 

One of the first scientists to explore neonatal amnesia was Sigmund Freud. People repress memories because of the enhanced psychosexual components of infancy, that’s what he believes.

Sigmund Freud

In his ideas, Sigmund Freud studied repressed memory extensively. He thought we suppressed memories that were too painful for our psychosexual selves to bear.

There has been a lot of study on repressed memory since Freud’s work. While there appears to be some validity to the theory that individuals may hide memories of exceptionally terrible experiences in order to protect themselves mentally, there is currently little evidence that actual infantile memories can resurface from some hidden location in the human mind.

Dummy Explanations on How It Could Happen 

Have you ever had the experience of studying for a test and becoming overwhelmed with all the information? You might feel that there is too much to remember, and when you study more, one thing falls out. Some researchers believe that our infantile amnesia is similar to this experience.

The idea is that we have so many memories over our lifespan that it is just logical that our earliest ones will fade and be lost as new ones replace them. If our ability to remember childhood is a factor of age, then how could any person in their sixties, seventies, or eighties still remember any of their time prior to adulthood?

Biological Basis

All these theories lead us to biological science. Researchers know that the region of the brain known as the hippocampus is responsible for memory (especially memory about our own actions and life experiences) and learning. It is believed that the growth of brain cells (neurons) in the hippocampus, called neurogenesis is the reason we are able to remember anything.

How To Make Lasting Memories


Some of the things that you could do

  • Collect and look at photos
  • Revisiting the locations you have been to during your childhood 
  • Keep learning 


Parents should take part in ensuring that their children are remembering some of their baby’s childhood recollections. However, forgetting or not remembering the whole childhood memories isn’t a bad thing or a bad sign. 

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