PROVIDING A GOOD ENOUGH START
It's wonderfully simple...read more
Developing your baby's social and emotional health is all about the parent-infant relationship. Parents build this bond by interpreting a baby’s signs and signals as they communicate their need for comfort and care. Building a parent-infant relationship is about regularly engaging with your infant child, soothing them, giving eye contact and communicating with each other. Providing a good enough start in a baby's life is about doing all the little, simple things, again and again, showing love and care, that teaches your child that the world is a positive and safe place.
EACH BABY IS UNIQUE
The wonderful thing is, that from the moment your baby is born, he or she is already an individual. Taking time to observe your baby you can see their unique little characteristics. For example:
Some babies are able to sleep undisturbed through almost anything, whilst others need help by keeping the environment dark and quiet. Some babies like lots of physical contact and others find lots of handling quite tiring and will let you know they need a break.
Some babies move between being asleep, awake and crying more quickly, sometimes going straight from sleep to crying, whilst others transition between states more slowly. Some babies may need a lot of support to calm when they get upset, and by comparison, others are able to soothe more easily
What works for one baby may not be as helpful for another baby. The beauty is in your baby’s uniqueness, which is observable from the first moments of life.
Babies are ready to connect with their world. They speak to you from the moment they are born.
Ready to communicate
Babies listen and speak to us all the time. They all have different personalities and likes and dislikes that you will get to know. Babies don't come with an instruction manual but by watching and wondering what they are telling you, you will learn how to meet their needs.
When you attend to your baby's cry and soothe them they feel safe so the stress that caused them to cry goes away. Watch and listen to your baby's cry to learn how your baby wants to feel settled. Babies tend to have different cries to express different needs or emotions.
A baby's expressions and movements convey meaning. For instance, yawning, sneezing, closing eyes or turning away can mean that your baby is over stimulated or tired. Building a relationship and creating new brain cells is hard work so the above behaviours can signal they need less stimulation or need to rest.
1001 CRITICAL DAYS
The brain is one of the few organs not fully developed at birth. Immediately after, connections (more than 100 billion neurons) continue to form at the incredible rate of over 1 million per second. These connections, called synapses, are tiny gaps across which nerve cells send messages from every interaction, and every sensation the baby experiences.
These connections are then selectively cultivated during the first 1001 days of life. This means that connections grow stronger from high-quality learning experiences, warm, attentive care and a safe, interactive environment.
A baby’s early experiences determine which connections are used the most and strengthen or those that are not used as much, so they weaken and fade. The resulting brain structure is the foundation upon which all future learning, behaviour and health will depend. By the time a child reaches school age, this foundation is 90% complete.
For newborn babies, every sensation is a new sensation. They are incredibly sensitive to hunger, temperature, light and pain, all of which can cause them physical and emotional stress.
By soothing your baby you remove the stressor which helps your baby regulate these new sensations through the formation of strong, new brain connections.
INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES STRENGTHEN YOUR PARENT-INFANT RELATIONSHIP
Enjoy lots of positive social interaction. Talk with your baby from bump onwards. Sing, touch, read stories, play music and games. Baby can hear your voice from inside the womb from around 15 weeks.
Listen to their sounds and watch their movements and expressions and enjoy conversations leaving space for their response.
Include age appropriate activity with your child beginning with nursery rhymes and simple actions. As you repeat these activities your baby will learn and engage, showing pleasure.
Make reading to your child a daily habit from the very start. Reading introduces lots of new words to build vocabulary long before your baby can speak.
A baby's mind develops in several stages and leaps, as they learn new cognitive skills, so you will need to adjust your expectations and build in new activities and opportunities to help your baby to develop their new skills.