On May 24th our family happily welcomed Baby M. The past 3 weeks have been wonderful as we watch him get acclimated to the world, our family and especially his big sister Miss H. Every day I am reminded of both how amazing infants are and how important it is to meet their needs . When we meet infants needs and understand them, they learn to trust the world. This trust is the building block for the rest of their learning and development.
As I relish in every moment with Baby M, I am reminded of the things that I think are important for anyone caring for a newborn/young infant to know. And here they are:
– Hold them. Your arms are comforting and make them happy. You cannot “spoil” an infant by holding them often. In fact, you are teaching them that they can trust the world and that you are there for them. Powerful stuff.
– Pick them up when they cry. Always. Crying is communicating. Answer them!
– Put them on their backs on the floor on a blanket from early on. They will gradually be able to do it for longer and longer. This gives them the best view of the world around them and they will take it all in.
– Only strap them into things (carseats, bouncy seats, swings) if necessary for safety or comfort. They should be free on the floor, in a lap or in someone’s arms to move around.
– Don’t dangle things (toys) in front of their faces. Your face and the world around them is the most interesting thing to look at. It is all they need and they do not need to be “entertained.”
– Talk to them, sing to them and respond to their noises and facial expressions. Infants are “talking” to you from birth. Respond and they will keep talking!
– Make sure you know and understand Dr. Harvey Karp’s “5 S’s:” Swaddle, Side, Sway, Suck and Shhh. They are essential to soothing and calming a young infant. Trust me – they work!
– Feed them and let them sleep anywhere you can. The quicker they get used to any location, any time the better.
And most importantly…enjoy every moment. Everyday is a new experience that you can share together.