Although you certainly have a lot to adjust to in the first few weeks of your baby’s life, your child’s social and emotional development is surely the greater task; he has to learn to adjust from his safe and secure life in the womb to ’real life’. You will be amazed at how quickly he does just that and starts to develop. Natural reflexes allow your baby to feed, to hold onto you, to bond with you and show the first signs of his personality.
Understanding Your Baby:
As you will have heard from other new mums, the first week is precious time when you and your baby get to know each other. Already your child’s social and emotional development is underway; he enjoys your company, he responds to the sound of your voice (he became familiar with it in the womb) and can stare at your face when his eyes are able to focus on it. Likewise, you will learn to recognise when your baby is communicating with you, by moving his arms and legs around when he’s excited and crying when he’s unhappy or uncomfortable.
In the early months your baby will be comforted by rocking, or by being swaddled. This is likely to be as these actions replicate his experience in the womb.
As the first month progresses you will notice more signs of your child’s social and emotional development and personality: if you stick your tongue out he will copy you! He enjoys you singing and talking to him, loves cuddles and will begin to splash and kick in his bath. Whilst your baby is sleeping you may notice him smiling. Although this can be a sign of wind, your baby can smile in his sleep at noises or when he’s going into, or coming out of, a deeper level of sleep. Into month two and he is learning to amuse himself and yet he will also love the company of others.
Between 8-12 weeks, you will notice your baby becoming a true attention seeker! He will thrive on the attention of proud grandparents and doting relatives and will respond to them with smiles and ’coos’. Your baby will be smiling even more now and crying less and you will notice he communicates with a greater range of expressions.
How You Can Help:
* Children are individuals, even at this early stage. Your child’s social and emotional development will thrive on your love and this will encourage his growth and development. Give him lots and lots of consistent attention and be as responsive as you can: babies who have to work hard for their parent’s attention are often too stressed to learn effectively.
* Establishing a routine can help to make him feel safe and secure, as he’ll know what to expect and that his needs will be met. Simple things like knowing that bath time or listening to a calming musical toy will quickly come to be recognised by him as a ’calm down’ signal.
Toy Box Tips
* Swings – The Aquarium Take Along Swing calms with swinging motion and soothing aquatic sounds.
* Cot toys with soothing sounds. Try the Ocean Wonders Aquarium.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.