Parenting begins when the baby is still developing inside mom. This is when the baby learns to recognize both mom and dad’s voices as well as the voices of their siblings. They can hear the music you play and the words that are said. Of course they hear it through a barrier of liquid, but they still hear it.
Immediately after the baby is born they recognize the voice of their mother and imprint the scent as well. These instinctive behaviors help the newborn to find comfort from someone who is really a complete stranger to them after nine months of development. And this comfort and security helps their neurological system to completely develop.
Learning to parent a child begins at birth and continues throughout the parent’s life. Parenting doesn’t really end when the child leaves home. It may get a bit less intensive but it certainly doesn’t end.
When the child is an infant there are many different aspects of their growth and development which must be considered in order to help the baby mature and grow to their ultimate potential. When babies are born their neurological system isn’t mature. In fact, it won’t be until the child is about 2 years of age before the brain and neurological system has reached maturity. This is why babies do best when they are swaddled, it helps to calm the nervous system. And it is also the reason why the movements of children are jerky and sudden until they reach neurological maturity.
Other concerns of new mothers include helping their newborn to sleep through the night, how to feed their child, how much to carry the baby, when to put them down, bottle or breast feeding, pacifier use or not, and how to develop a relationship with this new little bundle of joy.
Many of these concerns work themselves through as mothers learn to work with their children. But there are parenting tips for mothers of infants that can help the process work more smoothly.
*Talk with your baby in a soothing voice. Just the sound of your voice is reassuring to them.
*Use your voice and language to help comfort your child and help them learn the language. You can sing, read or repeat his sounds and add words at the end.
*Play music to help them develop an appreciation of music and improve their understanding of math.
*Use praise and lots of loving attention. Research has shown that babies who are picked up frequently and quickly when they are crying, cry less as they grow older.
*The best time to play with your baby is when he’s alert and relaxed. They go through stages when they are awake and the quiet alert state usually happens directly after they waken from a nap.
*When you are playing with your infant spend time cuddling and holding your baby. This helps her feel cared for and secure.
*Take care of yourself! Parenting is hard work. Some say it’s the hardest thing they’ve done. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally and mentally. It’s easier for you to be positive and enjoy your baby if you are feeling good yourself.
*It is important to recognize when you are out of control. Although infants aren’t made of glass they are still fragile little humans. Set up a support system so you have someone to call when you feel you may get out of control.
*It is important NEVER to shake a baby. The neck muscles of a newborn are very week and not able to support their heads. When shaken there is normally damage done to the brain and a delay in normal development.
*The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development recommends that infants are put to sleep on their backs to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
*Use a car safety seat with every car ride. Until the baby is 20 pounds or one year they should be rear facing as it is the safest position possible in a car.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Positive Parenting Tips
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Infants (0-1)
MayoClinic: Infant and Toddler Health
KidsHealth: Guide for First Time Parents
What to Expect: BabyCare 101 for First Time Parents
Parenting.org: Baby Sleep Guide