Getting to know your baby

 

From the moment your baby comes into the world the main brain pathways or circuits that control basic functions such as breathing, heart rate, body temperature and digestion are ready to go. However, trillions of complex connections in the brain are awaiting to be formed that will support a babies development and ability to regulate their emotions, make decisions and form relationships throughout their life.

 

You can help your baby’s brain development through lots of interaction- playing, cuddling, closeness and general care for them. Your baby’s cries, gurgles and body language are how your baby communicates, so be attentive and notice and work out over time what they are trying to tell you. Every time you interact with or respond to your child, you are stimulating new connections in your baby’s brain.

 

Play helps babies grow

Once you get more confident in handling your baby you can enjoy playing and engaging with them in the very early stages of their life.

 

  • “Tummy Time”- placing babies flat on their stomach to play helps your baby’s muscle and brain development. Stay close to them while you lay them on their front for short periods during the day. Use a toy or your voice to keep them occupied as they can get grizzly or bored in this position.
  • Play different games with your baby, such as peek-a-boo, using different toys to stimulate them.
  • Toys such as rattles develop physical skills and hand eye coordination.
  • Use words, rhymes and stories to build your baby’s storage of language and memory.
  • REMEMBER you are your baby’s most important toy.

Important Brain facts

  • By the 17th week of pregnancy, your unborn child already has one billion brain cells more than an adult. The brain is the only body organ incomplete at birth.
  • At birth, the most complex parts of the brain are least developed, and the most affected by the environment.
  • By your baby’s first birthday, their brain has already doubled in size.
  • By the time children are three years old; their brain is approximately 90 per cent of the weight of an adult’s brain.

Problems bonding with your baby

After the birth, most people expect to bond instantly with their baby. We’re constantly exposed to images of new parents picking up their new born and immediately feeling a connection. But for some parents, this attachment takes time to develop – a few days, weeks, or even months – which can lead to feelings of guilt, stress and disappointment.

 

When a woman feels little or no attachment to her baby, she may be distant or withdrawn and can find it hard to care for them. These interactions between mother and baby can affect the baby’s development even at these early stages – so if this is happening, it’s important to seek help early. Usually, with support, rest and a bit of time, most women will feel more bonded to their baby and better able to respond to their needs.

 

If you’re concerned about how you’re bonding with your baby, it’s important to talk about it with your midwife, Gp or health visitor as there are lots of things you can do to strengthen your attachment. They can give you some practical tips on how you can connect and communicate with your baby. For example, learning about baby cues: www.raisingchildren.net.au/baby_cues/baby_cues.html

 

Team up

It can be difficult coping with the demands of a new born baby due to a lack of sleep, constant crying and lack of time for yourself. Particularly at a time when you are told it will be a beautiful experience. Approach parenting as a team if you have a partner to share the load with. If you are a single parent have family members or support people on hand to help out with tasks and give you a short break.

 

Crying

As a mother your body responds to your baby’s cries by releasing hormones that make you feel stressed. This is your body’s way of alerting you to your baby’s needs. Leaving babies to cry without comfort, even for a short period of time, can be distressing for them. Your baby may cry for long periods (up to three hours per day) and you won’t always be able to calm or soothe them. This can cause feelings of distress and frustration. Babies increase their crying at about six weeks old and this usually begins to get less about three to four months. This is part of normal development.

 

Support - for help with crying babies, sleepless babies and tips for dads and partners contact the CRY-SIS HELPLINE on 08451 228 669 or go to: www.cry-sis.org.uk/help-with-crying-babies

 

APPs Vroom provides tips on activities that will promote your relationship and your baby’s development https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/daily-vroom/id885948312?mt=8