5 Free Things Newborn Babies Need for Healthy Brain Development

May 22, 2018 | Brain Development, New Parents Survival Guide, Newborn | 0 comments

Start Right

Babies are born curious, creative, and intelligent. Alongside basic baby care, enrich your newborn’s world to help him/her achieve his/her full potential.

While we as adults might not see much similarities between ourselves and babies, each baby is a full and complete human being who is present in the room with us, absorbing every sight, sound, smell, and touch that he/she experiences into his/her deepest memories. To help your precious little baby reach his/her full potential, we as parents should be more aware of the impression left by what we do, what we say, and what we allow our children to come into contact with from the very moment of their birth and through the first days, months, and years of their lives.

newborn gentle birth skin to skin

A Gentle Birth

From the moment they are born, newborn babies are responsive and receptive to all aspects of their environment. There was a time, not too long ago, when babies were delivered in brightly lit, noisy hospital operating rooms and handled roughly the moment they were born. After spending nine months floating in the warm, cozy, dark environment of their mother’s womb, experiencing only muffled sounds, we can only imagine the trauma brought about by birth. And rather than allowing mother and baby to meet one another and rest, the umbilical cord was swiftly cut and the baby was taken off into another room to be weighed an washed.

Thankfully, with an increased understanding of the importance of a gentle birth, this practice has been much improved in most developed countries.Modern birthing centers and hospitals now use subdued lighting, the room temperature is kept warm, soothing music can be played, and everyone speaks in hushed voices. Immediately after birth, the newborn is placed on the mother’s tummy to rest and bond (skin-to-skin) before being washed off, weighed, and checked over.

Bonding with Your Newborn

In the first few hours after birth, there is a sensitive period in which newborns form a particularly close bond with their parents. Research has shown that the extent and quality of care the mother provides the child are strongly conditioned by the  way they spend their time together during the first days after birth.

This connection begins from the physical contact experienced as the baby is cuddled and touched by his/her parents and soon becomes the emotional bond that we celebrate in all healthy relationship between parents and children. It is a two-way connection. The baby feels safe in his/her parents’ arms and forms a powerful and lasting impression of their faces, smell, and the sound of their voices; at the same time, the parents feel the unconditional love forming between the baby and themselves, which goes a long way to helping them keep going through the first couple of months of sleep-deprivation. One great way to enrich the bonding experience is the skin-to-skin contact. By placing you naked newborn baby against your own skin, research has shown that the baby is happier, temperature is more stable and more normal, the baby’s heart and breathing rates are more stable, and the baby’s blood sugar is more elevated.

Soothing and Settling

Babies enjoy the sounds of baby talk from adults: soothing, singing, and talking in silly voices all tend to hold their attentions. And of course, it is universally acknowledged that reciting nursery rhymes, singing lullabies, or reading aloud as you gently rock in a chair are the best way to soothe a fussy baby.

Some infants startle and cry easily, while others find it difficult to fall asleep, or they may be unusually sensitive to touch, light, or sound. Don’t be alarmed if your baby reacts in this way of if he appears to turn away when you speak or sing to him/her. Just keep working at your bond- touch your baby gently, speak to him/her softly, try to keep noise levels down, and keep the lighting fairly low.  To help your baby in this transition phase, using white noise can help calm your baby and helps him/her drift into dreamland in a matter of second.  In time, your newborn baby will adjust to his/her surroundings as he/she becomes accustomed to this strange new world.

Breastfeeding – The Best Food You can Provide for Your Newborn Baby

The promotion and popularity of baby formula in and around the 1960s made breastfeeding seem to be the inferior option in many parts of the world for several decades. Now, thanks to a better understanding of the benefits of breast milk, breastfeeding is once again acknowledged as being the best source of nutrition for your baby and is more widely practiced than ever. The World Health Organization states that breastfeeding has been shown to have health benefits that extend well into adult life. In fact, breast milk has many benefits:

  • Easily digestible
  • Provides ideal nutrition
  • Contains antibodies that help to protect newborns from infection and disease
  • The process of breastfeeding strengthens the bond between mother and child

Let Your Newborn Baby Sleep

Infants sleep a lot. Like adults, they sleep to give their bodies rest, and to allow their minds to process and integrate the sensory impressions and experiences of the day. Sleep is therefore essential to infants for both their physical well-being and their mental health. Babies will often drift off to sleep when they are tired or if they are overwhelmed with sensory switches off and goes to sleep.

You might wonder, do I need to hold my baby as he/she goes to sleep? Well, luckily, the answer is no. However, your newborn might like to know youa re close by, even though you are not holding him/her. Rather than always placing your baby in the crib alone, you might like to place a large piece of fleece, a small futon, or a small mattress for your baby in each room where your family regularly congregates. This allows your baby to be where the action is. He/she will be comforted to be near you and hear your voices, and interested to see movement around her. She can look and listen, and then drift off to sleep whever she is tired.

“Don’t wake a sleeping baby” is an old saying, passed down from mother to daughter for generations. Let your baby sleep. Avoid moving your baby abruptly or roughly when he/she is sleeping, keep the lights down low, play some soothing white noise, and always, speak in soft voices around your newborn.

Keep in Sync with Your Newborn’s Developing Brain

The best parenting is in sync with a baby’s developing brain. Lower brain development in infancy relies on warm, sensory, social experiences. Closely nurtured babies using the 5 free tips above develop neurological capabilities that increase their chance of long-term health and happiness.

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