Newborn Care: Why We Need To Start Changing Our Approach
Babies are the greatest blessing that come with the ultimate responsibility. As parents we strive to create a loving, nurturing and safe environment with the knowledge or traditions to which we are accustomed.
Babies are born without a fully developed brain because if they were their precious little heads would be too big to birth!
Despite their underdeveloped brain, we expect babies to sleep in separate rooms, self-soothe and assume too much crying would mean a serious problem.
In first three months of your littles one’s life, their brain grows twenty percent!! This sizeable growth is even more noticeable in your baby’s behavior. In the first couple days of life, babies can only pay attention to objects up to 12 inches away compared to 3 to 4 months later they can see objects across the room and respond to the direction of different sounds.
This common knowledge is often ignored. These first 3 to 4 months should still be viewed as a continuation of a gestational period. Mothers need to begin to mimic the actions of a mama kangaroo. Before you roll your eyes, I don’t mean hopping around everywhere. However, that would probably be an excellent source of cardio.
To reduce fussiness and aid in the development process mothers need to reenact the motions and sounds of the womb as much as possible. Channel your inner kangaroo and carry your sweet little one like a baby kangaroo in a pouch.
Mimicking womb movements and sounds like rocking, swaddling, holding, slushing noises, and warmth tremendously reduces the amount of your newborn crying.
Kangaroo care has become increasingly popular in hospitals all over the world. Kangaroo care is when a baby has skin-to-skin contact with the mother or father immediately after birth. There are numerous benefits for the baby laying on the caregiver’s bare skin, including, stabilizing the infant’s heart rate, decreasing crying, and increased milk supply for the mother.
In my previous article about the forgotten reflex, I discussed the how important the first months of a newborn’s life and how a mother’s response to their crying is vital for current and future development.
Americans view the most important American value we teach our children is independence. This starts almost immediately after birth. Our baby is fresh out of the cozy womb, and we stick them in a decked out nursery to sleep alone.
We do this out of love because we want our children to grow up to be independent thinkers and stand up for our freedom and boast about our ability to be self-sustaining.
But guess what, according to research, children in other countries grow up to be self-sufficient, independent individuals. Along with independence, children in other countries also have a better sense of self-confidence and responsibility.
The biggest wives’ tale or dare I say a lie is the belief you are spoiling your newborn by holding them constantly. Compared to 100 other countries around the world Americans are the only ones who make their children sleep in a separate room.
I’m not only talking about third world countries or people who can’t afford to have a home big enough for their children to have their own room. Children in Japanese and European countries co-sleep or sleep in their parent’s room. They mature into more independent, confident individuals.
A professor at UC Irvine agrees on with the positive relationship between co-sleeping and independence. Keller explains Americans throw around the word independence without thinking about the theoretical meaning.
Parents count down the days and boast about how soon their babies sleep in their own room and sleep through the night. However, in reality, other countries who practice co-sleeping raise more independent and responsible children.
Perhaps if we want to raise more well-adjusted, responsible, respectful and independent children, we as parents can start by treating the first four months of a child’s life mimicking the baby’s experiences in the womb. This means constantly being present in those first few months. The connection and presence of the parents during this crucial time is imperative to the child’s development and ability to form relationships, independence, and responsibility as they mature.
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Articles used in Harvey Karp, M. D. “The Happiest Baby on the Block and the Happiest Toddler on the Block 2-Book Bundle.”