Babies don’t come with a set of instructions, but somehow instinct kicks in and you seem to know what to do. Even if instructions were provided, they would probably send you into a spin. There’s no hard set formula to follow to ensure you get it right, and with a plethora of advice out there, choosing which to follow is simply mind-boggling. However, you may be surprised to find that your little bundle of joy may be one step ahead of you when it comes to knowing what to do, and their instincts are equally as strong as yours.
- Your newborn baby has the ability to crawl up your abdomen to find the breast. This instinctive ability helps your baby to survive in the new world, but the reflex only lasts for four weeks. It is thought that the action forms a template for later crawling.
- Even if the delivery has been difficult, you may yearn for a second baby within weeks of the birth. Such feelings are due to the influence of oxytocin, which permanently reorganises nerve junctions in your brain. Levels of oxytocin can remain elevated throughout motherhood, which is why strong maternal feelings can persist for months and even years.
- You may be surprised to discover that your newborn baby can hold up his head for a few seconds from day one. If you regularly put your baby on his tummy, he will be able to turn his head from side to side by the end of the first month. The movements may be a little jerky at first, but they will gradually become more fluid.
- Your newborn baby has an inborn survival mechanism which enables him to wake up if his airway is obstructed. This is why you should not feel pressured to get your new baby to sleep too long, too deeply, too soon. If your baby’s sleep state was so deep that he could not communicate his needs, then his wellbeing could be threatened.
- Your baby’s strong sense of smell enables him to locate the nipple and to perceive differences between the smell of your breast milk and the milk of a stranger. You will also recognise your baby’s unique smell. However, this may go undetected if perfumed products are used on your baby’s skin.
The unique bond with your baby may happen instantly or it may take months to grow and develop. Remember that every baby is an individual, and will develop his or her own personality over time. As a mother you have to get to know your baby and likewise your baby needs to get to know you. You (and your partner) may benefit from additional support in the form of baby development classes such as Baby Sensory where you can gain valuable ideas and information.
Having the opportunity to harness techniques which allow you to connect and engage with your baby, is crucial for their development. Sharing concerns and worries with other parents can also re-install belief in your own abilities as a parent. Not feeling alone is crucial for all new parents.
Dr Lin Day has worked with babies and young children throughout her career and founded Baby Sensory – www.babysensory.com .
Baby Sensory is the only provider of baby development classes designed specifically for babies from birth to 13 months. The classes are run in over 400 locations throughout the UK and in 12 countries including the US, Australia and Spain and has most recently launched in China. The programme is also suitable for babies with physical or learning impairments. Currently one in 60 babies born in the UK attends Baby Sensory classes.