Dr. Carolyn Chambers Clark, Award-Winning Author and Wellness Nurse Practitioner

Helping Baby Grow

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           What Can You Expect of Your Baby?

                   & How to Help Baby Grow


Babies need time to develop movement and communication skills. They need to learn to trust. You can help your baby learn all these things...


 What babies can do


Babies grow and change so much during those first twelve months. Your baby will

learn to...


* sit up, roll over, crawl, stand up and maybe even walk


* look at and play with hands and feet, cry when you leave, recognize own name


* play “putting in and taking out” games, hug or carry dolls or stuffed toys


* respond first to adults and then to other babies when they make sounds


* make throaty noises, then babble, enjoy hearing rhyming and silly language


How to help your baby learn and grow


* babies try to imitate the sounds they hear, read the looks on your face and what your movements mean; when you talk, sing, smile and gesture to your child, this is the beginning of learning language; so---respond to baby’s gurgles with calm and encouraging words


* respond to cries by trying to find out what’s wrong: crying has a purpose, it’s your baby’s only way of communicating with you, so think of yourself as learning a foreign language: is she hungry? wet? bored? too hot? too cold? need a hug, want to hear your voice or listen to music, or be danced around the room? something else?


* allow baby to move about and learn about its body


* provide safe objects to look at, bat at, grab, bang, pat, roll and examine


* arrange for safe play areas


* provide many opportunities to hear language and make sounds


 Help your baby develop trust


Babies need to become attached to one person who provides security and love. This first attachment is the basis for all human relationships that follow. Hearing your calm voice, feeling your comforting touch and being held by you all help your baby develop trust.


Music is a good way to enhance this trust relationship...


* Play soft and comforting music in the background


Babies learn to understand their world by seeing, touching, holding, shaking and inspecting objects. This also helps them develop coordination and strengthens their muscles. Here are some ways to help your baby learn...


* Move your newborn’s arms and legs


* Lightly tickle your baby under the chin or on the tummy


*  When baby starts to control her head, lie on the floor and put her head on your chest;

let baby reach for your nose or grab your hair; name each thing baby touches, for example say “Where is your nose?” then touch baby’s nose and say, “Here is your nose.” Say the name of objects over and over to help your child connect the sound with its meaning.


* Place baby on your belly (this releases endorphins that provide comfort and builds stomach and back muscle strength needed to learn to crawl)


* Hold baby in your arms or lie face up with baby on your lap and support his head well on your knees: sing a lullaby and cuddle with your baby


* Talk to your baby often. For example, when baby stretches toward bottle or you, say, “You’re ready for more milk? Here’s your milk, isn’t it good?”


* Provide a wide array of learning objects: a wooden spoon with a face drawn on it, different textured fabrics, an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll, pots, pans, lids, an old purse or basket with safe objects in it, boxes, plastic containers, large spools, keys, a tightly closed can filled with beans, rattles. Let baby look at, touch and listen to the sound of the objects. Place one or two in baby’s play area (more might be confusing).


* Start comforting rituals at bedtime: sing the same songs every night or rock baby or rub her tummy


* To entertain or distract your baby, sing an action song like If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (repeat and repeat, clapping your hands)


* Dance with your baby to soothe upsets: put baby’s head on your should and hum softly or glide around the room to music. To amuse baby, try a dancy show tune.


* Play peek-a-boo or patty cake with baby


* Make funny faces




Think positive and you'll be positive!

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