Bond With Your Baby and Help Them Grow
For many new parents, the first time they hold their tiny bundle of joy triggers an instant bonding. For others, this may take some settling in. For babies too, the sensory overload of the first few weeks can be quite daunting and bonding with the parent is reassuring.
Infant Development Stages
During the initial weeks, parents, especially mothers, spend a lot of time with the baby. This time spent together provides invaluable opportunities to nurture your bond and cement this unique relationship. Incorporating interesting activities during this time can help promote your baby’s development and achieve appropriate infant development stages. In the early years, a baby’s brain grows rapidly making millions of neural connections, so a variety of experiences and exposure aids physical, cognitive, social and language development.
Bond With Your Baby
Here are a few ways in which bonding and baby development in the early years can go hand-in-hand. Wherever possible, involve your partner and do these as a family:
- Connect with your baby in the womb. The sense of hearing begins to develop in the 2nd trimester so it’s a great time to talk, sing and even read to your baby and familiarize your little one with your voice.
- While breastfeeding your baby, help them develop their eyesight. Gaze into their eyes, as they can focus only for a short distance in the first few weeks. Talk or sing in a soothing tone and let them feel your touch.
- Kangaroo care, or wearing your baby in a sling safely can help you bond with your little munchkin. This helps regulate the baby’s breathing and exposes the baby to many sights, sounds and smells as you go around.
- Make massages a part of your baby’s daily routine, either after a bath or before sleeping at night. Gentle and firm strokes relax the baby, aid physical growth and muscle development. Name each body part and describe your actions to introduce new vocabulary for language development.
- When well-rested and alert, place your baby on his stomach for some tummy time. Simple exercises done this way help develop core muscles in the neck and torso vital for key first year development milestones like sitting up, rolling over and crawling. Place a favorite toy just outside their reach and encourage the baby to stretch and grasp it. Do this a couple of times a day for short durations and watch your little wonder gain strength.
- An infant’s senses are highly tuned to pick up stimuli from the environment and build neural connections. Provide tactile experiences like crinkling paper, feeling fabric in different textures, lukewarm and cold water, or rough and smooth surfaces. This builds cognitive skills like logical thinking and also aids fine motor skills.
- Speak to your baby about everything that’s happening around you to build awareness. Apart from encouraging them to share their feelings and ask questions; it also develops problem solving, cognitive, social and language skills. Talk about the weather, point out colors and objects, or make up your own special song.
- It’s never too early to introduce your baby to the world of books. Pick picture books in high-contrast colors, or books with varied textures for little readers. Embellish the experience with different tones and pitch variation. Reading helps to build vocabulary and lays the foundation for strong language skills.
- Bond over interactive games at playtime. Play peekaboo and watch your baby mimic you and try covering their own face too. Pretend play with some favorite toys, and build up a story depending on your baby’s reaction. Let them copy your expressions or use a mirror for lots of fun. Mark out a messy zone where kids can play with water, paint and play dough that encourage creative thinking and fine motor skills without worrying about dirty dresses and messy hands.
- Babies develop best when they get lots of quality time and attention. Enjoy the moment without distractions from the television or phone. Paying attention to their reactions helps you gauge their interest, tweak activities and create unforgettable memories.
A strong bond provides children a sense of security and makes time spent together fun for everyone. This sets up the perfect environment for young minds to explore, learn and develop to their full potential.
Natasha Mathew is part of the content development team at KinderPass, and creates content to empower parents so that they can actively contribute to the development of their 0-5-year-olds. As a mother of two, Nathasha writes from her experiences, struggles, and learnings as a parent. In her free time, you can find her doing meal-prep and cooking healthy meals with her kids. She is also an art & craft ninja and an origami fanatic.