Babies are pretty brilliant creatures – not only are they cute but their brains and their bodies are amazingly clever because they are constantly growing, learning and developing. We can often have unrealistic expectations of babies and alot of emphasis is placed on meeting their physical needs but they are driven by their emotions because they have a strong survival instinct, that is what keeps them alive.
When your baby is born, he is pretty helpless and he needs you to keep him alive – that makes him powerless and vulnerable and the only way he knows to stay safe and to survive is to cry when he needs something. His needs can be physical – food and to be comfortable – as well as emotional – to feel safe, secure and loved.
If you are having a tough day, it can be useful to remember…
- Babies brains aren’t full developed when they are born – they may be born with about 200 billion brain cells but – the the rational brain – there a few connections between these cells, these have to develop as your baby grows.
- Babies cannot deal with any stress they experience, they need cuddles and reassurance from you to soothe them and lower their stress levels
- Until they become mobile, babies think they are part of their mother because they need you physically and emotionally to survive
- Separation anxiety kicks in when they become mobile and they start to realise that they are not attached to you
- If your baby needs to cling to you, it is because she may be experiencing some stress and uncertainty and needs you to calm her
- Your baby is not capable of manipulating you or of being ‘naughty’ because his brain is not capable of processing information in that way, he just has basic needs for physical and emotional comfort
Babies are so different and unpredictable and sometimes there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong, yet they are upset and unsettled. Chances are they need to be close to you and are not ready – at that moment – to be away from you. This is why a baby can be happily asleep in your arms yet when you try to transfer him to his basket, he wakes up and becomes unsettled again until he is back in your arms once more.
As a parent, it can be a confusing time because you want a happy baby but you may not expect to have to be so attached to him, which can leave you feeling like you are doing something wrong. You’re not, you are doing everything right. But it doesn’t help that a lot of the baby books and articles talk about the need for your baby to be independent – the truth is that your baby will be independent when he is ready, not when you want him to be.
Looking after a baby is exhausting and relentless as well as fulfilling and enjoyable, it can knock your confidence and make you question what you are doing. If you are responsive, trying to meet your baby’s needs and listening to your instincts, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to soothing your baby and giving them all they need to grow and develop.