You are tired after your first day visitors and settling in with bathing baby at home and the constant feeding and changing. Babies are hard work. Just as you finally put your head on your own pillow you hear a cry from babies room. This is the beginning of getting up – changing, feeding and settling baby, getting back into bed, just falling asleep, getting up, changing, feeding, settling baby, getting back into bed… You get the gist of this. It is one of the facts of life that most babies need feeds every three to four hours for at least the first two months of lives.
Try, try and try again – that is the motto of a toddler. During the toddler years, your child learns through trial and error. It helps the toddler that he can now recall things that happened hours or even days earlier. Children begin to understand cause and effect and anticipate consequences. If I drop the toy when I am sitting in a high chair, mommy will bend down and pick it up – again and again…
Contrary to most parents’ descriptions, newborns are not exactly pretty – they have a swollen bluish and reddish face, a broad flat nose, swollen eyelids and ears that seem somewhat misplaced. Sometimes the shape of the face is misshapened due to the long path down the birth channel. The little body is covered in a white substance, vernix caseosa, which protects the baby from infection and dries off in a few days. Some babies are still covered in fine hair, lanugo, which falls out during the first month. Newborns exhibit prominent external sex organs and both sexes’ nipples are swollen due to high amounts of estrogen in the mother’s blood before giving birth.
Time devoted to feeding differs from baby to baby, but it is commonly between eight and fourteen times a day; giving the mom/caregiver breaks of between 1 and a half and 5 hours at a time.
The neonatal phase and baby years are the first two years in a child’s life. It is a period of rapid change physically and psychologically. The child moves from being completely dependent to becoming more independent. During this stage a child forms bonds with significant people in their lives – the nature of these relationships have a lasting effect on future social relationships. During this phase the uniqueness of the individual becomes apparent. Through socialization the child learns that certain actions are acceptable while others are not allowed.
No two children are alike. As a parent of two daughters, I have noticed just how unique and different children can be, even when the parents and social surroundings stay the same. Temperament is the result of the combination of genetic and social factors that determine your child’s personality foundation.
This is the recipe for the terrible two’s where children have immense willpower, but have not reached the physical maturity to master everything they want to do.
The ability to communicate with your child through language opens up a whole new world of relationship enriching opportunities to parents.
Each stage of development requires that certain tasks are mastered. Piaget, a psychologist and father, observed his own children and identified the following milestones to be achieved in the baby years:
* Through the first two years in a baby’s life it is important to integrate perception and action. Babies learn how to use visual, auditive and tactile inputs to direct their grabbing and walking.
* During this period the baby starts to form the concept of object permanence. This refers to the fact that the child will keep on looking for a toy even if they cannot see it anymore.
* Children learn to imitate and copy others. This means that a child develops symbolic thought.